Walking into the third and final day of Boston Calling, there was a visible difference in the crowd that had occupied the grounds the previous two days. Many of the teens had been replaced with older fans sporting metal band tees. Today was the day many of these people had been waiting for for years: Tool was to return to the stage for a headlining set.
Boston Calling had strategically planned Sunday to accommodate this different crowd, with sets from newer punk stalwarts like The Hotelier and Pup in the early hours, and Converge and Piebald in the afternoon.
Run The Jewels
At the height of the afternoon, while Tool fans were starting to gather around the Green Stage, Killer Mike and El-P of Run The Jewels amassed an incredibly energetic and packed crowd at the xFINITY Red Stage, where they brought the best of Run The Jewels 3 (including this writer’s personal favorite track “Hey Kids”) and their back catalogue. It seems that no matter how many festivals they play, the duo, along with their DJ Trackstar, are always able to hold it down and put on a killer performance, trading lines and verses like every show is their last, and making sure to encourage the crowd to jump and sing along to every word.
A few hours later, across the Harvard Athletic Complex, on the Delta Blue Stage where The Hotelier and Pup had just played hours before, Weezer brought the hits (or should they be called standards at this point?) of “Say It Ain’t So,” “My Name Is Jonas,” “Island In The Sun,” while also sprinkling in tracks from their latest self-titled LP. Weezer’s lead single “Thank God For Girls” was even accompanied by a slideshow of women the band admires, including Oprah, Beyoncé, and Michelle Obama.
Despite the Blue Stage’s location on a turf soccer field, there almost wasn’t enough room to hold the massive crowd that gathered for the legendary group. The turf filled quickly, and the audience spilled out onto the grass, as well as the bleachers that surrounded it. However, the crowd wasn’t big enough to not be almost entirely illuminated by the massive light-up “W” behind the band as they urged for the audience to sing the chorus of “Beverly Hills.”
Making my way back toward the Green Stage on Sunday night meant weaving through full families that had traveled from all over, their only reason for attendance being that Tool was back. One newborn even sported a shirt that read “My first time seeing Tool.” The mud that had accumulated from Friday’s rain did nothing to deter the crowd rabid to be seeing Tool for the first time in what was — for some — over a decade. There was a sense of camaraderie in the crowd, everyone there for the same collective reason, and the anticipation pertinent.
Finally, the screens faded to black and the crowd roared as the reunited metal outfit launched into Lateralus cut “The Grudge.” Maynard James Keenan sported his signature riot cop gear, and his voice sounded as good as ever as the band tore through selections from their catalogue that has amassed a cult status over the last few years.
The screens that flanked the stage remained dark for much of the performance, and illuminated for the first to display the band’s trippy, disturbing visuals during the third song, “Schism.” In the middle of the set, Keenan took the opportunity give what seemed to be a politically motivated speech that used the word “snowflake” a few times in an attempt to honor Memorial Day by thanking law enforcement for their service.
Tool closed their set with Ænema’s “Stinkfist,” which sent fans into a frenzy as they finally got their fix. Tool is back, and it’s as if they never left.
“Forty-Six & 2”
Check out our recap of Chance The Rapper’s Friday headlining set here.