Tool Hummingbird Centre, Toronto ON - May 16, 2006

It really is a shame to see a respected and, up until this year’s 10,000 Days effort, reliable unit like Los Angeles’ Tool falling back on past accomplishments and producing a sub-par performance to back up a mediocre product. This stop on a supposed rehearsal run leading up to this summer’s arena tour was, by the band’s own admission, riddled with unusually frequent technical difficulties and, in all fairness, the band’s musicianship was undeniably superb. Cuts such as "Stinkfist,” "Schism” and "Fortysix & Two” were just as inspired and riveting as when they were first written, and 10,000 Days highlight "Right In Two” indiscriminately impressed with a particularly noteworthy contribution from drummer Danny Carey. However, despite the group’s best efforts, no stretch of technical ability can mask the uninspired backbones of their recent compositions. Opening number "Rosetta Stoned” featured a downright embarrassing spoken word/scat introduction that got the show off to a shaky start, shamelessly diluting the tension so effortlessly sustained just moments before. Delving directly into "Stinkfist,” Tool had the crowd at a feverish peak during "Fortysix & Two.” Once newer selections began dominating the set, the atmosphere became one more of impatience than reverence. Even wisely slipping classics such as "Sober” into the mix, while reviving the audience effectively, failed to fully restore the balance, and by the time the evening wore down, Tool’s overall downward slope as of late became that much clearer to all in attendance. An undeniably talented and influential outfit to be sure, but one whose once immeasurable well of innovation has evidently all but run dry.