TOOL with Steel Beans | Review by Janel Spiegel & Photography by Kimberly Kanuck

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Event Review: TOOL

Live Nation Presents: TOOL with Steel Beans

No Audio/Video Recording

PPL Center

Allentown, PA

Tuesday, November 7, 2023 – 7:30PM

A Monstrosity of Art with a Kaleidoscope of a “Chocolate Chip Trip.”

That’s truly the best way to describe this concert. It was a sound bath with shadow work, and Rorschach wishes he could have been invited.

Allentown, PA. The PPL Center, home of The Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and home to a variety of some of the most incredible talent ever. On November 11, 2023, you can see The Lehigh Valley Phantoms take on The Hershey Bears at the PPL Center. The energy tonight was mystical and magical. There was something in the air. I want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to Monica, she knows who she is. As a writer, I love MUSIC, I MEAN I LOVE MUSIC. Music is a source of happiness, sadness, therapy, motivation, a LIFE. It means a lot.

Inside the iconic PPL Center TOOL took the stage after the opening act Steel Beans. This gentleman rocked all the instruments. He is definitely rolling in the talent. TOOL came onstage at almost exactly 8:30PM-ish. I will say this, I have been to so many concerts in my life, I have watched crews set up stages, take them apart, I’ve been backstage, onstage. You name it. I have NEVER seen a crew more efficient than TOOL’s entire stage and road crew. They had the stage taken apart as soon as the band left.

I have never seen TOOL live; I know I’m also shocked and sad but what a kaleidoscope of vibrant psychedelic wild, I want to walk in the forest, and just vibe with all the creatures. Honestly, it felt like a sound bath or a Reiki session. I feel as if Maynard James Keenan inviting us all into his kaleidoscope of trippy, wild art.

TOOL is made up of Maynard James Keenan, Adam Jones, Danny Carey, and Justin Chancellor. They played their heart and souls out. They offered a quick threat to call us Allentown folks, “Philly,” and the crowd ERRUPTED. Philly and New Jersey probably heard us.

The one thing that every single soul was discussing was the NO PHOTOS, NO AUDIO, NO RECORDING. It was the first time in a long time that I have been to a concert with no phones swaying back and forth, people trying to capture a favorite song or just one photo. TOOL’s security and PPL Security worked all night keeping people off of phones. I must say, I will ADMIT. It was kind of nice. It was BEING IN THE MOMENT!!! TRULY BEING IN THE MOMENT. I saw people look up at the spectacular lights and laser lights that were jamming along with the music. Granted, I will admit, I do kind of feel a little sad, I didn’t get a little bit of the show. I didn’t take any photos. I felt this overwhelming calm. I felt the need to respect the band, and just let it go. I wanted to be in the moment. I wanted to feel the songs. I do no matter what but not having that extra worry, it was cool.

People whipped the phones out at the very end. The band was finishing up after a very grown-up intermission. There was no chanting of “ONE MORE SONG!” They added a countdown on the screen and they came back.

They performed a little bit of everything including: “Fear Inoculum,” “Jambi,” “The Pot,” “Pneuma,” “The Grudge,” “Invincible,” and a stunning, absolutely STUNNING performance where the band came together and sat in the front of the stage and performed. It felt like I was at Sound Bath, I wanted to meditate and work on shadow work, and be one with nature all at once, I already am pretty much one with nature.

It was so strange though not seeing a sea of cell phones, people were sort of forced to deal with themselves, to be aware of what was going on around them. It seemed like some people were having even more fun. There was nothing to worry about. NO… Oh, did I get the video? Oh, they are playing, “Culling Voices.” (*Screams Internally*)

The band stayed till the very end. They greeted and thanked the fans. I must say the Allentown Police department had traffic moving fast. The security did an amazing job as always. I spotted some friends, and chatted with people from New York, Philly, New Jersey, and far and wide. Maynard did an amazing job; the entire band was just BEOND AWESOMENESS. Maynard worked with Puscifier and more. Maynard can usually be seen in the darkness. They don’t truly light a stage a lot. I imagine it’s because they don’t want people taking photos.

Also, the confetti drop was so beautiful. If you ever get a chance to see TOOL live, Sprint, RUN, drive, go see them. DO IT! Justin Chancellor had our section head banging and rocking out with him. Shout out to the awesome people in my section, and the fun group that walked to my car with me.

Going to a concert is so much more than just listening to a band. It’s an experience. The visceral, extreme, dark and beautiful images that played throughout the night. It’s motivating, it’s art in the most form, surrounding music. Thank you, Monica, and THANK YOU PPL Center. There is no place like you.


“Since the 2019 release of TOOL’s critically-acclaimed album, Fear Inoculum, the band has won a GRAMMY Award® (Best Metal Performance for “7empest”), completed sold-out tours of both the U.S. and Europe, and headlined Bonnaroo, Welcome to Rockville and the Sonic Temple Arts & Music Festival. TOOL marked the 30th anniversary of the Opiate EP with the 2022 release of “Opiate2,” a re-imagining of the EP’s title track, released in tandem with a breathtaking, 10-minute short film crafted by Adam Jones and visual artist Dominic Hailstone (“Alien: Covenant”, “The Eel”).


Reviews from TOOL’s sold-out 2022 tours praised the four-piece, with Loudwire dubbing the performances as “a masterclass of immersion, sound and stage design, musicianship… and levels of ungodly tightness.” The Austin Chronicle described the incomparable live experience as an “unbridled exchange of catharsis between performers and fans.” More recently, Revolver, covering Welcome to Rockville 2023, said “TOOL delivered a stunning… set featuring classic fan favorites, newer Fear Inoculum standouts and choice deeper cuts … the striking visuals also included a psychedelic laser and projections show bar none.”