Tool Concert Inspiration: Music as a Reflection of the Universe.

Music is patterns of sound, vibrations of particles and thus energy.

We are vibrations of energy too.

There is no separation between music and us.

Listening to music, letting it consume you is like making love.

It’s the merging of these higher fields into a flowing, synchronized

continuum of energy.

Listening to music is the immersion with the unified force.

You are heightened to the awareness of your own vibrational energy.

You can feel it. It isn’t out there. It flows through you, melds with you,

dances with you.

Music is the universe dancing with itself.

I finally saw Tool live this May. Tool is one of my favorite bands of all time. Their music is powerful and has such a spiritual depth as well as rhythmic complexity that is both inspiring and challenging. Their music leaves you feeling vulnerable, bewildered, and yet empowered. Their music is a journey into introspection, vulnerability, growth, questioning everything you’ve ever known, and the nature of the universe. Their music is for the deep thinker and the spiritually inclined.

The show started with a glowing star that arose from the base of the stage up towards the light fixtures. It slowly climbed up the stage and as it did, it was lightly pulsing with a heavy booming bass rhythmic pattern, exactly like a heartbeat. Boooom boooom, boooom booom. The bass was loud and enveloping. The crowd roared in excitement. My own heartrate increased and a flood of elation washed over my body. I closed my eyes and just listened to the sound. It felt like being back in the womb, back to a time on the edge of this conscious experience.

The rhythm felt so fundamental to our humanity. It felt warm yet powerful. It was all-encompassing and I felt the rhythm slowly take over my body. The beat was coming from inside my head. Eventually I felt like I became the beat, this sound was familiar in an archaic, primitive sense. It was an old familiar sound which was my initial perceptual welcoming into this human experience. It was the beginning of all of our human journeys. The sound of a heartbeat, presented so emphatically in this way was both piercing and compelling. It resonated on a such deep, philosophical, and innate level. Life is rhythm, the universe is rhythm. This was conveyed to me so vividly in this opening display. I wanted to cry out for all of humanity. This is who we are! We are pulsating, vibrant rhythmic energy!

Seeing them live was a religious experience, not least of all because of some psychedelic persuasion beforehand. Being there live and listening to the power of the sound is when you truly become ensnared by the music. The bass hits you like a punch to the chest, the riffs are vehement and daunting. The sounds consume your entirely body and you find yourself at times not knowing if the sounds are internal or external. There is no you listening to the sound, the ego dissolves and you are left with only the music.

The lights and visual effects of the show were stunning as well. Every song had a visual theme with its own array of colors, patterns, and figures dancing across the backdrop. This was accompanied by swirling lights and 3-D projections. It was sensory overload in the most beautiful, dynamic, and vivacious way. However, I remember some of the best moments I had at the concert were just closing my eyes and experiencing the sound rattle through my brain and body. It was like shuffling off everything I thought I was and leaving only hard-hitting riffs and complex rhythmic patterns of sheer ecstasy. The music was all encompassing, filling the stadium with transcendent vibrational energy.

I remember the feeling of excitatory fervor, like my body couldn’t stop moving, like witnessing a grand display of matter transforming into energy. I remember sitting there before the show in my seat, my legs rhythmically and involuntarily bouncing to some unknown beat. That feeling only intensified as the show went on and I felt myself lose control and give myself totally over to the sound. It was a transcendent and violently transformative experience and one that will not be forgotten.

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