A Perfect Circle — Gibson Amphitheatre, Los Angeles
Sat, 30 Jul 2011 09:57:56
Maynard James Keenan Photos
A Perfect Circle Videos
A Perfect Circle are about as perfect as rock music gets.
Once again, APC duly redefined "divine" for a packed crowd at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City last night. Nestled in the middle of the legendary film lot, the Amphitheatre sits on hallowed ground for movie buffs. Countless screen classics came to life at Universal Studios. In that sense, it's fitting that A Perfect Circle's show last night unfolded like a timeless film. There was a dreamy drama to every punctuated moment, enough tense sonic action to satisfy James Cameron, and even a little of that one of a kind Maynard James Keenan wit. Everything hinged upon the virtuosity of the five men on stage.
A lulling darkness swirled around opener "Annihilation" from eMOTIVe. Keenan practically whispered the lines with a menacing melancholy that belied its sensitive delivery. With a mounting keyboard crescendo, John Lennon's "Imagine" entered into a new galaxy in the deft hands of James Iha and Billy Howerdel. Matt McJunkins' bass backbone made the tune as infectious as it was impenetrable. Keenan paid respect to Lennon's immortal words, while infusing his own panache and sparking the first of many immense sing-a-longs. Thirteenth Step's "Weak and Powerless" illuminated the tandem six-string brilliance of Iha and Howerdel as their flawless fretwork laid down a distorted web around Kennan's searing words.
The flurry of distorted bliss at the beginning of "The Hollow" practically awakened the ghosts of every classic movie star to walk those back lot streets as Keenan swept the chorus and the crowd away. He is hands-down the most enigmatic, engaging, and enthralling frontman alive, and he only evolves with every album, song, and show. His genius could be felt in the catchy elegy "Blue." With the uncanny power to turn pain into art, Keenan's forever in the pantheon of revolutionary artists, whether it be Alfred Hitchcock or Lennon. The band's airtight jamming psychedelically propelled "Blue" into another realm as the entire set moved and morphed with cinematic ease.
With a mesh background reaching all the way to the ceiling from the floor, flowers on stage, a simple logo in the back, and majestic shadows circulating the stage at all times, A Perfect Circle's setup is just as wondrous as they are. Drummer Jeff Friedl added a tribal punch to Depeche Mode's "People Are People", while "The Outsider" ravaged and roared with an apocalyptic elegance weaving together Keenan's wail and Howerdel's guitar. "Rose" plunged the audience deep into Mer de Noms with a heavier hypnosis and Keenan's mesmerizing movements toward the back of the stage.
Another highlight was "The Noose." After an airy guitar intro Keenan's voice rises alongside the fluttering distortion into a level that only belongs to bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. However, there's nothing derivative about A Perfect Circle. No one can quite confront darkness the way Keenan can. "The Package" was delivered in an avalanche of distortion and his unnerving whisper before finally tapering off into a vibrantly visceral segue.
Towards the end, Keenan spoke with a smile, "This is the part where most bands walk off the stage and play grab ass while you wait for the encore. We're going to save us all some fucking time."
The crowd applauded as the band launched into the electronic chaos of "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drum." Keenan and Iha created an eerie beauty during "Fiddle and the Drum." The finale new song, "By and Down," illuminated the band's immortality once more. Ethereal keyboards cascaded into one last cathartic expulsion of emotion and fans slowly picked their jaws up off the floor.
Was it the perfect rock show? Absolutely. Would it make the perfect film? What do you think?
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