Anselmo Valencia Amphitheater, Tuesday, June 8

After a noble Phoenix performance in February plagued by illnesses and injuries, A Perfect Circle returned to the desert on June 8.

The crowd at Casino del Sol's AVA was treated to an eclectic night of rock and entertainment unlike any other. APC's stage-set resembled a naked forest, similar to a scene out of a Tim Burton film.

The band setup was dynamically different from any other rock show I've seen. Enigmatic lead singer Maynard James Keenan (of Tool fame) performed on a platform riser, stage-center, further behind the drums. Drummer Josh Freese (formerly of The Vandals, Guns 'N Roses) was spotted stage-left behind his throne. Former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha played on a riser placed stage-right. The floor of the stage was shared between guitarist Billy Howerdel and former Marilyn Manson bassist Jeordie White (a.k.a. Twiggy Ramirez).

Opening with the melodic "Vanishing" from APC's latest album, Thirteenth Step, Keenan performed behind a black curtain, with his silhouette beaming through a spotlight.

The bass-driven, gothic "Pet" was next. Keenan emerged from the curtain, covered by a street sign bearing his name for a microphone stand.

The crowd grew more vocal throughout the night, helping their icon sing such songs as "Weak and Powerless," "The Package" and "3 Libras."

In-between songs, Keenan kept the crowd entertained with cheesy jokes and various rants. He told the crowd the band was dedicating the song "The Nurse Who Loved Me" to Janet Jackson's nipple.

Besides a stellar musical performance, the visual aspect added to this climactic evening. Beautiful light displays highlighted the mood of every song, especially during the emotional "Thinking of You."

Also, the band was silhouetted throughout their performance, never having direct light shined upon them. This helped make the evening become a celebration of music, not an affixation of individual band members.

Before the night was over, Keenan left the crowd with two great pieces of advice:

"For those of you who have diarrhea, it's OK to shit yourself in public."

And, in relation to the upcoming presidential election, "Think for yourself and question authority."

Out of nearly 300 concerts I've has witnessed, APC's performance was one of the most magical.


More by Jon Hobson


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