Masters of Ambience
There has been talk that Tool, despite being a fantastic band, are not quite suited to headlining a festival the size of Download. True, the crowd is not as dense as it would be for Metallica but those who are gathered seem to be either very curious about what the fuss is about, or already madly in love with the band.
The last time Tool played Donington was in 2002 at the Ozzfest renowned for its rain and issues with barriers. Tonight's performance is considerably smoother and the weather is also a huge improvement to mud.
Luckily for the fans, Download has no barrier system, so anyone can move to the front to see the band. Sadly for those already comfortable at the back of the arena, that is exactly what you need to do for Tool are as strict as ever on being filmed, rendering the giant screens either side of the stage practically useless.
The set is varied, taking from their latest album '1000 Days' in the form of 'Rosetta Stoned' and the new songs effortlessly slide into place beside old favourites such as '46 and 2' and 'Prison Sex'. Other songs to make an appearance include 'Sober', which sounds like it is drenched in mystery, its dark tones cascade onto the worshipping crowd below.
Other highlights come from their most popular album, 'Lateralus', with 'Schism', the immense sound forcing thousands to sing along passionately.
'Vicarious' also garners a ferocious applause as it draws to a close. The crowd has emptied considererably by the half way mark of their set, but that is to be expected. Tool's sound is at times draining and if you are not already a fan it would be easy to get bored. For those who stay, more luscious waves of music are the prize. There is something so beautiful about their music, but at the same time there is sadness and darkness lurking behind every word sung. This melancholic sadness is beautiful to admire and it hangs over Donington until the sun goes down.
Tool are true masters of live performance and those who stay until the end leave with smiles on their faces feeling satisfied with the fantastic set given and the feeling that they know, they understand a band that is so deep and meaningful at times.