A Perfect Circle at Marquee Theatre Last Night

Categories: Last Night
aperfectcircle2.jpg
Maria Vassett

A Perfect Circle
Marquee Theatre
November 4, 2010

There was a palpable sense of excitement in the air before A Perfect Circle took the stage at a sold-out Marquee Theatre last night. It's not often you go to a concert and feel like you're part of a rare and significant happening -- a genuine, save-your-ticket-stub event -- but that's exactly what this show felt like. Coming off a six-year hiatus, A Perfect Circle delivered a strong, mostly tight performance on the first of three consecutive nights in Tempe.

Last night's show kicked off a five-city, 14-date tour that will see the band perform all three of it's albums on consecutive nights in Tempe, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco, capped off by a two-night stint in Las Vegas. The band's first (and best) album, Mer de Noms, was the focus of last night's set, and APC fans really couldn't have asked for more.

aperfectcircle3.jpg
Maria Vassett

For a band that's been inactive for so long, APC showed few signs of rust. In his typically reclusive fashion, lead vocalist Maynard James Keenan stood on a platform in the left rear corner of the stage, facing sideways towards guitarist James Iha and drummer Josh Freese. Lead guitarist/songwriter/founding member Billy Howerdel showed off his considerable chops, expertly replicating the chugging riffs, blistering leads and quieter, effects-driven passages that made Mer de Noms such a memorable album.

Keenan's voice has held up remarkably well in the 10 years since the album's initial release. He opted to not even try hitting the higher end of his register during the "sweet revelation" portion of "Thinking of You," instead staying an octave lower, but that's a pretty minor quibble for an otherwise impressive performance. Keenan is still deserving of his reputation as one of rock's best vocalists, and APC - even moreso than Tool - allows him to really show off his range and melody. Mer de Noms is a pretty demanding album vocally, and Keenan was largely up to the task. Howerdel and bassist Matt McJunkins also chipped in on some nice harmonies throughout the set.

As is his custom, Keenan kept the stage banter to a minimum, aside from the obligatory 'thanks for coming" spiel and an aside about how "the Democrats had their asses handed to 'em in Arizona." There were a few jammy excursions here and there, but the band mostly stayed faithful to the original album. The highlight of the night was probably the mid-album one-two punch of "Sleeping Beauty" (a showcase for Keenan's vocal prowess) and "Thomas," which took on a heavier, sludgier sound in a live setting.

aperfectcircle1.jpg
Maria Vassett

Even before the show, I was wondering what APC would come up with for an encore, and suffice it to say, I was not disappointed. The band played an extended version of the Cure's "Lovesong," which incorporated elements Ozzy Osbourne's "Diary of a Madman." A cover of David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" followed. Before the final song, Keenan announced that "this is one we've only played once" (presumably here), and Iha stepped up to the keyboard and started pounding out the opening bars of the band's discordant take on "Imagine." Keenan stopped the song abruptly after just one line, but the second take was virtually flawless, sending the capacity crowd home feeling like they'd been part of something special.

A Perfect Circle more than lived up to the immense hype surrounding this brief tour. Here's to hoping it's not another six years before they come back.

Setlist

The Hollow
Magdalena
Rose
Judith
Orestes
3 Libras
Sleeping Beauty
Thomas
Renholdër
Thinking of You
Breña
Over

Encore:
Diary of a Lovesong (Cure/Ozzy cover)
Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie cover)
Imagine (dude, if you have to ask...)

Critics Notebook:

Personal Bias: Mer de Noms is by far my favorite APC album.

The Crowd: Hipsters, heshers, skaters and squares. Basically, a cross-section of 21st-century white America.

Overheard in the Crowd: "If I owned a place like this, I would try to get big bands in here and charge 500 bucks a head. I'm talking big bands... like Nickelback." (Special thanks to my friend Dave for catching this gem.)

Random Notebook Dump: "They're making the bassist earn his paycheck." (Speaking as a bass player myself, one of the best parts of the gig is that you're relatively anonymous. Even if you fuck up, the only people who notice are other bassists. Poor McJunkins, however, was front and center for the entire show. Sucks to be you, dude.)

My Voice Nation Help
22 comments
Gregory Boam
Gregory Boam

I got tickets only to Emotive. I was so pissed to not get mer de noms. I'm looking forward to tonight but its kinda sour grapes. I hope they play some classics as well.

Ryan Collins
Ryan Collins

got my ticket today!!!! cant fucking wait!!! wooohoooo!!

Erice0831
Erice0831

Wish I could have been there! Mike, I share your personal bias, Mer de Noms is for sure my favorite APC album!

Akv688
Akv688

i haven't read through the list of comments on this post, but to my knowledge (and sadly i was stuck on the east coast for this) it wasn't Love Song they played it was their randition of Dairy of a Love Song. this being the combination song of Ozzie's Dairy of a Mad Man and obviously Cure's Love Song.

not trying to be an asshole, just saying. (:

Mike R. Meyer
Mike R. Meyer

Akv,Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I fixed the song title in the review. I knew I'd heard that guitar riff somewhere, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I even remember thinking "Is that Sabbath?" I guess I was close...

Batgirl46n2
Batgirl46n2

I am jealous of you all and only wish that they extended this tour overseas. I love Mer de Noms, but Thirteenth Step holds a special place in my heart. I would sell my soul to see them live

Johnnybsgirl
Johnnybsgirl

This is MUSIC. Thank you boys for reviving the purest art. Now hoping for a new album :) but, minus the make-shift bass player. Strike one~pick player Strike two~ novice timing, no pocket, don't think Josh throwing a stick at your head would have gotten your attention Strike three~ no tone, no ass. With a sound as grand as APC, WE NEED ASS and Throat.

Thank you

Chic Bass Player

Dawne
Dawne

When I first/last saw APC, they were on tour with NIN in 2000. I saw them in Worcester, MA. Since then, I fell in love, listened to country music, got married, moved to Phoenix, and got divorced. To this day, Mer de Noms is just as pertinent to my life as it was when I was starry-eyed and naive... Last night was very special in a "full-circle" kind of way for me... a fresh beginning, per se.

Heh. full-circle. ... get it?

Anamieke
Anamieke

Nice 'overheard gem'. Hilarious.

Robyn
Robyn

They played Imagine at Jimmy Kimmel Live last week - you can go to the shows site to see it.

Yilmort
Yilmort

The only song I heard them play on Kimmel was Weak & Powerless.

Augie
Augie

nope they played about four songs that night :) it was a great night

Guest
Guest

Same here, they started Imagine and then it got cut off for Access Hollywood. I had to go to the site to watch the rest of the performance.

Bryan
Bryan

I'm still in awe of the fact that I get to experience such a great 3 nights of music. Last night was amazing, although I am looking forward to tonight the most. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Mer De Noms, but to me, personally, the music and lyrics from Thirteenth Step hit a more personal level with me -- it will be a special show.

I wish they weren't such assholes about people taking pictures and stuff -- I can understand not wanting recordings made, but photos to take away from this would be great.

SHRKBYTE
SHRKBYTE

To Mike or anyone that was there: How long was the show?

Mike R. Meyer
Mike R. Meyer

Yep. The show lasted roughly 75 minutes. No opening bands.

Shay
Shay

It started a little after 8:30 and ran till about 10. They started late but that was no surprise, it was well worth the few more minutes of waiting after having already been outside for a good hour.

Booootata
Booootata

I feel so blessed and privileged to have been part of this last night. The most ridiculous part about last night were the people outside with "I need tickets" signs. Yeah, you and about 2000 other people.

Eric
Eric

That Nickelback quote is hilarious. I had no idea that James Iha was still involved with APC. I guess Billy knows where to find him...

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Phoenix Event Tickets
Loading...