On Thursday, April 18th, an absolutely epic tour stopped at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park. Sessanta (or 60 in Spanish) was a special concert celebration held in honor of vocalist Maynard James Keenan’s 60th Birthday, which actually took place just a day before this San Diego show.  Featuring a trio of beloved alternative bands, Maynard performed with both Puscifer and A Perfect Circle, and brought along good friends Primus for the ride.   The alliteration in band names here clearly working out well for all of the marketing and merchandise involved.  This event was a who’s who of the rock music world, with all the legendary musicians performing together on one large stage. The trio of bands traded players back and forth on songs, and members not performing lounged on couches at the top of a massive stage structure.  All the musicians not performing were still having fun, eating cake, racing up and down on mobility chairs, and even playing ping pong to the delight of the crowd. The whole concert felt like being invited to a really cool musician’s hang, and was easily one of the concert highlights of the year.

The show was broken down into sections by band, with each group performing a series of their most well-known songs.  A brand-new song from each band followed at the end of the night (Kindred by A Perfect Circle, No Angel by Puscifer, and Pablo’s Hippos by Primus.)  The new songs were composed for an aptly titled Sessanta E.P.P.P. record, released especially for these shows. At the end of the night, all the bands joined onstage for a jam of Puscifer’s Grand Canyon, which is when the pictures in this article were taken.  For his part, the birthday boy MJK seemed pleased throughout the show, at times singing powerfully and commanding the Shell’s expansive stage, while at other times simply standing back to enjoy the performances of his talented friends.   Seeing all of these amazing performers onstage together, playing music together so freely and celebrating their friend was a magical experience.

A Perfect Circle started the concert off strong with a trio of “The Package”, “Disillusioned,” and “Contrarian” with guest Carina Round.  Her emotionally intense and haunting vocals here and with Puscifer were a beautiful contrast to Maynard’s powerful, heavy vocals and a highlight of the show.  Guitarist Billy Howerdel delivered his signature screaming guitar solos, and returning APC drummer Josh Freese (Now a Foo Fighter) was an absolute powerhouse and a blast to watch.  Primus followed with their own trio of “Those Damn Blue Collar Tweekers,” “Too Many Puppies,” and “Follow the Fool.”  Bassist Les Claypool sounded more heavy and powerful than ever, guitarist Larry LaLonde delivered endless cool and quirky riffs, and drummer Tim Herb Alexander slammed out a killer performance from behind a massive double bass drumkit.   Puscifer started with “Galilieo”, “Tiny Monsters,” and “Indigo Children”, three songs from different albums and eras of the band but all pulsing and powerful tracks that highlighted the vocal styling of Maynard perfectly.  The rhythm section of Gunnar Olsen on drums and Greg Edwards on bass sounded so powerful at this show, their low end groove was impressive.   All the bands and the excellent team for this show had the sound and stage dialed in perfectly.  And the impressive twenty-nine song set list for this show was unbelievable, featuring so many fantastic musical moments.

What an amazing concert this was, and a pleasure to get to witness up close.  As a fan of Maynard’s many musical projects over the years, it was incredible to see all of these bands and musicians all together on one stage at one time.  Watching their genuine joy at performing, hanging out, and impressing one another with these epic songs was so much fun.  Maynard, surprisingly positioned near the front of the stage at this show, seemed to be loving every minute of it.  It felt like the culmination of so many musical and live ideas he had developed over his career all coming together at once.  His primary band, Tool performed at the LA incarnation of this show as well.   One can only hope that this tour will be an inspiration for even more new music and fantastic collaborations from this talented group of friends and bandmates.  Happy 60th birthday Maynard! Here’s hoping for a Setenta tour in ten more years, we’ll see you there!

Photos and Review by: Alex Matthews