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Porcupine Tree - Arriving Somewhere... CD (album) cover

ARRIVING SOMEWHERE...

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.56 | 441 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

captainragamuffin
5 stars The review that follows was written on September 22, 2006 (whilst at work, trying my hardest not to get caught) and submitted on another forum. Rather than write up a new review, I decided to submit this earlier effort, as my fondness for this DVD still remains. Sure, the surprises aren't there and I'm familiar with the track sequence, but I cannot express how tremendous this DVD really is. As such, I'd like to share this review as a document of how I felt after seeing "Arriving Somewhere" for the first time.

------- Over the years I have received many CDs and DVDs in the post, and one of the most anticipated was Porcupine Tree's "Arriving Somewhere?" DVD. Yesterday it certainly did arrive somewhere - my place, and I was pretty darn happy about it.

I didn't scan the track listing of the limited edition packaging, deciding that I would experience the concert without knowing exactly what to expect. All I really knew about the DVD was that it was recorded from two shows in Chicago, and the setlists comprised a number of B-sides as well. This was a bold move, but one I was also rather excited by. I had also read some short reviews online from people that had received their copies earlier in the week, and there seemed to be some criticism of the visual effects used. I hoped that these effects would not negatively influence my own opinion of the show?

So in a nutshell, how was it? Well, quite simply, this DVD is absolutely brilliant! In fact, it is one of the most enjoyable concert DVDs I have ever seen, without a single moment of dissatisfaction. It really is that good!

The band had already set a high benchmark for studio recordings, with their careful attention to sonic detail, enthralling the audiophiles among an ever-growing fan-base. Thankfully, the same attention to detail has been applied to the recording of this DVD, with each and every instrument clearly audible in the mix throughout the entire hour and 40-odd minutes.

The visual effects, provided by long-time collaborator Lasse Hoile, consisted of concert footage and fragments of the imagery shown behind the stage, interspersed with grainy textures and random colour variations. With the quick loading of the menus, the very efficient rolling of credits, and the tiniest of breaks between songs, it added up to a rapid-fire presentation that left you virtually no opportunity to think about anything else but the imagery and music before you. It was like one long video clip, but with actually decent music!

My first thought when the first disc ended was that the experience was similar to that of being intoxicated at a great party. The day after the party, you try to recall the events of the previous night, and slowly build the memories back from the random images that enter your mind. Although you enjoyed each and every moment, your only lament is that it all seemed to go too quick. So too does this DVD, but perhaps that is part of its splendour.

Rather than provide a track-by-track analysis of the disc, here is a summary of the Highlights:

* Harrison, Gavin: What an amazing drummer! I knew he was good, but his performance on this DVD just floored me. He seems to be the perfect amalgam of artist and rock star drummer, playing with the deftest of touches one minute, and pounding out the most aggressive beats the next.

* Hatesong: the only track from Lightbulb Sun, and also the most surprising in terms of the way it is used to show off the band's wares to some degree.

* Halo: one of the coolest and grooviest tracks from Deadwing, brought to life in concert with aplomb. This is classic, and as unlikely as it might seem, it's a perfect candidate for a sing-along track, with portions of the lyrics emblazoned across the screen behind the band.

* Holy crap the audio is good on this! The drums are perfectly presented, and would easily be the best sounding live drums I've ever heard on DVD.

* How does Colin Edwin maintain his groove? What a cool cat he is, barely deviating from his position on stage, as he taps away on his 4 & 5 string basses, smiling with measured confidence.

* Helping hands: John Wesley is not only a great singer, but a great guitarist in his own right. He's kind of like what Butch Taylor is to DMB or?some other hired gun who helps other bands out (sorry, can't think of anyone but Spike Edney and Queen, so this is a fairly redundant point ). At any rate, I don't think the band would be quite the same without Wes, at least not in a live sense anyway. His contribution really adds to the performance.

* Him: To some he's a God, but Steven Wilson is just a man, albeit a highly gifted one as this DVD adequately highlighted. What else can be said about SW that hasn't been said before?

* Hanging back in the shadows: Richard Barbieri is clearly not about show, lurking to the left of the stage, playing somewhat inconspicuously, without much physical expression. You could almost get the impression he wasn't that interested, but clearly he's just a very serious and focussed musician. Seeing him smile and show appreciation to the crowd at the end was, for me, a highlight in itself!

The Lowlights:

* Lavatory yearnings: Why oh why did I drink all that tea and water before the show? Unfortunately I just couldn't hold out long enough and had to take a loo break before the DVD ended.

All in all, this was a fantastic experience, and I haven't even seen the second disc yet!

Without any hesitation, I rate this five stars.

captainragamuffin | 5/5 |

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