A Perfect Circle returned to the Avalon in Hollywood last night for the second night of their three-show stint in town, this time to run through Thirteenth Step, the band’s second album.
It’s almost as if APC had read the previous night’s critiques and decided to show up all the skeptics by pushing themselves far further than they had for the Mer De Noms performance. By all accounts, the performance completely eclipsed Monday’s show, with frontman Maynard James Keenan particularly driven to put his best foot forward.
The reclusive frontman, who had been reserved and casual in his participation Monday, gave himself entirely to the music last night, hitting all the right notes. His invested participation made all the difference, and the audience’s connection to the music was palpably real as a result, rather than cheering for the enigmatic singer to actually hit the notes. Sure, Keenan lost his way temporarily in the second verse to The Outsider, but the crowd’s enthusiastic singing helped him pick up where he trailed off.
The material also saw greater improvisation than the previous night’s performance. Extended jams and unexpected silence-drops (particularly after the “What am I to do with all this silence?” line in A Stranger), made for slight flavor changes that the fans, rabid for any sign of new material, relished.
Former bandmate (and current Queens of the Stone Age axeman) Troy Van Leeuwen joined APC onstage for the second night in a row, this time playing a stirring rendition of Massive Attack’s remix of Three Libras. An awkward-laugh moment arrived via drummer Josh Freese, who played the drum intro to QOTSA’s Feel Good Hit of the Summer as Troy took the stage.
The band again closed with a haunting cover of Lennon’s Imagine, which we heard again tonight.