“Sessanta” Celebrates MJK’s 60th Birthday @ Red Rocks

Sessanta–the tour comprised of two of Maynard James Keenan’s bands, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer, and Primus–kicked off its two-night stint at Red Rocks on April 25th in Colorado. Celebrating MJK’s 60th birthday, this tour is unique in that each band shares the stage for a few songs at a time, keeping the crowd intrigued and constantly on their feet (although it did make for some tough decisions on when to grab a drink or use facilities!)

The show began with an amusing video of MJK “advertising” Spam, and joking that the meat (?) is made of fans who violate his notorious cell phone policies. With the entire audience cracking up, A Perfect Circle took the stage first with “The Package,” after which MJK reminded the audience once again to keep their cell phones in their pockets. “Nobody wants to watch a concert with some guy and his stupid phone in front of them,” he declared. He gets a lot of flak for this, but he’s not wrong. “We want you to be present with us, so strap the f*ck in,” he said. “Disillusioned,” and “The Contrarian” finished APC’s first set, with MJK’s vocals flawless as always, echoing into the open air while a few casual raindrops fell and the wind picked up throughout Red Rocks.


Next up was Primus, which set off the dancing portion of the set as vocalist/bassist Les Claypool happily slapped his bass in the way only he can, while trippy visuals lit up the stage and monitors amidst a rising cloud of smoke in the crowd (know your audience, I suppose). “Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweakers” started off the mini-set, followed by “Too Many Puppies,” “Sgt. Baker,” and “Follow the Fool.”

Then it was on to Puscifer’s first set, filling the amphitheatre with mellow rock tracks “Man Overboard, “Horizons,” and “Indigo Children.” MJK and female vocalist Carina Round had the crowd captivated with their unique choreography and costumes against the stunning sound of the music behind them, bouncing off the jutting rocks on either side of the amp. Sound truly doesn’t get any better than Red Rocks, and despite the night getting even windier and freezing raindrops becoming more frequent, it made being outside worth it.

Act 2 began with Primus returning to the stage with “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver,” “My Name is Mud,” and “Jerry the Cat,” during which MJK joined Claypool on stage. Puscifer came back for “Postulous,” “Momma Sed,” “Bullet Train to Iowa,” and “The Underwhelming,” and A Perfect Circle finished with “The Noose,” “The Hollow,” “Weak and Powerless,” and “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish.” All of the bands seemed to be having a blast playing together, and I hope this could become standard for more concerts in the future. The crowd, unencumbered by their cell phones, was indeed more present and connected with the bands than any show I’ve been to, and it was a nice change.

The final act brought Puscifer back with the fantastic “The Humbling River” and “The Remedy,” APC with “Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums,” and the iconic “Judith,” with Claypool joining in. Primus came back with APC guitarist Billy Howerdel for “Southbound Pachyderm,” before all the bands came back to perform songs from the Sessanta E.P.P.P, including “Kindred,” “No Angel,” and “Pablo’s Hippos.”

The moment the audience was waiting for finally came: MJK announced he would allow photography and video during the last song of the night, and yet it didn’t go quite as planned. Something happened on stage that shut down half of the equipment as members of all three bands were preparing for the final song. “So everything on this side of the stage just blew up,” MJK announced. “I blame you,” he jokingly said to the audience.

While waiting to see what would happen, the members of the bands started singing random songs while Billy Howerdel grabbed a camera to take photos of the audience, and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to MJK. In the end, they decided to just play anyway, launching into Primus’ “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver,” with Claypool donning a pig mask, not letting the technical issues stop the fun.

While the ending was a bit of a let down, the show was an amazing blend of each band’s signature sound and it was an experience unlike any other. Sessanta has five shows left of the tour, but for those who can’t make it out, you can snag the Sessanta E.P.P.P. here.


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