A Perfect Circle

PH Live at Planet Hollywood, Dec. 29

While the seasonal influx of tourists followed the pied piper into the easily digestible saccharine pop-rock concerts on the Strip, the show everyone should have attended was A Perfect Circle. Surprisingly, the supergroup’s only show of 2012 wasn’t sold out, but one could tell those who attended were die-hard fans as cheers of “Maynard!” resounded. Preferring to lurk in the shadows as usual atop a riser stage right with a vintage microphone, Maynard James Keenan’s personality and vocals shined strong—hats off to the best live audio mixing we’ve heard in ages.

Although most of the songs were decidedly somber—including Billy Howerdel kicking things off with the cover of Crucifix’s “Annihilation,” complete with tiny piano—the band balanced out the mood with banter. “Seems like everyone’s gonna get all weepy; anyone mind if we tell jokes for a second?” Maynard asked from his corner. He took a few good-humored digs at guitarist James Iha, then thanked the band and crew for their help on the “long and grueling tour” and for burning the candle at both ends for hours. Approximately half the set included their unique twist on covers from their eMOTIVe album. Other standouts included “Weak and Powerless,” “Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums” and lone newer song “By and Down” for a kick to the emotional soul as only A Perfect Circle can dish out and rope you in. ★★★★☆

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