A Perfect Circle
November 18, 2017
A Perfect Circle’s concert in Cleveland was a night filled with obscurity, fascination, appreciation, gratitude, and avant-garde photography… a complete geometric loop of qualities.
Think about the power of anonymity. If no one could see your face, what would you say or how would you act? Would your behavior change?
Maynard James Keenan, the intriguing and mysterious frontman to A Perfect Circle, led an amazing performance at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland with his ever-powerful vocals. Do his fans like him so much because he’s elusive? Or is he elusive because fans like him so much? We might never know, but he sang in shadowed silhouette, facial features indistinguishable, yet wearing a wig that, by outline, looked remarkably similar to the hairstyle adorned by Chrissy Snow, the character played by Suzanne Somers in Three’s Company. Kidding aside, once overcoming the fact that Maynard would only be heard and not really seen during the show, the energy took hold and the audience was swept away in the magic of the music.
The majority of the crowd remained standing during the entire performance, enraptured by the perfect sound qualities of the show: rhythms, beat, melody, lyrics, singing, and harmonizing. Maynard’s sheer lung strength—his absorbing, addicting, and powerful voice—combined with Lead Guitarist Billy Howerdel’s perfectly aligned backing vocals, created a hypnotic harmonization effect. Naturally, the addition of Matt McJunkins’ vocals and bass, James Iha’s rhythm guitar and keyboards, and Jeff Friedl’s drums fully captivated the ears, brains, and souls of each audience member so that everyone could be collectively entranced in the musically meditative performance. Recommendation: listen to tunes like The Outsider, Imagine (John Lennon cover), Blue, Judith, and The Doomed, in a dark room or with your eyes closed to relate to the powerful magnetism of A Perfect Circle’s music.
This article would not be circularly complete without mentioning the truly enjoyable opening act, The Beta Machine, a band comprised of A Perfect Circle’s Matt McJunkins on vocals, bass, and keyboards; Jeff Friedl on drums; as well as Claire Acey on vocals and keyboards; and Nicholas Perez on guitars, keyboards, and vocals. Beautiful, intriguing, and engaging describe the music, set, and style, which would make any music lover want to hear more. Listen to The End to get the picture.
The amazing performance wasn’t all just absolutely fantastic rock ’n’ roll. Similar to the experience at the Carolina Rebellion festival (read all about it here), Maynard shared some spot-on statements as well as funny quips and antics, like:
- “Assume you’re wrong and start listening.”
- “And, though we all can’t be, I’m from Akron.” (Amen!)
- “I’m from Ohio and know what music is supposed to sound like.” (Double Amen!)
- “There need to be more songs about anal sex.” (Stated before the band launched into Thinking of You, a song with an incredibly powerful bass and percussion that must be heard live.)
- Performing a brief dance-like workout on stage with shake weights (see here), after admitting it’s hard to maintain health on the road, so why not get in shape on stage?
The performance also included valuable statements and actions. Several times Maynard shared genuine concern over safety for the audience: “be safe,” “be careful going home,” and “look out for each other.” At one point, when an audience member near the front was seemingly hurt or sick, the band did not begin the next song, but waited to determine if everyone was okay. After receiving a response or confirmation, Maynard reminded everyone that this was just a rock show and to be careful and safe. (Thank you!)
Oh, and one important message: a new A Perfect Circle album will be out in 2018! Check out the tune The Doomed as a teaser.
What are you grateful for? Some responses are profound, some less meaningful, but all gratitude should be appreciated. At A Perfect Circle’s concert in particular, a tremendous amount of gratitude is owed to the band who strictly forbade the usage of any cameras or cell phones, other than the five media photographers approved for the event. The audience was repeatedly informed and reminded, with signs on the doors and the backs of all seats, as well as reminders announced overhead, that a zero tolerance policy was in effect and that anyone caught with a camera or cell phone camera would be removed. They weren’t kidding.
After the initial shock, the audience got it. Flash back to 10 or more years ago when smart phones were not in existence and the audience could actually see the stage and the performers without having to witness concerts through the screens of other cell phones in front of them. Think about it. When people record concerts from their phones, they are no longer paying attention to the show, they are not focused, and not living in the moment. The concentration, rather, is placed on badly attempting to capture an amazing set of moments via technology that should instead be forever etched in a memory.
As a result of the policy, we, the audience, were required to see and remember A Perfect Circle’s show with our eyes and brains. How refreshing to watch a concert without technological visual impairment—and to be able to see other people actually watching and enjoying the performance. Pure brilliance! We give thanks and hope that this “no cell phone policy” at concerts is the wave of the future to bring back the power of memorable performances from yesteryear.