April 23, 2017
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX USA
Review by Mike DiQuinzio
Photos by Leonardo Passanisi
A Perfect Circle
Mysterious Sounds And Vision @ Verizon Theatre
When the news broke that A Perfect Circle were coming out of hibernation to tour and release new music, their fans couldn't have been more ecstatic. Tickets to their April 23 stop at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie sold out as fast as they became available and the buzz of excitement in the venue could not be subdued, even after being made to sit through an unfortunate opening act.
A sheer, white curtain hid the stage until showtime, silhouetting each band member as they built "The Package" up to its climax. The band was only slightly more visible when it dropped, using their light show to illuminate themselves from behind. Guitarist Billy Howerdel and bassist Matt McJunkins did their best to engage the crowd from the front of the stage, but all eyes were permanently fixed on the mysterious shape of Maynard James Keenan as he roamed the platform at center stage.
The band could do no wrong as each song was met with a wilder roar than the one that preceded it, with only an occasional and surprisingly lighthearted introduction from Keenan. Obvious highlights came from their now 17-year-old debut Mer de Noms, whose biggest omissions "Judith" and "3 Libras" seemed to bother only a few, while personal favorites "Thinking of You" and "Thomas" sounded incredibly full and heavy.
Musically, this show was impeccable. Howerdel's solos and co-guitarist James Iha's atmospheric playing were perfect, but Keenan's refusal to leave his pedestal- or to even be visible- meant that the lights had to carry the visual aspect of the show, which they did magnificently. Each of the three platforms containing Iha, Keenan and drummer Jeff Friedl illuminated and projected video while the lights at the front of the stage created a wall of light in the between the band and the crowd.
Maybe it's just me, but Keenan's Wizard of Oz "man behind the curtain" shtick got old after a while. Still, A Perfect Circle's songs are strong enough that they can get away with such an act, and their versions of "Imagine" and "(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love and Understanding" were effective without being preachy. A Perfect Circle did not show a bit of rust from the six years that have passed since their last tour, and with a new album in the works, they'll probably sound even better on their next one.
Weak and Powerless
By and Down
(What's So Funny 'bout) Peace, Love and Understanding
Thinking of You
Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums