A PERFECT CIRCLE take Eat The Elephant to arenas.
WEMBLEY ARENA, LONDON Maynard James Keenan fronts a night of sparse yet mesmerising wonder
AS MAYNARD JAMES Keenan jokes that he’ll be busy next year – getting a pilot’s licence and baking if you must know – the realisation that a PERFECT CIRCLE’s brief but triumphant return is already over presents mixed emotions. CHELSEA WOLFE isn’t going anywhere but upwards, with every show further cementing her idiosyncratic charm. Though a two-thirds full cavernous venue isn’t the ideal place to experience the energetic band who perform while clinging to a scrap of the stage, the doomy churn of 16 Psyche is still intoxicating, while Chelsea finally drops to her knees and writhes around to Scrape after largely letting the music do the talking.
While his wrought vocals remain the focus on record, Maynard himself manages to remain as obscured as possible among the kaleidoscope of lights, with only silhouettes of his twisted forms visible. This allows
Jeff Freidl’s impressive drumming to stand tall while bassist Matt McJunkins and guitarist Billy Howerdel dynamically throw themselves around the stage, with the lanky
Billy in particular stalking like a praying mantis while conjuring those shimmering melodies that are the nectar of every composition. With the somewhat divisive Eat The Elephant material dominating the setlist there are inevitably times when the crowd’s enthusiasm dips, and while the now-staple cover of AC/DC’s Dog Eat Dog is fun without being fundamental, the sheer number of peaks from both new favourites and now-iconic gems produce the most prominent memories. The delicate Disillusioned revels in its beautiful keys and fragile empty spaces, while The Hollow and So Long And Thanks For All The Fish fuse the potent vocal and guitar lines into an irresistible force that manifests itself in every nerve ending.
Time and again emotions are jabbed and caressed by The Noose, Vanishing and mightily received The Doomed, while the sinister atmosphere of The Contrarian and throbbing electronic bass of Hourglass demonstrate a wealth of variety. Naturally the biggest fanfare is reserved for Judith and The Package, and Maynard is at his most humble and appreciative before a closing Delicious
- a welcome contrast after a surprising loss of cool at a missed cue during that aforementioned AC/DC cover. He lifts the refreshing ban on camera phones before cheekily exiting to a sea of frantically produced screens. On a night when a few empty seats and the briefest of dips are the only downsides, it’s a joyous way to bid farewell for however long to a very special collection of musicians whose sparse offerings and appearances are all part of the charm.
a Perfect circle prepare to disappear into the night once more…who knows for how long?