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Topic ClosedPorcupine Tree- Melbourne, Australia 7 Feb, 2010

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Kashmir75 View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Porcupine Tree- Melbourne, Australia 7 Feb, 2010
    Posted: February 08 2010 at 01:19

Porcupine Tree- Melbourne, The Palace, 7th of February 2010

First of all, what an incredible concert. I have only known of these guys from Hemel Hempstead, England, for a couple of years, (they’ve actually been around for two decades) but now I’m a dedicated fan. I’ve collected all their albums. Word of mouth has been critical to the success of this band. Theirs is a story of hard work and passion for music over hype, substance over style, grassroots fan campaigning and support over haughty Rock God image. Decidedly left of the mainstream, they blend prog, metal, psych, electronica, and alt rock influences into an irresistible concoction with something for everyone. Indeed, the crowd for the gig ran the gamut from fans wearing Pink Floyd t shirts to those decked out in metal band tees (I found my way to the gig by following the guys dressed in Dream Theater and Opeth shirts. I was adorned in my Led Zeppelin ‘Stairway to Heaven’ shirt). And also, could it be? Girls (and not ugly ones) at a prog rock concert? I kid you not.

The first half of the gig was PT playing the entirety of their new concept album The Incident, which sounded incredible live. Even more atmospheric, energetic, and heavy than the studio recording. If you’re not sold on the new album yet (I’ve heard ‘em all, and I think the new one is among the very best), I urge you to hear it live. It may change your mind. The second half was a selection of material from their last few most recent albums. The setlist was as follows:

Act one (The Incident suite)

 

Occam's Razor

The Blind House

Great Expectations

Kneel and Disconnect

Drawing the Line

The Incident

Your Unpleasant Family

The Yellow Windows of the Evening Train

Time Flies

Degree Zero of Liberty

Octane Twisted

The Séance

Circle of Manias

I Drive the Hearse

 

(Break)

 

Act two

 

The Start of Something Beautiful (from Deadwing)

Russia on Ice  (from Lightbulb Sun)

Anesthetize (from Fear of a Blank Planet)

Lazarus (from Deadwing)

Way Out Of Here (from Fear of a Blank Planet)

Normal (from Nil Recurring EP)

Bonnie the Cat (from The Incident disc 2)

 

Encore:

The Sound of Muzak (from In Absentia)

Trains (from In Absentia)

I pushed my way to the forefront of the pit. I had a really good view of the band, positioned right in the centre, a few rows back from the front. I was metres away from band founder, chief lyricist, vocalist, and guitarist Steve Wilson. (The band began as a solo project for Wilson, the other members coming onboard fulltime for third album The Sky Moves Sideways). I could see Wilson was performing the entire concert barefoot, and could actually see his fingers working the fretboard on his guitar. He even looked me in the eye at one point. The band played tighter than a pair of 80s spandex pants. This was a technically flawless performance, the only goof I noticed was Wilson singing the first note of ‘I Drive the Hearse’ off-key and starting again. Oh well.

Special notice must be given to drummer Gavin Harrison, who was freaking incredible. He’s an extremely good drummer, his solos in ‘Octane Twisted’, ‘Bonnie the Cat’, and ‘Way Out of Here’ being particular highlights. He got a rapturous applause from the audience at the conclusion of the set.  (Harrison joined the band in 2002 for the breakthrough album In Absentia, replacing outgoing drummer Chris Maitland, a key turning point in the band’s sound). Bass player Colin Edwin (from Melbourne, Australia; a fact which went down very well with tonight’s crowd!) was also rock solid. Richard Barbieri on keyboards added subtle texture to the songs, without being too much in the forefront (he didn’t get solos like Muse’s Matt Bellamy or Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess). Touring rhythm guitarist John Wesley was very good, too. He should join the band full time (I love his vocal harmonies with Wilson).

There really was something for fans of all stripes. It was interesting to see. Opeth and Dream Theater- heads were windmill headbanging to ‘The Blind House’ (a very Opethian riff) and ‘Anesthetise’. Pink Floyd and Rush devotees were nodding in approval to wistful epic ‘Time Flies’. Nine Inch Nails, Tool, and Marilyn Manson fans were grooving along to the industrial syncopations of title track ‘The Incident’ and the tech-metallish ‘Circle of Manias’.  Muse fans were fist pumping to more poppish efforts such as the chant-worthy ‘Drawing the Line’ and ‘The Sound of Muzak’.  I love all facets of their sound.

This was only their second visit to Australia, and they were greeted by the ecstatic crowd with the fanfare of returning heroes. It goes to show that hard work, word of mouth, and dedication to the crafting of great music really can transcend the ‘mainstream’ and become a cult phenomenon. The audience were great. Very supportive, and cheering the band on. I remember yelling out ‘Lazarus!’ and ‘Trains!’ when they said they’d be doing songs from Deadwing and In Absentia respectively (unfortunately, they didn’t listen to the guy yelling out ‘Hatesong!’ and ‘Strip the Soul!’). I certainly hope they come down here again. My only complaint was that they didn’t play anything pre-In Absentia (except for the heaviest thing they did before that record, Lightbulb Sun’s ‘Russia on Ice’). It might have been nice to hear some of the older, more psychedelic stuff like The Sky Moves Sideways or Signify.  And where was the Stupid Dream album, one of my favourites by them? I guess a lot of fans discovered the band through their more recent albums, and they decided to concentrate the setlist mainly on their heavier numbers. I’m sure everyone in the audience had their favourites that weren’t played. It’s a testament to how many good songs the band has, really. And they haven’t officially released a live CD since the Lightbulb Sun era, so I hadn’t heard many of these songs performed live before.

I don’t really remember the support band, to be honest (local group Sleep Parade). They sounded OK, but the problem was I, and most of the audience, didn’t know the songs. I suppose everyone has to start somewhere, slogging around touring with more established acts. They weren’t too bad, but they did play overtime, which meant Porc Tree came on late, which meant I missed my train (ironic, considering ‘Trains’ was the final encore!) and had to take a cab home!

I think a fellow fan leaving the concert put it best, in a conversation I overheard about PT. (This may be slightly paraphrased).‘They do their own thing. They don’t wanna be just a metal band, or just a progressive band, or just an indie rock band. They take little bits of all of these. One day, they write this song. The next, they write another different one. They do whatever the hell they want’ Hear, hear. Go and see PT if you ever have the opportunity. Highly recommended. 

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progkidjoel View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 08 2010 at 01:28
Sounds like you had as much fun as I did at the Sydney show!!! We had the same setlist (in sydney), although Lazarus and Way Out Of Here weren't played, instead we got Stars Die Strip The Soul and .3.

Absolutely amazing show, I agree about Gavin as well. Seriously amazing in the flesh.



Great review!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 08 2010 at 01:37
My only disappointment is that it probably will be 2 or so years (until the next album) until I get to see them again. 

I have watched the amazing Arriving Somewhere DVD to death, and as great as that is, even that doesn't compare to seeing them live in the flesh. Awesome gig.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 08 2010 at 01:40
I agree; As great as the DVD is, being at a concert is just amazing.

The Live At Tilburg show should be amazing when that comes out on DVD sometime this year though, that should help for the next 2 or 3 years until they come back again
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 08 2010 at 03:09
Oooh, I almost forgot about that new DVD. I suppose I can take solace in the post-tour blues by looking forward to the forthcoming DVD and reissues. Apparently Recordings is being reissued this year. I'd like to see Recordings II issued on CD as well, as I'd like to have the In Absentia and Deadwing B sides on my Ipod. I'd like to give you my money, PT, I'm just waiting for more material to purchase. I've already got everything they've released! 

How was the crowd at your gig? I had to queue up around the block. There were tonnes of people there. I, and the band probably, was quite surprised at the huge turnout of fans for the concert. The crowd were great. They really got into it. I guess the word of mouth has been spreading since the FOABP tour. 

My Dad ( a PT fan) asked me what they played. I said ' a double set consisting of the new album, and a bunch of stuff from their more recent albums'. He said 'Did they play Fear of A Blank Planet?' 'No' 'Piano Lessons?' 'No' 'Halo?' 'No'. He said 'I would have felt ripped off!' The band aren't really about one or two hit songs. Pretty much everything in their discography is quality, so I was perfectly satisfied with the set. 

Also, John Wesley should join the band full time. His vocal harmonies with Wilson were great. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 08 2010 at 04:44
That post is some epic win there, seriously. I agree about the Recordings re-issue, John Wesley's inclusion as a full time member and the setlist; they basically could've played most anything and I would've enjoyed it.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 08 2010 at 07:32
Great review Kashmir. That set list looks pretty good to. I've yet to experience PT live, and I cant wait until I do..

Ultimately bored by endless ecstasy!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 09 2010 at 00:57
Thanks for the set list. The Sound upstairs was very good for the Incident at the Enmore in Sydney. I tried downstairs front right for the start of the 2nd set but the sound was quite muddy in comparison. All in all the band played well, no complaints from me. My only complaint is the same as when i listen to this band at home. Uninspiring vocals and a gloomy tone which was not helped by the low lights which kept the band in semi darkness. In short there was no candy floss ......no toffee apples ...............no clowns!

And to put my review in perspective, i found fear of a blank planet very dull and gloomy and do not understand that recording. In fact Deadwing started the decline which grew deeper for FOABP and has risen somewhat with the half decent Incident. Pre Deadwing is my kind of PTree.


Edited by Llewellyn - February 09 2010 at 01:04
Is it not written 'do unto otters as they do unto you'
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 11 2010 at 20:27
Originally posted by Blacksword

Great review Kashmir. That set list looks pretty good to. I've yet to experience PT live, and I cant wait until I do..


Oh, they're so good live. You'll be in for a treat when you get to see them. One of the best things about PT being in the alternative rather than the mainstream is that I managed to get a really great close-up view of the band, a few rows from the front. If it were a huge band like Yes or someone, I would have seen a few tiny dots on the horizon. Like when I saw the Who play at the Melbourne Grand Prix last year! LOL

My 17 y.o brother wanted to go as well, but the Palace gig was 18+ only. Too bad, coz he turns 18 at the end of this year. So both he and I hope they come again next year.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 18 2010 at 15:11
That's a fantastic review, and thanks so much for sharingClap

I'm glad you & Joel enjoyed the shows so much. Although I am still to be converted to The Incident (and, by God, I have tried), they remain a leading light in the modern scene, and that setlist looks amazing.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 18 2010 at 20:08
Some photos please
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 23 2010 at 22:16
^The venue didn't want anyone to take pictures, except professional photographers who were at the event, so I wish I had some to show you...Unhappy
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 23 2010 at 23:46
Here are some photos from the melbourne show on the PT photo blog: http://theincidentontour.blogspot.com/2010/02/melbourne-palace-theatre.html

Looks great; the light show was awesome and worked perfectly with all the projections at sydney, I'm guessing melbourne was no exception
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 24 2010 at 03:51
The light show and live projection films were excellent, and fitted the music perfectly!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2010 at 20:15
Great Review!

I was at the Sydney gig and would agree that the sound was great, and the setlist was fantastic. It was also fascinating to see the variety of fans there - there were people wearing shirts from all genres - I guess PT must appeal to a wide audience.

I also discovered
1. It rains a lot in Sydney
2. Sydney trains don't run when you need them
3. Buy your tee shirt before the set, because afterwards they've sold out!

Seriously though, can't wait until the next time!
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2010 at 21:37
^Yeah, shoulda gone to the merch desk before the gig started! Afterwards, 'twas all gone LOL

I missed my train home as well! But I didn't even care! I was so amped up after the PT gig that I didn't mind getting a taxi home! 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 16 2010 at 14:37

Thanks for the excellent review.  Brings back very happy memories of the Colston Hall gig in Bristol last year.Star

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 22 2010 at 01:42
They played the same (obviously for the first set) stuff in Houston with the exception of "Way Out of Here", "Normal" and "Bonnie the Cat". I think the Fear of a Blank Planet stuff was the best part of the performance excepting the chorus from "Drawing the Line", that was spectacular.
You can't possibly hear the last movement of Beethoven's Seventh and go slow. ~Oscar Levant, explaining his way out of a speeding ticket
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