When rock legends like Maynard James Keenan and Billy Howerdel stop in your town, you get your ass to that show. The band A Perfect Circle hasn’t released new tunes for about 6 years, and let’s face it, fans are getting anxious. The venue of choice for their tour stop on 08/01/11 in Salt Lake City was Kingsbury Hall. This is an opera-style theater. While waiting to get in to the theater, the surroundings and demeanor of the venue didn’t really seem to wear off on it’s attendees. I had a great time people watching, and was not bored at all. There were girls in shredded shirts, Madonna-esque neon dresses, and a few couples who dressed in outstanding taste complete with suit coat and wingtip shoes. Don’t worry, there were plenty of black tees and ripped pants. The venue was extremely strict about phone usage. They actually confiscated people’s cell phones if they took them out inside the hall. I knew with all the extra security and beefed up recording policies, that Maynard wasn’t messing around.
When I was allowed into the hall finally, I was told there was no standing and I’d get to crawl on the floor for two songs to shoot this band. I can honestly say, this was the most difficult, exciting, and nerve-racking shoot I’ve ever done. The stage was set up with fake explosives and bombs, complete with flowers “sprouting” from the casings. It reminded me of an old-west town prop. I happened to pick a spot in front of a mini-piano(I know there is a term for it but hey, I don’t know it). When the lights went out, my hands started to shake and the crowd cheered. Because of my spot, I was a mere 2 feet from Billy Howerdel as he played the mini-piano to opening song “Annihilation”. At this time, the lights were almost completely out, and Maynard was but a silhouette. In fact, the brightest it ever got while we were allowed to photograph was some purple lights, and a light burst, but that was it.
For the second song, the famous John Lennon tune, “Imagine”, the purple lights were going and I was a little more confident that my photos may turn out. Now at this point we could see that Maynard had on his sunglasses, and was rocking shoulder-length black hair, but that was about it. James Iha had a place at the keyboard, and Matt McJunkins was rocking out to my right. Billy picked up his guitar, and haunting notes and lyrics from the past rang out in Kingsbury Hall.
Before I knew it, my photo time was up and I was being kindly escorted out by staff. As I walked out, “Weak and Powerless” started, along with a beautiful ghostly yellow lighting scheme. This was my second time seeing this band, and this was a very intimate, almost holy experience. I was honored that I was allowed to be there and take photos, and I don’t think anyone could walk out of that show feeling like their $75.00 wasn’t well spent. If you don’t have the cash for this tour, find a way. Pawn that old guitar, mow lawns, walk dogs. Hell, make it happen. If you don’t go, you can’t possibly understand what you’ll be missing. Please enjoy the photos below.