A Perfect Circle Setlist
The Beta Machine Setlist
11/30/2017 Vancouver, BC P.N.E. Pacific Coliseum
12/01/2017 Seattle, WA KeyArena
12/02/2017 Portland, OR Veterans Memorial Coliseum
12/04/2017 Eugene, OR Matthew Knight Arena
06/05/2018 Stockholm, Sweden Fryshuset
06/06/2018 Oslo, Norway Spektrum
06/08/2018 Aarhus, Denmark "Northside Festival"
06/12/2018 Manchester, UK O2 Apollo Manchester
06/13/2018 London UK O2 Academy Brixton
06/17/2018 Berlin, Germany Zitadelle
06/20/2018 Zurich, Switzerland Halle 622
06/23/2018 Esch-Sur-Alzette, Luxembourg Rockhal
06/26/2018 Paris, France Olympia
06/29/2018 Barcelona, Be Prog! My Friend Festival
07/01/2018 Verona, Italy Rock the Castle Festival
Dark and doomed never felt (and sounded) so good—
Led by the always-enigmatic Maynard James Keenan, A Perfect Circle re-acquainted almost 8,000 Twin Cities fans with their previous material, as well as played some new music from their upcoming first album in thirteen years, to a fiercely loyal crowd at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The album started with an also dark opening set from The Beta Machine, an electric rock band formed by current APC members Matt McJunkins (Vocals/Bass/Keyboards) and Jeff Friedl (Drums/Percussion) joined by Claire Acey (Vocals/Keyboards), and Nicholas Perez (Guitars/Keyboards/Vocals). The band has been together almost a decade but has purposely taken its time with its music, self-releasing its first five-song EP, All This Time, earlier this Spring.
“Thank you for coming earlier- you’re amazing!” McJunkins said, looking at a full floor as Acey’s brooding siren call sang the title track. ‘The End’ ran sinister but fast tempo’d with an electronic drum beat keeping pace with the vocals with a sound that already seemed suited for a large hall. “If you want to join us, stand the f##k up” McJunkins implored for the closing ‘Pictures’ anchored by a heartbeat bassline and foreboding melody.
Known for his disdain of photography and cell use for all his bands’ concerts, Keenan and co. imposed a very strict No Photos, Videos, or Cell Phone Use Whatsoever Rule throughout the show, with the venue posting this everywhere- on doors, on each row of seats, along their digital scrolling signs, and via a repeated taped announcement.
Sixty fans were escorted out of a recent Reading, PA show and dozens more at the Mohegan Sun in CT, so the band was more than serious about enforcing this throughout the show, meaning no activity (not even checking the time on a lighted mobile) during the opener, the intermission, or the headline act, which made for more of a rapt attentive audience than probably otherwise.
With a sheer curtain between the crowd and the band, A Perfect Circle began their hundred-minute set with 2003’s ‘The Package’, the curtain dropping mid-song as Keenan sang “give this to me!” to a roaring crowd. The set was, and remained mostly in darkness for the show, bassist McJunkins and guitarist Billy Howerdel prowled out front as Keenan, James Iha on rhythm guitar/keys and drummer Friedl were each perched on individual round platforms towards the back of the stage. Keenan stayed mostly in darkness throughout, though his flowing blonde wig was visible as he swayed and moved about in the fog and black.
“Feels like we’re in Viking Country…” Keenan said four songs in, to shouts and cheers, “...which is kind of awkward to me… because being a Green Bay Packer fan, I feel like I’m going to get raped and pillaged” he joked with dry wit, “I’m from Michigan, what am I going to do, back the Lions?! … Ahh, enough about baseball…!”
“We are artists, our job is to observe, interpret, report- we are merchants of emotion” Keenan said, imploring the audience to start listening and talking to each other again, maybe also indirectly explaining the phone ban as well.
The pair of covers played were both turned on their goth heads, APC-style, as Keenan sang ‘Imagine’ and Howerdel took lead for Depeche Mode’s ‘People are People’. “Are those lighters?!” Keenan said as many went in the air (in place of phones) for the John Lennon cover, “…thank you, smokers”.
Musically, the band were solidly tight, having well shaken off any hiatus rust, with the versatile Iha switching instruments often as the song demanded, and in clear sync with Howerdel (no need to rush any Smashing Pumpkins reunion when he plays so well with this bald Billy, and with likely less drama).
The best was saved for the show’s second half as the audience was treated to three unreleased new songs, due on the upcoming 2018 release, ‘Hourglass’, new single ‘The Doomed’ and ‘Feathers’. In between those, ‘Counting Bodies Like Sheep…’ slayed with its sharp lyrics and anthemic scope and 2004’s’The Outsider’ blazed with Howerdel’s guitars wrestling the song back and forth.
After band introductions (and in place of any traditional stage exit for an encore), Iha killed a few minutes with a couple purposely bad jokes (“Where does a penguin keep his money? – in a snow bank” and “What can you wear that never goes out of style?- a smile”) before the band daringly closed with a brand new song.
“Sadness like a pendulum pulls us round and to and fro” Keenan sang in the closing ‘Feathers’ and fans of A Perfect Circle not only entered, but lovingly embraced the envisioned dark world, entranced by its soundtrack but also seeing a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, “Tell them well, we'll make it through” Keenan sang, and everyone gladly walked that path with him.
(all photos courtesy of the artists, unless indicated otherwise)
A Perfect Circle: No Photos
A Perfect Circle
A Perfect Circle
A Perfect Circle at Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul (25 Nov 2017)
photo courtesy of ejc666