A Perfect Circle April 6, The Pearl
Pay close attention to the men behind the curtain. Just don’t whip out your phone—signs everywhere at The Pearl expressly forbid it, likely at the band’s request. Without that distraction, the artistry and haunting melodies of A Perfect Circle were more intently absorbed—and sounding at peak perfection—for their first of a three-night run, kicking off the outfit’s spring tour right here in Las Vegas.
Launching into “The Package” behind the aforementioned curtain and all backlit, the shadows of Billy Howerdel and James Iha on guitar, Maynard James Keenan on vocals, Jeff Friedl on drums and Matt McJunkins on bass appeared larger than life. Keenan, elevated on a center platform, remained the only member obscured by darkness (as per usual) when the curtain was removed and the band began playing one of their earliest songs, “The Hollow.”
A Perfect Circle is one of those bands that sounds just as pristine as their studio albums, all three of which—Mer de Noms, Thirteenth Step and eMOTIVe—dusted off and incorporated masterfully into the 18-song set. Though hit single “Judith” was missing from the setlist, favorites are difficult to pick and live versions of “The Noose,” “Blue,” “Orestes” and “Magdalena” could have only been improved had they been longer or on a continuous loop. The band also worked in some famous covers, with Keenan reflecting on America’s current turmoil before APC’s dark version of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Later in the set, Howerdel took the lead vocals on Elvis Costello’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding.”
APC closed by debuting brand new song “Feathers,” hopefully appearing on their in-the-works fourth studio album. But the band didn’t return for an encore, leaving the crowd disappointed and wanting more. Lucky for the fans, they can get their fix tonight and tomorrow.
Originally published in Las Vegas Weekly.