I won’t front. Back when I was freshman in high school, I wasn’t into Tool. The rock music that I was into at the time was more along the lines of Depeche Mode (who released “Violator”), Nine Inch Nail (who released “Head Like A Hole”) and INXS (who released “X”). I was a narrow minded, music snob then (which I truly regret), and I wasn’t willing to open my mind to other bands’ music.
It wasn’t until I had graduated from college that I really took the time to listen to what Maynard James Keenan’s music had to offer, and it was the first album from his second band, A Perfect Circle, that got me hooked. With “Mer de Noms”, songs like “Judith” and “3 Libras” sent shivers down my spine. I was a fool to have waited so long to discover that Maynard was a monster, rock vocalist. Not only able to belt out tunes like it’s nothing, he also adds a level of emotions to the underlying lyrics he sings, which sets him apart from other rock vocalists.
I first saw Maynard perform at Coachella in 2013 with his band Puscifer. Though the music was different from A Perfect Circle, I thought that it was one of the highlight performances of the day. It was fun, sexy and raunchy all at the same time. I still have the Puscifer Airlines candy that they threw out to the crowd from that day.
Cinquanta, a two night celebration of his 50th birthday at the Greek Theatre, was a ticket that any Maynard fan couldn’t pass up. Billed as a concert with Puscifer as a headliner with A Perfect Circle and Failure (who had reunited in late 2013 and acted as Tool’s supporting act for Tool’s recent tour) as “support”. But each band rotated sets every 15-30 minutes, even collaborating with each other on certain songs, throughout the evening. Green Jelly (a band that Danny Carey- the drummer of Tool- and Maynard were members of) made a surprise appearance to perform “Three Little Pigs”; Neil Hamburger made an appearance to sing “New York, New York”, and 3/4 of Tool (minus Adam Jones) performed the Tool classic “Sober”. Personally, I thought one of the out-of-the-box highlights of the show was when Carina Round sang the lead on “The Package”; a superb rendition.
Based on my notes, and what I was able to find online, below was the setlist:
- Failure: “The Nurse Who Loved Me” (w/ Maynard James Keenan, Billy Howerdel and Carina Round)
- Failure: “Saturday Savior”
- Failure: “Dirty Blue Balloons”
- A Perfect Circle: “Weak and Powerless”
- A Perfect Circle: “Orestes”
- A Perfect Circle: “The Noose”
- Puscifer: “Vagina Mine”
- Puscifer: “Trekka”
- Puscifer: “Polar Bear”
- Puscifer: “Breathe”
- Puscifer: “Oceans”
- Puscifer: “Monsoons” (w/ Billy Howerdel)
- Puscifer: “Horizons”
- Failure: “Another Space Song”
- Failure: “Frogs”
- Failure: “Solaris” (w/ Maynard James Keenan)
- A Perfect Circle: “The Hollow”
- A Perfect Circle: “Rose”
- A Perfect Circle: “The Package” (featuring Carina Round)
- Puscifer: “Conditions of My Parole”
- Puscifer: “Man Overboard”
- Puscifer: “The Undertaker” (w/ Ken Andrews)
- A Perfect Circle: “Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm
- A Perfect Circle: “3 Libras”
- A Perfect Circle: “By and Down”
- Failure: “Blank”
- Failure: “Wet Gravity” (w/ Jeff Friedl)
- Failure: “Heliotropic”
- Puscifer: “New York, New York” (w/ Neil Hamberger)
- Puscifer: “Cuntry Boner” (An Electric Sheep cover w/ “Hildy” and Danny Carey)
- Puscifer: “3 Little Pigs” (w/ Green Jelly and Danny Carey)
- Puscifer: “Sober” (Tool cover w/ Justin Chancellor, Danny Carey and , and Zac Rae)
- Puscifer: “Humbling River” (w/ Danny Carey)
Wow. Just looking at this setlist is making think that the $40 I spent on the ticket was definitely money well spent. Even if a song or two may not have been to one’s liking, the action on stage, with the casual stage setting of lawn chairs and constant filling of chalices (presumably filled with adult beverages) gave the audience something to watch as there was something going on onstage at all times, whether it was Maynard pouring drinks for others, performers taking selfies onstage, or individuals having private conversations in front of everybody, it was a concert that truly felt like a party. And when the audience sang along? The hairs on my arms stiffened. When they closed with “Humbling River”? I got shivers.
It was an amazing show. I don’t know what else to say. Happy Birthday, Maynard. You did it right. Simply kick-ass.
I wasn’t able to get permission to shoot the show, so all of the photos below were on my Sony Cyber-shot G, point and shoot that I couldn’t live without.