All photos courtesy of A Perfect Circle
When I heard that A Perfect Circle was coming to DAR Constitution Hall, I had a ton of questions. The band has been on hiatus for seven years; Maynard’s been working with Tool, Billy Howerdel formed Ashes Divide, and the other members ran off with Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails. Why reform the band? Do they still have ‘it’? Are they going to ruin my positive memories of the group? I’m pretty much required to go to this, having seen them and Tool every chance I’ve ever gotten, right?
When the songs were right, the show was fantastic. These guys are actually capable of writing beautiful songs, with rich harmonies and epic crescendos that moved the entire audience. But their setlist was tragic. Out of their three studio albums, the setlist was weighted heavily towards 2004’s Emotive, a political album about the Iraq war that they rushed to release in time for the 2004 election. This isn’t just my opinion; it is objectively true that Emotive is no fan’s favorite album. It’s an album of cover songs! That means almost half of the show wasn’t even original A Perfect Circle material! That might be okay for a bar band, but not for a major group that’s selling out DAR. I can’t think of a show I’ve seen that defied fan’s hopes and expectations more than this one.