Over the Weekend: A Perfect Circle, Red Bacteria Vacuum at Verizon Theatre

A Perfect Circle, Red Bacteria Vacuum
Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie
July 23, 2011

Better than: seeing a cover band devoted to Tool and A Perfect Circle songs.

A Perfect Circle

It's one thing to throw in a couple of cover songs in a set. It's a whole other thing to devote a majority of a band's set to covers.

After taking the stage at 9 p.m. Saturday, A Perfect Circle unwisely decided to feature almost all of their reinterpretations of other people's material found on 2004's Emotive. Starting with Crucifix's "Annihilation" and leading into John Lennon's "Imagine," the five-piece received welcoming applause.

But then they played "Weak and Powerless" from 2003's Thirteenth Step, and the crowd roared. The enthusiasm remained high for a few more songs, but as the band chose to do more and more covers, an air of disappointment started to seep into the mostly full theater.

It didn't help that one of the band's best-known (and finest) songs, "3 Libras," was dramatically reworked, from the beat to the tempo and the melody.

Sure, the band rocked out with songs like "The Hollow," "Rose" and "Passive" (and they even ended the show with a brand-new, unreleased tune called "By and Down"), but they only offered a glimpse into how good the show could have been.

Maynard James Keenan sounded fantastic as he was tucked away (and unlit) on stage right, behind bassist Matt McJunkins. Band mastermind Billy Howerdel commanded the stage with searing guitar lines and vocals that perfectly matched Keenan's. James Iha switched between keyboards and guitars throughout and often led the transitions from one song to the next. And new drummer Jeff Friedl was a very capable replacement for Josh Freese, virtually replicating every beat Freese has played with the band.

Yeah, the sound was great, the band played well and the lighting was entrancing, but how did this all go wrong?

Well, the covers, mainly, which were more or less snoozy placeholders. The kind of spunk you hear on 2000's Mer De Noms and Thirteenth Step material was painfully absent. And the band came across as incredibly detached from the audience.

Aside from a "good evening" early on and thanks at the end, there was no interaction with the crowd. When the band readied their encore, Keenan provided some humorous commentary on how bands walk off stage, knowing full well that they're going to come back to the stage in a few moments. APC, however, stayed on the stage and played straight through.

When the houselights came on with the Bee Gees' "I Started a Joke," people left with a lot of sighs and shrugs.

Coupled with parking fees that started at $20 and a ticket price ranging between $30 and $50, it was not surprising to find people were yelling for more even after the houselights stayed on.

Though this was billed as "An Evening with A Perfect Circle," Tokyo trio Red Bacteria Vacuum started at 8. The half-full audience seemed to enjoy the band's metal-punk bubblegum and their overly friendly banter between songs. The band's appearance was a surprise -- and given how drastically different they sound compared to A Perfect Circle, it was a surprise the crowd liked them at all.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias: I am quite a fan of Mer De Noms and I appreciate Thirteenth Step for what it is. I doubt I would have had an issue with the show if the band included only a couple of covers. But come on, eight fucking covers?

By The Way: The soundtracks to Oklahoma! and The Sound of Music played between sets on the P.A.

A Perfect Circle's set list:
"Weak and Powerless"
"The Hollow"
"What's Going On"
"People Are People"
"The Outsider"
"(What's So Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding?"
"When the Levee Breaks"
"3 Libras"
"The Package"
"Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie"
"Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums"
"Fiddle and the Drum"
"By and Down"

Location Info


Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie

1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie, TX

Category: Music

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One thing that needs to be clarified, APC DID NOT PLAY ORESTES! Magdalena was in that spot during the set. Best song in my opinion during the set and was probably the overall crowd favorite, very well done.


Isn't eMotive all covers?

Not sure what your gripe is, this tour is in support of that album, all their shows so far have had this same setlist, maybe a few tracks placed differently from show to show. I was there, sec 204, row KK, seat 7. My first legitimate gripe was $20 fucking dollars to park. Then tack on another $9 for an adult beverage. I think I ended up spending over a hundred bucks that night between the ticket, parking, and a few trips back to the bar.

Red Bacteria Vacuum I thought were good with what they did, but I think someone might have pranked them by teaching them broken English to recite, as they stated with some of the self-denigrating banter they were carrying on with ("honishi-wa bitches", and, "buy our cd and t-shirt, we keep your change").

I'm not kidding, those girls really said that shit.

I have come to not expect much by way of crowd interaction with Maynard, he's reclusive anyway, everyone knows that. I did appreciate Billy at the end the band was departing, he seemed really appreciative, saying something along the lines of, "we will be back, in one form or another". I thought Josh Freese was on board for this tour, but then remembered seeing something about him hooking up with someone else and not being available for a few months.

Overall, thought the sound was great, the setlist was eMotive heavy, would have appreciated "Judith", or the original version of "Pet" not reworked as "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums".


It's being billed as the tour for their cover album. So many covers should have been expected. As for the disappointment and people yelling for more, I guess we were sitting in two different spots. Everyone around me were thrilled.


Saw them in either late 2000 or early 2001 in St. Louis. Maynard was front and center with long wig and rainbow tights. They played ALL of Mer De Noms and a Bowie cover. I let this show pass me by...


Not sure what you mean by "well publicized"...I picked up the tickets for the SA show the day they went on sale, and was severely disappointed in the setlist.

Would it have killed APC to brand the tour as The 2011 eMOTIVe tour, or something similar?...  all the other bands who play an entire album front-to-back at least give their fans a heads-up beforehand?

Am I missing something?

Ashley Killingsworth
Ashley Killingsworth

Detached from the audience, nicely put, yeah no real interaction, billy did do the whole i'm not worthy bow at the end, i mean it seemed like HE cared there were fans there, but all of them, have been doing shows for years, not every single show can someone come out all "hey guys thanks so fucking much for liking me" , it was a good show, i liked the songs, i wish there were less from eMotive but when the spirit in the room got pumped you could feel the energy, I spent $150 and I WAS NOT disappointed..202 gg seat 12...thank you very much


It was well publicized that the set was going to be cover heavy so there should'nt have been any surprise there.

I thought the covers had some very cool jam sessions to them and were more interesting than the "hits" which by comparison now sound way over-produced. The bass drum and bass liines were just rocking the place Saturday night and it's always great to see, I mean be in the same building as Maynard.  

Slash Lawyer
Slash Lawyer

Red Bacteria Vacuum:  "...and given how drastically different they sound compared to A Perfect Circle, it was a surprise the crowd liked them at all. "  Good for the crowd in Texas!!  

RBV is a hard working band who have played the US ( played and recorded in Texas) played in Australia and played all over Japan.  They are crossing the North America continent not once, not twice, but THREE times... in an ORDINARY van to play these dates with APC.  They really deserve the credit for doing this (NOT getting rockstar pay for this I am sure!!) every night and  YES! being friendly to anyone who sees them.  And while different, they really do rock with that big guitar sound! 

So if you see them, check out their CDs, and say "Hi" to them, they have been happily signing CDs and taking pictures with folks.  There is really nothing wrong with being in a rock band AND being friendly to the people who just paid money to see you!  So, good for the people at the shows in Texas and all the other shows that have checked them out!


Was there, It sucked...Went to the Clubhouse after and the first song inside was a Tool song, Least I got to hear something decent that night.


I enjoyed the show, but would have been happier with more APC music.  The minimal interaction didn't surprise me having seen Tool before and how Maynard is on stage. 

You did leave out the in between band music was The Sound of Music soundtrack.


Gotta agree with Darryl, what a hookie move for APC. Would've loved to have heard 'When the Levee Breaks' though, it' s a risky choice, but hey, if you're already covering John Fucking Lennon then chances are covering a little Zep wouldn't register to them as covering the uncoverable.


ha! the cover choices sound like a very bad night of karaoke! was that a black flag cover?


Those girls kicked some major ass. Hope they come back for a Palladium show or some such. That drum kit was really cool.


I didn't leave out the mention about The Sound of Music. Look at the bottom of the review under the Critic's Notebook.


Yes, it was the classic Black Flag song. "Thirsty and Miserable" was more apt at that point in the show.


My bad.  Should wake up before I start typing replies.


At least it shows the guys have decent taste in music. Half the metal and some of the punk bands I interview don't even know about the greatness of Black Flag.

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