— By Sean Derrick
For only the third time, and first in 16 years, A Perfect Circle performed in Saint Louis. This time, also the third different venue to host the band, the show was held at Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Arena on Thursday night. And for long-suffering fans the show was the relief they craved.
As if 16 years wasn’t long enough the band teased the nearly sold out arena by performing for the first three and half minutes behind a scrim, from which their shadows were broadcast onto. Some expressed their concern aloud if they would play the full set from behind the curtain. But after the halfway point in “The Package” the curtain dropped and the fans went nuts.
In town to get re-acquainted with the fans, or as lead singer Maynard James Keenan referred to it as their “get to know ya/re-get to know ya” tour, admitting it had been a while since the band last had been seen playing live.
That may be due to Keenan’s other projects with Tool and Pucifer as well as/or the fact that the band hasn’t released an album since 2004’s Emotive. The latter should change, however, as the band plans to release a new album late this year or early 2018.
To that end they did perform two new songs, the trippy “Hourglass” and “Feathers”, which closed the show out.
In between “The Package” and “Feathers” ran a setlist that featured popular tracks “The Outsider” “Weak and Powerless”
and “Magdalena”, which was my highlight pick of the night.
Throughout the show Keenan held his usual perch deep in the shadows atop a riser near the back of the stage while the rest of the band (guitarist Billy Howedel, drummer Jeff Friedl, guitarist James Iha and bassist Matt McJunkins attracted what little light was directed at them. But, of course that is nothing new for a Maynard James Keenan project. He is, after all the king of mood lighting, even going so far as to have color changing spotlights in strategic places above the crowd throughout the arena, in essence making them a part of the show.
The usually stoic Keenan was in a talkative and seemingly festive mood as he joked about the school’s mascot, the Billiken, asking aloud what it was while offering suggestions that it could be some kind of god from the sky or a ghost. He also talked about politics and the great divisiveness in this country right now. He proceeded to thank the military in attendance and police force for giving “snowflakes like me a chance to be heard.” And added “Being divided is boring. We are all in this together” and used that as a segue way into a great version of the John Lennon classic “Imagine”.
But the biggest surprise came when he produced a couple of Shake Weights, claiming he got them for his birthday and said he was going to do his workout during the show. He proceeded to “workout” during “Thinking of You” much to the laughter and amusement of the audience, and for fans of Keenan that was totally unexpected, but welcome all the same.
Performance-wise the band was tight in their execution, Keenan’s vocals were top notch, and Howedel’s guitar work spectacular.
The only downside to the entire set was that their most popular song “Judith” was conspicuously absent from it. Several in the crowd were a bit upset by its absence, but overall the show was still strong without it.
They will be touring through May 7. You should catch this tour if you can.
Opening for APC was a duo that called themselves Prayers, which produced an electronic rock sound that vocalist Rafael Reyes describes as “Cholo-goth”. The band was not well received from the crowd at all. Their biggest applause came when Reyes announced they were going to play their last number for the night. Performance wise, well my mother always said “If you cannot say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” OK.
Don’t forget the full image gallery follows the setlist below.
04/22 – Tusla, OK @ BOK Center
04/23 – Grand Prairie, TX @ Verizon Theatre
04/25 – Austin, TX @ HEB Center at Cedar Park
04/26 – San Antonio, TX @ Freeman Coliseum
04/27 – Houston, TX @ Smart Financial Center
04/29 – Jacksonville, FL @ Welcome to Rockville
04/30 – Fort Meyers, FL @ Fort Rock Festival
05/02 – Atlanta, GA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
05/03 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
05/05 – Concord, NC @ Carolina Rebellion
05/07 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
A Perfect Circle Setlist:
Weak and Powerless
Imagine (John Lennon cover)
By and Down
People Are People (Depeche Mode cover)
Thinking of You
Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums