A Perfect Circle – [Live]

Monday, 29 November 2010

When A Perfect Circle announced that they would be playing three nights in San Francisco, and playing a different album in it's entirety each night, I was a bit torn as to what show I wanted to attend. In the end I chose the third and final night, where the band would be playing eMOTIVe, their album of cover songs. Knowing that they had not really played these songs live before, I was a bit curious to see how they would pull it off.

As the lights dimmed, Billy Howerdel walked onto the stage to a mini piano, and with the first strike of the keys the band delivered their haunting version of  "Annihilation," originally done by punk legends Crucifix. "Imagine," "Peace, Love and Understanding," and "What's Going On" all followed, and were all given a life of their own by James Iha's fuzzy, somewhat dreamy guitar tone and the pounding, almost tribal drumming of Josh Freeze. To hear A Perfect Circle's take on these songs on record was one thing, but to hear them live was pretty amazing. After "Gimme Gimme Gimme," Maynard finally addressed the crowd, saying that Black Flag probably never intended that song to be heard that way. He was right.

For me the highlight of the evening was not a cover song, but "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums," one of the two 'original' songs on the album. With Freeze's almost militant drumming, it damn near brought the sold-out crowd to its' knees. After wrapping up the album with "When The Levee Breaks" and "Fiddle And Drum," (the latter of which was performed by Maynard alone)  the band returned to the stage for an encore which was a combination of "Diary Of A Madman" and "Lovesong." It was totally unexpected, and a perfect way to end this very unexpected, stellar performance.


Raymond Ahner's photos from The Fillmore on November 18, 2010.

Further Reading:

Ground Control's interview with Billy Howerdel, "A Perfect Circle Begins Its' Second Revolution"

A Perfect Circle's catalogue remains in print. Buy it here on Amazon .

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