Barack Obama at Gibson Amphitheater

Tool at Nokia Theatre.

By Ryan Colditz

I saw a show no one else will ever see. Senator Barack Obama opening for Tool.

Barack Obama made a visit to Universal Amphitheater Monday night, greeted by a largely young crowd, rowdy and anxious to see the man who has plans for what to do with this country. While many important issues were discussed throughout the evening, Obama got the crowd roaring when his shout out to USC nearly started a war of its own with rival UCLA. What better way for the Bruins to get past a tough loss than to ralley for a man who has a plan to get us all back to the top. The supporters who gathered from all across the nation were just as inspiring as the speech given, as the crowd grew more and more engaged and passionate with every word. What I heard throughout the night was one example after another about how the USA can once again become a world power. A place other countries look for strength and leadership. For most, this event would have been a enough to digest for one night, but not me. The night was young and I had to get moving. Fast. I was off to see Tool.

Cruising down the 101 with nothing guiding my way but the spotlights radiating over downtown LA, I was on a mission to get to Nokia Theatre ASAP. Knowing the show had already started, I ran to my seat, as walking to the venue would only be cheating myself. As I entered the arena, I was greeted by seven thousand screaming, rabid onlookers who were already consumed by the night. I had to catch up.

From that point on, all that mattered was Tool. No need to regurgitate the set list, because it really doesn’t matter.The entire performance is what made the show work. From hippies, to couples, to stags in search of finding a Tool-loving woman, the place was a divided simply by those who understood Tool before the show and those who now understand. Much of the later set featured songs from their latest album, including Wings for Marie, which was followed true to album by the title track 10,000 Days. The crowd was entranced all night and everyone was “pleasant” in the words of front man Maynard James Keenan, as we all watched the band on stage with the accompaniment of lasers beams, gigantic video screens, chest-thumping and ear-pounding bass, and for the guy next to me, a great acid trip.

Tool sent an urgent message throughout the course of their show, taking control and elevating it to levels most bands only experience while playing Rock Band. The same sense of excitement and conviction I felt earlier while listening to Obama was resonating again through the music of Tool. It is a very simple, straightforward message. All you have to do is listen.

LA Weekly