JANUARY 2011, E.V.

With the lack of updates from my supposedly crack crew of embedded reporters (Aaron!), it now appears – I mean, I reckon – that I should have gone to at least some of the BDO dates and Tool sideshows so that I could give readers a taste of the experience. Unfortunately, with the team of engineers at ILC DOVER getting off like a heard of old turtles, my specially designed Aussie Extravehicular Mobility Unit (AEMU) was “still in the works.” And without any protective clobber, there’s no way that I was going to subject myself to the elements beyond the black stump, and of course I’m talking about paralysis ticks, dingos and funnel-webs, not to mention mozzies, bitzers, and blowies. Therefore, with the absence of actual accounts from those with the proper credentials, a little astral projection on my part will have to suffice for those interested in hearing about the wingding in the lucky country…

Here we go, just a peep through the fly-wire…


Drug-sniffing dogs, ear-bashing crowds of twanged-out sandgropers chugging beer… aroma from stalls of burger-rings, satay-sticks, mystery bags and chicken rolls… Teens rolling on tablets of MDMA smuggled in tucker-bags full of Cheezels and Pollywaffles… Disorderly behavior … glistening white pointers… tattooed Banana Benders… Gobsmacked Yobbos doing the Aussie salute as Rammstein takes the stage … Starbucks… Jambucks… muckamucks… worshipping dazzling opto-kinetic sculptures… Chocolate Crackles, Freddo Frogs and Violet Crumble… Sheilas in their frilly grundies taken away in ambos whilst trippin’ on acid-laced Tropical-Sno… A bushman’s hanky… More drug-sniffing dogs… Canadian tourists (G’day) dipping Mackey’s fries into tomato sauce!.. That can’t be right, mate... Who opened their lunch!..

So it looks like the closest I’m going to get to the rip snorter of a festival in all its ridgy-didge vividity is Tool’s final rehearsal on a sound stage in… Burbank… California, with only myself, LaraLee, and some bloke named Joe as the band’s enthusiastic crowd. That’s right - no mosh pits, crowd surfing or circle dancing. No revelers in day-glow paint smoking mull and licking icy poles. Not even a silver esky filled with Fosters. (Oddly enough, however, there was a drug-sniffing dog.) To get acclimated for the tour Down Under, someone had brought in curb-side takeaway from the nearest OutBack Steakhouse. Yep, there were containers of “Aussie-Tizers”, including “Kookaburra wings”, the ubiquitous “Bloomin’ Onions”, and even some Mac ‘A’ Roo ‘N’ Cheese from the “Joey” menu. Hell, with all their brass razoo, the tall poppies had even ordered the babyback ribs and Gold Coast grilled coconut shrimp on the Barbie. All that was missing for this ‘dress rehearsal’ was a half dozen or so Huntsmen on the walls. Will someone please pass me a Mr. Pipp,..

That’s when Maynard entered the room, wasting little time before shooting his audience of three a look of mock-disgust. He then slowly walked over to the table in front of us and, with one continuous sweep of his arm, took great delight in knocking over the dozen plastic bottles of water that had been placed there. He then picked up one, turned his back and stepped up onto the stage. Undaunted, Joe picked up the remaining 11 bottles and arranged them on the table like bowling pins. I suppose the carny in him came out, because he then shouted to the Tool singer that he bet he couldn’t knock them all over with his one bottle. With a deadpan expression, Maynard returned to the table and quickly knocked them all over with the bottle HELD in his hand. Glad I didn’t lay down any alfalfa on that one!

Finally, all of the band members were on the stage. As the “Walkabout Soup of the Day” started to get cold, lit by only a few bog-standard colored lights, they opened with “Aenema” (Surely they wouldn’t play that – what with the recent floods in Australia). Next was “Flood” (okay…) After what seemed liked ten minutes of fuses being changed, knobs turned, and pedalboards inspected (and me dryer than a dead dingo’sa donger), they gave “Jambi” a go. Wow! Applause from six hands after that one. And then it got quieter than a Bachelor’s and Spinster’s Ball in Betoota. Obviously the Bloomin’ Onions got colder, and I reckoned the dedicated bloomologist at OutBack would be madder than a cut snake.

Making some adjustments to his Mandala pads, as well as fiddling with the dials of an EMS Synthi AKS, Danny nodded that he was ready. Were they going to play a cover of Pink Floyd’s “On The Run?” No, they launched into “Stinkfist.” As the guys went through the motions on this one, drum-tech Harris seemed equally bored shitless (he’s only been working on Danny’s kit for three months now). Serving as the only special effect of the show, he deftly flew TWO remote control toy helicopters, at one point buzzing Danny who smiled his approval while crashing myriad cymbals…

After this tune was over, I watched Maynard put on a clean white paper Krispy Kreme donut hat. Were they going to play “Rosetta Stoned”, I wondered? No, I was wrong again. It turned out to be “Schism”, with the now familiar much speeded up middle section. Good!, because the Tassles Buffalo strips were getting hard, and if there was any “Spotted Dog Sundae” in that sack, well, you can just imagine…

At the start of “Intension”, a runner ‘walked’ up and handed Maynard a FED-X package. Carefully opening it, the singer pulled out a spiffy new backpack. Make that two spiffy new backpacks, each which could be cleverly folded and crumpled into a small ball, something he proudly demonstrated to his captivated audience… With my disgustipated eyes glued to the Bloomin’ Onions, “Intension” ended. After stopping for a while to adjust some delay settings, as I looked around for any glistening white pointers, Adam and Justin began the synched intro to “Lateralus.” Of course there weren’t any complex grids of lasers in this place, and there’s definitely no “Cubatron” on the grounds to be hypnotized by, but, nevertheless, it sounded great, especially the always dramatic conclusion.

After the Peach cover “You Lied”, the band finally took a break. Although believing that the guys would probably finish up with “Third Eye”, I had to leave for a radio show in which I was to be the guest that evening. So I really don’t know what they played. Possibly it was “Ticks and Leeches”, dedicated by Maynard in our honor? Hooroo! Sadly, that’s my report of the BDO. What’s the telly for Qantas?..



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