A Perfect Circle
Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Standing atop a dais at the back of center stage at Verizon Theater on Sunday night, Maynard James Keenan put on an emotional show filled with dark rhythms and an occasional screaming rift that transported the sold-out crowd to a dark and foggy place. It was not a show for the faint of heart.
Six years have passed since Keenan toured with his band, A Perfect Circle, and nearly 14 years since they released new material. The band’s last album, Emotive, delved into politics with 10 anti-war cover songs, including John Lennon’s “Imagine,” as well as two originals.
The album garnered criticism, and Keenan addressed those critics at the show on Sunday night. “We are merchants of emotion,” Keenan said before they went into their own imagining of Lennon’s song. “We’re like the court jesters. We talk shit and get paid for it.”
The crowd erupted in laughter.
As a venue, Verizon Theater wasn't very conducive to the mysterious vibe the band was trying to create with copious use of fog machines. Security guards walked around like the Gestapo with tiny flashlights, illuminating concert goers who dared to break the rules and pull out their cell phones.
But the guards weren’t able to stop the pot smokers. The herb's aroma intermingled with the fog as A Perfect Circle treated fans to hits off their three albums: Mer de Noms (2000), Thirteenth Step (2003) and Emotive (2004). The band is working on their fourth studio album.
At the show on Sunday night, Keenan was joined by guitarist James Iha (formerly of Smashing Pumpkins), drummer Jeff Friedl (Puscifer), bassist Matt McJunkins (Eagles of Death Metal) and guitarist Billy Howerdel. Howerdel was working as the guitar tech for Keenan's other band Tool when they decided to embark on their own project.
Like Keenan, Friedl and Iha were wrapped in shadows and fog and stood atop similar circled dais that lit up, while Howerdel and McJunkins jammed front and center on both sides of the stage.
Keenan has been called a recluse and an eccentric, and he seemed more comfortable in the shadows as he spoke with the crowd between songs. He may have even cracked a joke or two, but the sound quality in the theater made it hard to make out exactly what he was saying.
A Perfect Circle will play Austin on Tuesday, San Antonio on Wednesday and Houston on Thursday.
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