Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan has admitted to accidentally playing two live shows while infected with COVID-19. The shows took place just weeks before the world went into lockdown when Tool played a two night residency at the Spark Arena in Auckland, New Zealand, on February 28th and 29th earlier this year.
Keenan admitted to this during an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in which he stated that a doctor had given him the all-clear to perform at the shows even though he had lost his sense of taste the night before the band was due to fly from Australia to New Zealand to perform in Auckland. “I was just drinking water, hot showers, taking care of myself, hot tea, just trying to get through it and it sucked,” says Keenan. “But you didn’t know yet how bad this thing could have been. If I’d have known how bad it could have been I would have been freaking out.”
Tool didn’t want to let the fans down who had waited years for the band to return to New Zealand but did change their set so Keenan didn’t have to sing “the hard ones” which he wasn’t in a state to perform. The band played a nine-song main set each night instead of the 11 the band had performed at the previous show in Melbourne.
Keenan wasn’t tested for the virus while in New Zealand as the doctor didn’t think his symptoms warranted it, however, he was finally diagnosed with the virus after flying on to Hawaii and he says he has been suffering side effects ever since.
“I still have the cough,” he tells Rogan. “So whatever cough I had, whatever cough I got in New Zealand, like every other day, I’ll have a coughing fit for, you know, for 10 minutes, coughing up stuff, so I have lung damage from it still.
Keenan’s diagnosis confirmed with COVID aligned with the first person in New Zealand who did so on the afternoon of the first show, a time when a resident returned from Iran returned a positive diagnosis. The fourth person who was diagnosed was a Tool fan who attended the first show and later tested positive.