LIVE REVIEW: A Perfect Circle, O2 Academy, Glasgow, 02/12/2018
The cult status of A Perfect Circle is only enhanced by the band’s detached attitude to their fans. You can come to see them if you want, but if you didn’t they wouldn’t care and they’d still play a great show all the same. Which is probably true. Despite the band’s rare periods of activity, this is a band whose class and musicianship puts most other bands to shame.
From the initial brooding piano and drums opening, it feels like the band are creating a painting. Each instrumental flourish adding a new layer to a carefully considered piece of art. When it comes to performance, few bands are as effortlessly accomplished. A lot more bands generate a more visceral connection with their audience, though.
Every member of A Perfect Circle is incredibly talented. But other than the enigmatic Maynard James Keenan, who still petulantly insists on being shrouded in darkness on the stage, exudes any real charisma and connection to the crowd.
Does this aloofness detract from the show? Maybe. On the one hand, this band are about compositions and musical skill, performed with grace and startlingly accuracy. On the other, the spark that made the late 90s/early 00s music scene so vibrant…it isn’t there anymore.
To drag that metaphor out even more, if the band’s initial recorded output felt like it was part of that fire of exciting and vital rock music, the band on stage in 2018 is more like a candle carefully positioned to bring ambiance to the room.
It’s this ambiance that illuminates just what a self-indulgent band they’ve become in later years. Whether it’s the focus on new material, members hiding in the shadow of their own arrogance or their childish insistence of no phones in the crowd at risk of ejection…this band feels like they’ve moved from emotionally sensitive and confrontational alt-rock to indulgent dad rock wannabes.
There’s no denying this performance is great, or that this band aren’t on top of their game, but everything feels so staged and considering the real immediate magic of rock music…it isn’t there anymore. Which if you love every little detail of these songs is probably fine, but anything less than devotion will likely leave you as cold as the band’s metaphorical shoulder.
Written by: Calum McMillan
Photos by: Calum McMillan