Tool Dazzles Audience at Xcel Energy Center

Tool at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota on the Halloween night, Tuesday, October 31, 2023. (Photo credit: Jess Beck)

JESS BECK | Go Venue Magazine

Halloween shows are a trip.

A trick?

A treat.

From the onset of one unfortunate concert attendee who had done too much LSD before the show (and subsequently thought she was an alien life form who had to answer a phone call that was planted in her…um…nether regions) to some creative costumes, it was quite the trip on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, on Halloween night at the Xcel Energy Center.

Opening the set was a fella who goes by the moniker Steel Beans.

This guy is literally a one-man-band.




You’re not gonna believe this…

What about a keyboard?

Yes – this man is a legit family band wrapped into one human being. And although he looked more like King Midas (or Big Bird, or the Chiquita Banana mascot? The world may never know) he put on a decent set. I think it’s cool that artists like Tool are giving lesser known acts like him a shot when they go on tour, and I’m hoping that this is a trend that sticks around.

But let’s not forget the main course – Tool, the masters of all things enigmatic and progressive. Halloween 2023 wasn’t just a regular Halloween; it was a Tool-o-ween extravaganza. Maynard James Keenan and his band of musical wizards turned the Xcel Energy Center into a psychedelic wonderland. From intricate light shows to mind-bending visuals, they left no stone unturned in their quest to mystify and mesmerize.

It was a blistering seven song main set (which lasted 8 days – I’m actually still at the Xcel right now), followed by an intermission, and then four more songs rounded out the event.

Oh, and most of them played with fake noses, so that was neat.

Of course, Tool’s music is an acquired taste, like that extra-spicy pumpkin pie your aunt insists on bringing every year. But for those of us who appreciate the intricate artistry of their songs, it was a journey through uncharted sonic territory. The intricate time signatures, Keenan’s haunting vocals, and the band’s hypnotic instrumentals all combined to create a sonic potion that transported the audience to another dimension.

Oh, and at the end of “Fear Inoculum” Maynard himself came down to the front to throw candy to those seated nearby.

I would’ve grabbed a better couple of images, but all of us lowly media people were body checked by his personal security detail.

So that was neat.

In the end, Steel Beans and Tool served up a Halloween cocktail that was part trick, part treat. Steel Beans gave us the caffeine rush we needed, and Tool took us on a mind-bending journey to the depths of our musical souls. It was a night filled with snark and spook, and for those who dared to embrace it, it was an unforgettable Halloween in the heart of Minnesota.

As always, a HUGE thank you to the staff at the Xcel. We know that y’all are such a critical part of these experiences, and you working while we enjoy doesn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated. Everything you do there matters and makes a difference.

Here’s to many more musical tricks and treats in the years to come!


Steel Beans

All images © Jess Beck

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