A Perfect Circle at Comerica Theatre, 7-25-11

Categories: Last Night

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Maria Vassett
A Perfect Circle
Comerica Theatre
July 25, 2011

It was just this past November that the members of A Perfect Circle ended their six-year hiatus by performing a trio of shows at Tempe's Marquee Theatre. Each of the three shows had the group focusing on one of their three albums and was the first stop of a five-city tour that most people assumed was a warm-up for a new album and even bigger tour.

Some seven months later and there is still no word on an upcoming album, but the band has kept the touring ball rolling. The band hit Comerica Theatre last night, and while the show echoed their performance last November, it also found the band switching things up. All the changes were for the better.

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Maria Vassett
Rather than focusing on just one album last night A Perfect Circle performed songs from all three of their releases, though seemed that the band favored songs from 2004's album eMOTIVe. The band opened up their set with a pair of songs from that album, Crucifix's "Annihilation" and John Lennon's "Imagine" and included others from the record as well, like Joni Mitchell's "Fiddle and the Drum" and Depeche Mode's "People Are People."

Technically these are cover songs, but it's almost unfair to call them that. Songs like Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" and Black Flag's "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie" are completely re-imagined in the hands of A Perfect Circle, adapted for the band's purposes, and all cast in a dramatic, gothic light.

It was the bands originals songs, however, that seemed to sound the most powerful when performed last night. APC sounded fantastic when performing songs like "Weak And Powerless," "The Hollow," and a very powerful performance of "The Noose" which was definitely one of the highlights of the night.

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Maria Vassett
Much like APC's previous shows last November, lead singer Maynard James Keenan remained almost completely out of the spotlight. Literally. During most of the bands set lights shined down upon APC's other members - James Iha, Jeff Friedl, Billy Howerdel, and Matt McJunkins - but Keenan remained in the dark tucked away towards the corner of the stage, where he focused more on singing than witty banter.

"Arizona," was pretty much all Keenan had to say to the audience. Brief as it was it, the crowd reacted. Given how excited the crowd was for this show Keenan could have probably just said the word "pamphlet" and still got a huge reaction. He did follow that up with "Thank you, Arizona," later in the show.

The cheers were well deserved. APC sounded great, and put on a fantastic show. Keenan always has plenty of projects going, including Tool, Pucifer, and running a winery here in Jerome, but A Perfect Circle sounded too good, and too vital, to not put out another album soon. Here's hoping.

Setlist:

"Annihilation"
"Imagine"
"Weak and Powerless"
"The Hollow"
"What's Going On"
"People Are People"
"The Outsider"
"Rose"
"Peace Love and Understanding"
"When the Levee Breaks"
"The Noose"
"3 Libras"
"The Package"
"Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie"
"Orestes"
"Passive"
"Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm Of The War Drums"
"Fiddle and the Drum"
"By and Down"

Critics Notebook:

Last Night: A Perfect Circle and Red Bacteria Vacuum at Comerica Theatre

Personal Bias: I caught the band when they played Thirteenth Step last November and they put on a great show. Was definitely looking to seeing them play again.

The Crowd: Definitely a very diverse crowd. There was a little bit of everything at this show and lots of people in Tool t-shirts.

Overheard in the crowd: "I'm so sweaty, I've got boob sweat." -- a girl in desperate need of a towel.

Random Notebook Dump: They played a remix of "3 Libras" which I wasn't particularly crazy about and considering that's my favorite APC song I kind wished they would've played the original version instead.

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