MTH-V: TOOL’s “Third Eye” Live

Although I’d like for my Einstein reflection to remain from and center on the main site (as it is in my mind), Tuesday is here and therefore another video post is due. The timing definitely works out, however, as it’s quite complementary to the concert-going about face I’m engaging in. Although I have yet to successfully pick my jaw up from the floor after Sunday’s EOTB experience, tonight I’ll be seeing TOOL in Toledo, OH. (Yes, I’ll be wearing my earplugs…)

Ah, TOOL. (While it’s not completely necessary that I capitalize all letters, I’ve done so for 15 years and see no reason to quit now.) 1/5 of my mythic Top 5. Tonight’s show will be #14, my first having been almost 15 years ago (07.26.97). It’s been five years since I last saw them, and my overall attendance numbers would be far greater for them if they actually toured regularly. However, that’s part of their charm. They tour when they want and can, and do things on their terms, and release new studio albums at a snail’s pace. But considering each album somehow evolves past the last, it’s always worth the wait.

In case this is news to you, a quick rundown: Since its inception, the band has been categorized as progressive rock/metal, and has only amped up those characteristics – lengthy tunes, compound meters, unconventional form, strong technical facility – over time. Although many progressive rock bands fall prey to the math more than the music, TOOL can organically rock in 11/8 without giving the impression that they perform solely to showcase their rhythmic acuity. Furthermore, they exhibit restraint and taste, employing such devices only when the music (or Maynard’s idiosyncratic vocal melodies) demands it. As far as subject matter, the lyrics are overall intentionally vague while also referencing, aside from the usual “life and death,”  individual expression, philosophy, social commentary, humor (often sarcastic or ironic), and the occult. (The band members and their associates have a deep knowledge of the latter, as opposed to superficial references.)

For this week’s video, I’ve selected a recent and decent (despite the final few seconds being clipped) HQ audience recording of one of their best songs, “Third Eye.” Without giving too much away in the title, it’s about opening one’s fabled third eye. 🙂 The spoken dialogue played at the beginning is a recording of Dr. Timothy Leary they use during live (rare) performances of this particular song. (The studio album features complementary bits by Bill Hicks.) I’ve only seen this song live a few times – it’s rarely performed. If you have the time to get through all 15 minutes you’ll see that it’s not just “jamming,” but rather a well-structured composition. Also note the great use of tension and release via volume, texture, meter, and tone. It’s something they do better than most. The other thing TOOL does better than most is perform. They are SOLID live – crisp, well-rehearsed, and intense. TOOL is:
Danny Carey – Drums/Percussion
Justin Chancellor – Bass (1995-present)
Adam Jones – Guitar
Maynard James Keenan – Vocals
(Paul D’Amour – Bass, 1990-95)

“Third Eye” (from 1996’s Ænima)

Lyrics:
Dreaming of that face again.
It’s bright and blue and shimmering.
Grinning wide
And comforting me with it’s three warm and wild eyes.

On my back and tumbling
Down that hole and back again
Rising up
And wiping the webs and the dew from my withered eye.

In… Out… In… Out… In… Out…

A child’s rhyme stuck in my head.
It said that life is but a dream.
I’ve spent so many years in question
to find I’ve known this all along.

“So good to see you.
I’ve missed you so much.
So glad it’s over.
I’ve missed you so much
Came out to watch you play.
Why are you running?”

Shrouding all the ground around me
Is this holy crow above me.
Black as holes within a memory
And blue as our new second sun.
I stick my hand into his shadow
To pull the pieces from the sand.
Which I attempt to reassemble
To see just who I might have been.
I do not recognize the vessel,
But the eyes seem so familiar.
Like phosphorescent desert buttons
Singing one familiar song…

“So good to see you.
I’ve missed you so much.
So glad it’s over.
I’ve missed you so much.
Came out to watch you play.
Why are you running away?”

Prying open my third eye.
So good to see you once again.
I thought that you were hiding.
And you thought that I had run away.
Chasing the tail of dogma.
I opened my eye and there we were.

So good to see you once again
I thought that you were hiding from me.
And you thought that I had run away.
Chasing a trail of smoke and reason.

Prying open my third eye

 

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