Home / Headline News / Live Review + Gallery: Tool, Killing Joke at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY (11.19.19)

Live Review + Gallery: Tool, Killing Joke at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY (11.19.19)

Since the release of Tool’s first new album in over 13 years, ‘Fear Inoculum,’ Tool has embarked on one of their most extensive North American tours since 2014 in support of their new album. On Tuesday, November 19th Tool made their return to NYC in front of a packed Barclays Center in Brooklyn. For Tool, this was the the first time in their career playing the relatively new arena, and the first time back in NYC since playing the 2017 Governors Ball on Randalls Island.

The show kicked off with the UK post-punk/industrial rock legends Killing Joke. Unfortunately for Killing Joke the arena was sadly very empty, with the obvious that basically all ticket holders were there strictly for Tool. Just last year Killing Joke celebrated their 40th anniversary, and all though the band aren’t known for playing big arenas, in fact the UK legends have always been known for playing much smaller venues, but even on the massive stage. Killing Joke performed a solid 45 minute set as they would anywhere and sounded great doing it. Kicking the set off with “Butcher” from 2004’s ‘For Beginners,’ from there the remainder of the setlist was composed with nearly half of the songs being pulled straight off the bands 1980 debut album ‘Killing Joke’ before ending with their famous set closer “Pandemonium.” It was a bit depressing seeing Killing Joke play in front of an empty arena, but was also awesome watching them put on such a great show live.  


Killing Joke Setlist:

  1. Butcher
  2. Tomorrow’s World
  3. Eighties
  4. Seeing Red
  5. Complications
  6. S.O.36
  7. Total Invasion
  8. Loose Cannon
  9. The Wait
  10. Pandemoni

As Tool fans began storming in from the halls to their seats, fans were met by arena staff at the entrances of the different sections leading to the seating, all holding crossing guard like signs that read,

Tonight’s show has a strict NO CAMERA policy which includes cell phones We respectfully request that you please watch and listen to the show, not your phone.

You will be ejected from the show without the opportunity to return and without a refund If you violate this simple request and elect to take photos during the performance.

In the event of a personal emergency phone use may occur on the concourse away from the performance area.”

Once inside the performance area, every seat at each end of every row had the exact sign taped to its back, and if that wasn’t enough to get the point across on how serious Tool was about this, while fans waited for the band to take the stage, a God like announcement was broadcasted over the PA system in the arena verbally explaining the NO CAMERA policy for the show. For a lot of fans, most being from the digital era and even a lot of the older fans who well lets be honest just don’t get out much, who continuously feel the need to update their social media story feeds with shaky videos with the volume cranked or blurry photos taken during every song through the entire show, felt that this policy was unnecessary, for me personally this is a policy I fully stand behind and hope in the future more bands get behind, theres nothing worse then trying to enjoy a show and not being able to see because everyone has there phones in the air the whole time. 

The time fans had been eagerly awaiting all night for had come, Tool took the stage behind a curtain of tassels that wrapped around from one side of the stage to the other. With giant LED screens as backdrops projecting psychedelic visuals to the intro melody of “Fear Inoculum” and would continue to take fans on a visual journey throughout the entire song. Following, still behind the curtain of tassels (that didn’t actually open up until “Parabol,”) Tool went into the heavy fan favorite, the 1996 title track classic “Ænema.” For almost three hours Tool took fans on an enhanced visually filled psychedelic journey through another atmosphere, for every song there was something different, from the odd creepy sci-fi videos of past classics like “Schism,” and “Part of Me,” to the more organic acid like visuals that highlighted the bands newer material like “Pneuma” and their encore psychedelic instrumental “Chocolate Chip Trip” that led into another ‘Fear Inoculum’ track “Invincible.” And if the visuals alone weren’t enough for fans during this mind altering experience, Tool put on a mind blowing laser light show that enhance the projected visuals by a 1,000 times. The visual show was that amazing that I felt myself getting lost being so focused on what was going on visually that at times during the songs the music itself just became background noise to me, which really made the NO CAMERA policy stand out in my head, and if you were wondering just how strict they were about the policy just ask everyone who thought they could get away with it and got tossed from the show, and I saw a lot of people getting escorted out by security who rushed the scene in packs as if fights were breaking out, which in my opinion was definitely a bit to much, seriously it doesn’t take four to five big security guards to eject one person who was using their phone.

The most impressive part of Tool’s set which included songs that spanned through the bands entire career of almost 30 years, was how well thought out the setlist was, making certain every song meshed together perfectly. I hate to say it, but some bands while out supporting a new album will come out and just stuff a bunch of new material down your throat, throw in a couple of classics and call it a night, not Tool, as they  went from their classic material to the newest of songs throughout the set, every song showed relevance to one and other.

With the set coming to a close, Maynard said to security “Stand down” and “everyone take out your phones for this you take pictures” as he brought out on stage and introduced artist Alex Grey, who’s been responsible for a lot of Tool’s album artwork and live visuals, with the words “Thank You Alex Grey” on the giant LED screens behind them Tool went into the fan favorite set closer “Stinkfist,” with Alex Grey remaining on stage for the entirety of the song helping Tool close out one hell of a show, and yes everyone took full advantage of the NO CAMERA policy being thrown out, as basically everyone had their phones in the air for the entire song, but there were also 19,000 fans screaming along word for word to one of Tool’s most popular songs to date. 


Tool Setlist

  1. Fear Inoculum
  2. Ænema
  3. The Pot
  4. Parabol
  5. Parabola
  6. Pneuma
  7. Schism
  8. Jambi
  9. Vicarious
  10. Part of Me
  11. Forty Six & 2
  1. Chocolate Chip Trip
  2. Invincible
  3. (tape) Ions
  4. Stinkfist


About Mark Smitty Neal

NewYork Based Photographer. Music Enthusiast with a background in Graphic Design. Whether I'm shooting a live event or just out wondering the streets its about capturing the moment.

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