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A Perfect Circle performed a near-perfect show at a sold-out Kingsbury Hall Monday night that reminded us all how good guitarist Billy Howerdel and Tool singer Maynard James Keenan are when they get together.The hard-rock quintet, led by the duo but accompanied most notably by former Smashing Pumpkins rhythm guitarist James Iha, was a text-book example of how well dynamics can be used in the pacing of the show.In the band's 19-song, 90-minute set, the group used softer songs positioned next to sound-and-fury songs that amplified the emotional effects of each.A fine example was during the three-song encore, with two songs from the band's most recent album, 2004's "eMOTIVe." The band led off with the Keenan/Howerdel composition "Counting Bodies Like Sheep to theRhythm of the War Drums," which is an apt summary of the guttural, visceral nature of the pounding hard-rock assault. But immediately after that cathartic song, Keenan and Iha stood alone on stage for the gentle Joni Mitchell song "Fiddle and the Drum," with the only accompaniment being Iha's keyboard. It was a stunning one-two punch.Keenan is one of the most interesting frontmen and personalities in rock, although during this show, Howerdel was the "frontman" in the conventional sense, moving around the stage while playing lead guitarand singing occasionally (his tenor was a nice complement to Keenan's baritone, which is only second to Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder in being one of the most flexible deeper voices in modern rock). Keenan stoodnear the back of the stage on a raised platform, and while spotlights frequently illuminated the faces and bodies of the other band members, Keenan's face and stout body were just silhouettes throughout. But it wasn't as if Keenan was acting as if he would rather be tending his Arizona vineyards. When not singing, he could been seen hunched over as if a football fullback, with braids (presumably from a wig) dangling around him as he stood in front of a lit metallic canvas drape that covered the entire stage. When it was time for him to sing, he grabbed the mic on top of the mic stand with tension and power.Songs from the band's three studio albums are among the best recorded and performed in the early millennium, but what was most engaging during the show was the offering of covers. "eMOTIVe" is filled with covers that you wouldn't think a hard-rock band would tackle, like "Fiddle and the Drum," John Lennon's "Imagine," Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," Depeche Mode's "People are People," Led Zeppelin's "Whenthe Levee Breaks," Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love and Understanding," and more predictably, Black Flag's "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie." All were performed during the set, and with the exception of"Imagine," each song was re-imagined and deconstructed and reinvented. For example, Led Zeppelin's original song showcased the brilliance of John Bonham, but A Perfect Circle's version was more atmospheric and ambient a sound that many of the covers utilized. "People Are People" was almost unrecognizable, but illuminating and exciting.One of the more interesting moments of the show, from a logistical standpoint, came near the end of the set. Keenan, who at that point had said only four words ("Good evening" and "Thank You"), became positively loquacious. He told the crowd that in a normal show, this would be the time when the band would go offstage, wait for a few minutes, look at their watches, listen to the crowd give their obligatory applause, and then the band would come back onstage for a few more songs. Keenan said it was a stupid practice, and made a deal with the crowd: why don't we all just imagine that the band had walked offstage, and now was back, without having to waste all that needless time and energy? It sounded good to me, and the crowd loved it as well, in part because Keenan is notorious for being a silent and mercurial guy,It was an unpredictable ending to a great show at Kingsbury Hall, with acoustics that were great and a band that was great at what it does and how it connected with a great crowd. Simply great.