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A Perfect Circle Live in Norman, OK

By Amber Morrison, Contributor
Tuesday, April 6, 2004 @ 11:23 PM

A Perfect Circle Live at the L

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We hit the road Monday night en route from Austin, Texas to catch easily one of the greatest bands on the planet-A Perfect Circle. A little over halfway there we set up camp for the night courtesy of a Holiday Inn. We hit the road the next afternoon and hit our destination of Norman, Oklahoma on a beautiful and sunny but windy spring afternoon.

For those of you that are unfamiliar, Norman, Oklahoma is the home of the Oklahoma Sooners. Being a University of Texas sophomore I felt like a stranger in a strange land, on enemy grounds if you will. As much as I would like to, I just cannot say anything bad about the place. I met up with some way cool OU students and we talked about everything college and APC. These were some very cool and very classy people, I just hope they won’t be too upset when UT beats them next year.

On to the show we went… The doors finally opened up and after the security pat down we made our way inside. Not a bad little arena, though not nearly as nice as the Frank Erwin Center.

Opening the show was the Mars Volta. I have no information about them -- I really wouldn’t know how to describe this band, but I can say that they did whip the crowd into a frenzy with their energy. The guitar playing was great as was the rest of the band. I wasn’t very impressed by the vocals -- it may have been the sound guy or the singer just isn’t very good live. The number of songs they did was debatable… I only counted three, as it seemed that the first two songs went for like twenty minutes each. It’s possible that they went into various other songs but not being familiar with the band, I couldn’t tell you. If you get to see these guys you might be pleasantly surprised. Mars Volta played for about fifty minutes.

Finally the time came for APC. Jeordie and Billy came out on stage to take their positions. Jeordie looked a bit like the late great Johnny Cash in his black jeans, shirt, and jacket. Billy was dressed in a black shirt and jeans as well, James Iha not to be outdone dressed in black also but he seriously needs to lose the Marilyn Monroe bleach job, and Josh Freese also in black came limping out to his drum set and played to perfection despite a fractured kneecap.

The stage then becomes bathed in a vivid beautiful color of purple and behind a curtain we see the silhouette of lead singer Maynard James Keenan hitting two drums. The band tears into “Vanishing” and back to the curtain we see holographic images of Maynard in his various poses. I was just anticipating the next song since I knew the curtain would be dropping and I’d get my first in person glimpse of the mad genius known as Maynard James Keenan and from where he was on stage, I was looking directly at him.

The curtain went down and Maynard appeared to a huge ovation and they went right into “Pet.“ After the song, Maynard says hello in his own way to the Oklahoma crowd and “The Hollow” was next on the list. After that fantastic tune Maynard introduces the band and tells the crowd it’s damn nice to meet you and they played “Magdalena” and “Orestes.“

Maynard then asks the crowd to do him a favor for his protest against censorship. “On the count of three,” says Maynard, “I want you to yell ‘fuck’ and then take a look at the person seated next to you and see if it killed them. 1- 2 - 3 ...FUCK!” Maynard, seemingly happy that nobody died from hearing the word “fuck,” tells the crowd they did well and there would be a test later. He then introduces the next song “Thinking of You” as a tribute to anal sex.

After they played the beautiful “3 Libras,“ Maynard then says, “Let’s see how well you remembered, 1 - 2 - 3....” “FUCK!” goes the crowd. Maynard’s protest seems to be making a point to the obvious. They have a little bit of fun at the expense of drummer Josh Freese and Jeordie starts singing “Freddy Got Slacks” and major kudos to Josh Freese for still playing while injured.

“The Nurse Who Loved Me” was the next song of the night. If you own 2003’s album of the year Thirteenth Step, then you know this song has a beautiful orchestral melody added to it. However this song is live so it was played electrical and it sounded just as good live.

Maynard told the crowd of the voter registration booth in the lobby and reminded them about the need to think for yourself and question authority, and if you don’t like what authority says then use your power to change things and if you like the way things are going now then you should get registered to have your ass kicked.

*NOTE* There is a web site that I won’t give the exposure to but it’s one of those righties who get their tidy whitey’s in a wad type of site. They pretty much take every quote a celebrity says and bitches about them not being like Toby Keith, hoping to ruin their careers. They’ve even taken stories from this great site trying to expand their propaganda. If I may, what Maynard did was a little known thing called sarcasm. Nobody will get their ass kicked for voting, however they feel even if it’s for the guy from that small Texas town called New Haven, Connecticut. Not one person walked out of the show in protest over Maynard’s joke -- they got it. At least Maynard encourages people to go out and exercise a very important right that we are guaranteed being from this great country.

All right back to the show, other songs they played were “The Package,“ “Brena,“ “Thomas,“ “Gravity,” “The Outsider“ and “The Noose.“ In between the songs we still had our test of “1 - 2 - 3...FUCK!” I got to hand it to the Norman crowd -- they passed the test.

There was no encore as they ended the night with the great song about blind faith: “Judith.” It just didn’t seem right that the show was coming to an end; I felt like it was just the beginning. As the band was throwing bottled water to the crowd, I was hoping they would do one more song, but it wasn’t to be.

So let me clear up some things up: Maynard never once said anything anti-American. As for the rumor that they’re boring -- not a chance. I was never once bored throughout the nearly two-hour show. The music spoke for itself, the band didn’t need to use any power tools, rely on mascots, need an elaborate stage show or do the lame ”drop the town name” for a cheap pop. This is the way shows should be!

On the 8 hour journey back to Austin, I reflected on what a phenomenal experience I just went through while listening to Oklahoma City rock station 100.5 The KATT who had a cool show going called “Totally Tool.” “Totally Tool” is a one hour show that plays nothing but requested Tool songs. Whoever came up with that concept should be Time magazine’s Man of the Year.

Without a doubt, this was the greatest concert I’ve ever seen -- got some souvenirs and some great memories. I did somewhat regret it being that I got back to Austin in just enough time to stop at Sonic for a cheeseburger and to make it to my next full day of classes. Yes, I was wore out that day but the memory will last forever. If you go see A Perfect Circle you will not regret it. It may not have the same impact to you that it had on me as APC is my favorite band along with Tool. Normally concerts are not rated here when reviewed but this was by far a five star concert.


The Hollow
Thinking Of You
3 Libras
Freddy Got Slacks
The Nurse Who Loved Me
The Package
The Outsider
The Noose

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