Tool. March 4 2014. Spokane Arena. When I read those words back in January, I was ecstatic. You see, I’m an older college student. I graduated high school in 1999, just a few years after Tool was formed. Tool was formed in Los Angeles in 1990, and its members include drummer Danny Carey, guitarist Adam Jones, and vocalist Maynard James Keenan. Justin Chancellor has been the band’s bassist since 1995, replacing original bassist Paul D’Amour. Tool has won three Grammy Awards, performed worldwide tours, and produced chart topping albums in several countries. I’ve been to the midnight release for three of those albums.
When I read that they were going on their first tour in years, and that the first show of the tour was right here in Spokane, I did what any aspiring photojournalist would do- I emailed the band’s management company explaining my position and requested a photo pass for the show.
Days went by with no response. Days turned into weeks. Then it happened. I got the reply back from Tool’s management. They could not authorize any press passes, but forwarded my message to a woman at RCA Records who might be able to help me out. Then it came, the response from RCA. “Apologies for the late response. Will get back to you closer to the date of the show,” it said. That was January 28. Three more weeks went by. The outlook for a Tool press pass was looking grim- three weeks until the show and still no reply back from the lady at RCA.
Then I got another email from her on February 20. “Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate an interview this time around, however I will get back to you about a photo pass closer to the date of the show.” Disappointing but not surprising. Not all hope was lost. Another week passed. By this time the show was only five days away and I still didn’t know if I was approved for a photo pass.
February 28, Another email from RCA came. “Hey,” it said. “ In order to shoot the Tool show I will need a signed copy of this photo release. Once we have a signed copy of this form I can send it to management for approval and will provide you with further confirmation.” I printed out that form, signed it and sent it right back.
Four more days go by. It’s the day of the show and the RCA lady never wrote back with confirmation. Then it happened. My phone alerted me to a new email. it was the lady from RCA records. “Yes! Apologies for the delay,” the email read. “You are approved to shoot the first song from the stage pit, no flash…Thanks Beau, enjoy the show!” I started dancing around like a fool. I was going to photograph one of my favorite bands ever.
March 4. I can’t believe this is even happening. I found the nearest security guard and told them I was there to pick up a photo pass. They took me to the will call booth where more papers needed to be signed, and then I was given my Tool photo pass. The security guard then had me follow her to the security office where I could stash my camera bag, and there were some formalities to discuss. I was led through the inner sanctums of the Spokane Arena so we could avoid the thousands of people that were crowding the halls.
The security guard then proceeded to tell me how this was going to go. We would be taken out to the stage pit for the first song, and then we would get taken back to the security office. Then came the words that made me feel nauseated: “If you don’t have a ticket, you gotta leave after the first song.” What in the hell?! The lady at RCA said enjoy the show! No time to argue. It was time.
I was led out through the crowd of thousands of fans down to the stage pit. “Holy shit. This is happening.” I thought. The lights went out. The crowd went wild. The next thing I knew, one of my favorite bands of all time was playing right in front of me! They opened their set with “Hooker With a Penis.” I took photos like crazy. The rumors are true, Maynard likes to hang back in the shadows and make it hard to get photos of him. Then the song ended and I was ushered back to the security office. I put my camera away, grabbed my bag and headed out the door. As bummed as I was for missing the rest of the show, I still had a huge grin for the rest of the night.