Tool, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and more drugs

Caprolla Giovanni

Caprolla Giovanni

The Collegian does not advocate the use of illegal drugs. This narrative is meant to be a creative recounting of actual events and nothing more. Please do not sue us. Pretty please.

After the show as we drove past the same intersection for the fourth time, I thought to myself, one should have expected the night to be a bewilderingly intense extravaganza when one of the first comments of the night was “you rolled how many j’s!?”

Our group had planned on going to the Tool concert for over a month and two of us were at the Lewis Ticketmaster in Sioux Falls the moment general admission tickets went on sale. We’re fans. I’d never heard Meshuggah, the opening band, but it seems they’ve had a lot of publicity lately. We arrived at the Sioux Falls Arena at six, an hour and a half before the show began. Mostly, our group sat around in a circle munching on popcorn and drinking two-dollar waters; waiting to hear the musical mysticism of mushrooms.

We had each decided before the show that about mid-Meshuggah we would eat enough caps to get a nice body buzz, not a full blown psychedelic experience, but I took enough. The music and ‘shrooms combined were a bombardment to the senses that would kill an epileptic instantly. Things are still a bit fuzzy so basically all that I can describe accurately is the mood during certain parts of the show. One of the properties of ‘shrooms is an aura amplifier. Whatever the feeling in your vicinity, good or bad, you get it threefold.

Meshuggah sucks live. Bands like Sepultura did it harder, faster, and more completely over a decade ago. During the first song it was pretty crazy. I think the energy came from most of us sitting around for an hour or more prepping for a Tool show. The excitement waned fifteen seconds into the next song. I wondered whether they were truly trying to entertain us or if this gig was like the local Santa Claus who had to down a fifth of Jack for every chimney he got stuck in. I remember my friend’s eyes asking me if Tool would ever come and relieve us of this drudgery.

After the intermission, at the first resonance of feedback that any Tool fan would instantly recognize, an atmospheric inversion occurred. My whole world reverberated and I felt very small, yet strangely significant, a butterfly starting a zephyr. We fired up another Ball Park joint (they plump when ya cook ’em) and let the rhythm arrest us.

For the first half I stood just outside the pit directing traffic going in and out of the madness, ecstatic in my own unobtrusive groove. Wet with sweat like the fourth time in a night with your favorite nymph. After a good mix of new and old tunes, shiny red confetti floated down from the heavens. Unfortunately, I found out it wasn’t acid after I caught one on my tongue. Besides the disaster of not having any more hallucinogenics, Meshuggah came back on stage with Tool, and while some were still animate during the thirty-minute jam session, I started to get lost.

Tool played a few songs off of their latest album to end up the show. It seemed that most of the audience really started to groove again, but as addictive as Tool can be, I was coming down and so was almost unreachable. But the whole band is composed of immaculate musicians and it’s nearly impossible to experience that caliber of a performance without a sense of awe. And they did reach me again at the end. Maynard’s farewell was sincere and before exiting the stage, the band had a group hug. Right on cue, my stoned tail grabbed everyone around and gave them a big squeeze.

At the end of a trip combined with sensory overload, you feel like you’ve been up for three days with nothing but black coffee and cigarettes. It seemed normal to me that when we went back along the same route that we had taken from the interstate there was no on-ramp to get back on. Although we had already crossed that intersection three times looking for I-29 North, I was utterly content just to be alive.