Six years after they last performed together, the members of A Perfect Circle (including one new addition) reunited for a brief tour that ended in Vegas at the Pearl on Saturday and Sunday, and it very much felt like a work in progress. In other cities, the band played three nights, one for each of its albums, although in Vegas we got only two shows, with 2004’s eMOTIVe left out. That might actually be for the best—the covers-filled eMOTIVe is kind of a mess, and earlier albums Mer de Noms and Thirteenth Step are well-crafted hard-rock records with a bit of a prog edge. Neither one is quite enough to fill an entire concert, though, so these shows were a bit underwhelming even though the band’s playing was as strong as if it hadn’t spent any time apart.
- A Perfect Circle
- November 20-21, the Pearl
“This has been kind of our rehearsal time,” singer Maynard James Keenan said on the second night, and it did feel a little like a very polished practice, with the band running through its entire catalog to make sure everything sounded right. Saturday’s Mer de Noms show clocked in at just over an hour, with no opening act and no encore (the album was augmented by a cover of David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes” and a plodding version of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” from eMOTIVe). Sunday’s run-through of Thirteenth Step (also closing with “Imagine,” plus the band’s awkward mash-up of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Diary of a Madman” and The Cure’s “Lovesong”) went on a little longer, but it too ended just as the band was getting warmed up. The packed house didn’t seem to mind, and Sunday’s crowd was especially lively, singing along to every word of radio hits “The Outsider” and “Weak and Powerless.”
Keenan asked all the band members on Sunday how often they had messed up, and later guitarist Billy Howerdel flubbed the opening to “Diary of a Lovesong.” Guitarist James Iha told corny jokes each night during the band-member intros, and Keenan mock-complained about how much work it all was. The casual vibe was pleasant, but after six years, a slightly more substantial show would have been even better.