Entering the dark stage, guitarist Billy Howerdel takes his seat at a tiny piano while vocalist Maynard James Keenan brings himself up onto one of the tall, circular platforms in the back of the stage. Howerdel plays a haunting melody as Keenan stirs the audience with his deep soothing voice. This opening is eerie, but the crowd goes wild, holding their hands up and waving them to the slow beat of A Perfect Circle's new work.
All five of the band members, including James Iha, Matt McJunkins and Josh Freese are dressed to impress, head to toe with black suits as their stage lights up around them with a light show to continue for the remainder of the hour-plus set. The detailed netting above the artists’ heads is illuminated with an abundance of colors.
This entire set is somewhat of an experiment for the men. While Keenan announced in 2008 that he and Howerdel would be working on new music, their hiatus from touring and recording seemed to continue from 2004, when the guys all went their separate ways on all-star projects (Tool, Puscifer, Marilyn Manson). However, this September, tour dates were released and new music from A Perfect Circle was finally played live for audience feedback. Keenan explained this tour as, “Us getting to know us, and us getting to know you,” during their last of three performances at the Marquee Theatre, on Saturday.
A Perfect Circle's alt-metal/rock sound lives on, following in the footsteps of Keenan's original work with Tool, where Howerdel formerly worked as a guitar tech. All three nights of the grunge metal sound had a packed theater as each show was sold out. Some people attended the entire weekend.
Dark, recognizable chords bring in the song “Passive” and the crowd screams with anticipation. The rush into the aggressive melody drives the packed crowd into a fit of enjoyment.
Songs like “People Are People” haunt the room with slow lyric recitations, while “Freedom of Choice” is a less-prominent style with its mosh-worthy chorus. The guys stick mostly with their haunting tunes that keep the packed group relaxed. Even as “Pet” begins, the grunge sound is completely juxtaposed with the light show color scheme of a Simon Says toy, turning the notch down one in the anger department.
The set finishes with 46-year-old Keenan giving a farewell to the weekend with “one more song before I have to go back to the old folks home.” “Weak and Powerless” fills the room and dwindles as the band leaves the stage after an hour set. Screams begin for an encore, only to be responded with house lights. But no one seems to be bothered as they exit the building — the audience is some of the first to hear never-before-performed tracks by A Perfect Circle.
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