▣Agganis Arena | Boston, MA ▣Wednesday, November 8th 2017
California supergroup, A Perfect Circle, was back in Boston at the Agganis Arena after a five year hiatus. The much anticipated tour would bring Maynard James Keenan and Billy Howerdel back together again with the band they co-founded. A night that brought many obstacles, would end on a high note.
Heavy traffic and limited parking at the Agganis Arena, almost made it impossible for me to arrive at the venue. It was a cold night in Boston, and finding parking proved to be a challenge. After arriving, I was rushed by a nice security guard to the shooting area, which was about 100 yards from the stage – or the size of a football field. Luckily, I had my Canon 70-200ml lens with me, only a 4L but I hoped that with the right amount of luck I could get a couple of decent shots. Having no monopod was challenging, so I just held my camera over my head and hoped for the best.
A huge white drape covered the entire stage area. The lights went out and music started playing, as warm lights shined from behind the stage, exposing the shadows of all 5 members of A Perfect Circle. Their shadows made them appear 7 feet tall, as they opened with the fan favorite- The Package. Maynard James Keenan (lead vocals) stood on a small circular podium in the center, a bit higher then the rest of the band- matching his larger than life persona and voice. He waived one hand as he held the microphone stand with the other. Everything was perfectly executed from the start – the shadows behind the drape, Keenan’s voice, how well they all sounded together. It was perfection. About four minutes into the song, the drape came down to expose the band and the moment was explosive! Billy Howerdel (guitarist, vocals) was to the right, behind him on another podium was Jeff Friedl (Drums). To the left was Matt McJunkins (bass, vocals) and above him on another small podium was James Iha (guitar, keyboard, vocals). They immediately went into their next song, The Hollow, as cheers filled the venue for their amazing opening.
Unfortunately, it was at the end of these songs that all photographers in attendance were escorted out of the building. We would be allowed to come back in if we had a ticket, but we could not bring our equipment back into the venue. I knew there were very strict rules that the band set for their performance in regards to photography/videography. No cellphones/cameras and no photo or video. If caught, it would result in an immediate ejection from the venue. There were posted signs everywhere- hundreds of them. Posted on walls, chairs, posts, restrooms, everywhere you turned, there was a sign enforcing this rule. You were especially out of luck if you were a photographer who used public transportation to get to the venue. There was nowhere to store your equipment, so you would have to leave the show. Even if my car was far, I was lucky to have somewhere to drop my equipment. I overheard a few photographers deciding to leave the venue. I knew personally that I had to at least try and catch the end of their performance, or I would regret it one day.
By the time I made it back into the venue and to my seat, I had already missed a big chunk of their performance…or about 45 minutes worth. I was crushed thinking about what I had missed. I did catch their new song Hourglass, from their upcoming 2018 release. They followed with Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums, mesmerizing the crowd as they swayed like zombies back and forth. Most had uncomfortable grins on their faces, dying to take out their cellphones to take a picture or a video to document the event and couldn’t.
But A Perfect Circle’s performance wouldn’t be denied, and when Keenan took us into their newest release of The Doomed, it was in that moment they never sounded better. The live rendition of the song was amazing. All members of the band playing an important role on the way the sound was being distributed into our ears. And it got better with another fan favorite, The Outsider. It was such a strong performance of the 2003 release, enough to give anyone chills. The band thanked the crowd before going onto the last song of the night, Feathers- another song released early this year. It was the perfect way to close the night. Despite the many obstacles, the night ended on a high note. The part of the show that I was able to see, was incredibly amazing. I hope next time I am able to see their entire performance.
Review & Photos: Carlos Londono
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A Perfect Circle