Tool is a musical phenomenon.

Think about it.

They haven’t put out an album in over a decade.

They have a ton of long, musically complicated songs.

And they have an enigmatic singer that spends the entire show back by the drum riser and doesn’t really engage with the audience.

This shouldn’t really work.

And yet it does.

Tool Headlined the Northern Invasion festival in Somerset Wisconsin, with Alice In Chains playing right before them.

Tool and Alice In Chains have a long history together, going back to 1993 when they spent the summer together Lollapalooza-ing across North America.

Tool was one of my favorite bands on the bill that summer.

They came onstage in the middle of the afternoon and absolutely killed it day after day after day.

And Maynard was a whirling dervish of activity, at least compared to now.

He prowled the stage and stomped and kicked and spun around until he fell over.

And the band was tight and brutal.

Those guys were (and are) an incredible band.

One of my favorite drunkenly fuzzy memories from Lollapaooza was going to an after hours bar after the show in Atlanta, and sitting between Maynard and Layne at the bar.

As the night turned into morning and more and more drinks were ingested, Layne & Maynard decided that talking was interfering with their drinking, so they decided to quit.

Talking, not drinking.

For what seemed like an hour, they used me to pass notes back and forth to each other on cocktail napkins. I can’t remember what all was written, but the notes were strange and hilarious, and that night will always stick with me.

So it wasn’t surprising when one of the first calls the band made in 2005 when they got back together to play a benefit show was to Maynard, who came to Seattle without hesitation and helped kickstart what turned out to be the reformation of Alice In Chains.

So yeah, Tool is awesome, and it was great to share a bill with them again.

It was also great to see and hang out with a couple of guys that used to be on our crew that have been on Tool’s crew for a while now.

Festival gigs are like that.

You tend to run into friends and old colleagues that you haven’t seen in a while.

The capper of the whole night?

Well, Sean, William, and Jerry were watching Tool’s set from the side of the stage.

As I mentioned earlier, Maynard pretty much stays glued to his riser back by the drums, dressed up in his helmet and military police looking outfit.

At one point in the middle of a song, he came down from his riser, walked back behind the drums and over to the side of the stage where the guys were watching.

He waved to William, then waved to Jerry, then with a slight smile on his face, he flipped Sean off and walked back to the stage.

You gotta love Tool.