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Porcupine Tree - Anesthetize CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.66 | 552 ratings

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5 stars Just my first impressions...

In full disclosure this is an early review after just one viewing, but what the hell? I felt like sharing. I've been pretty pumped to see this. Being one of the rare bands my better half appreciates as much as me, I knew it was going to be a fun watch....thus Steven will have to forgive the fact that I got really lit up for this viewing, something pretty rare these days. It was a festive evening, as it was for the fans in Tilburg I'm sure. Long story short, it's fantastic. I really can't find deductions to make even though I feel physical pain when I have to give 5 stars. That's a joke. Kind of.

So, the show is broken into two sections, not officially, but in my mind. Part one is a complete performance of the FoaBP album and it is simply stunning. In fact I think it bested the rest of the show which contained selections from the past. From the dramatic opening guitar lines of Fear to the finale of Sleep it was mesmerizing. Throughout the album's tracks the songs are punctuated by the thematic video behind the band. The highlight without question was the long centerpiece Anesthetize which features an earth-shaking climax, the band hugely powerful to these intense strobe lights. Some of the fills Harrison was pulling out had my jaw on the floor, every bit as great as watching Peart in his prime. Wilson is animated and in great spirits, the entire band seems exceptionally "up" for this particular gig. The second part of the show brings in some obscure tracks, some great choices from Signify and Nil Recurring among others. As clichéd as it is to describe PT music as a Rush/Floyd cross, it occurs while watching that the description is not so far off. Power and crispness combined with moodiness, melody, and spacey ambiance. Everything attempted here is pulled off at the highest levels of quality and to maximum impact on the viewer.

As good as the music and performance are, this show is put over the top by presentation. A more gorgeously filmed show you will rarely see. The 6th band member on the stage is atmosphere. From the video projections behind the stage to the striking lighting show the band is bathed in an aura perfectly choreographed to the moods and sounds of the music. Streaming colors and shadow work together as in the opening of Way Out Of Here. The crew captures it all with ambitious camera work and immaculate editing later, it is clear and sharp with none of the gimmicky visual tricks that distract somewhat on Arriving Somewhere. This presentation is all about capturing the personalities of the players and the themes of the songs. Flawless work. The sound is also as good as it gets, clear and powerful at high volume---I pushed my system way beyond where I usually go, and while my ears lost some hit points, it was worth it. This is a "rock show" packed with immediacy and power and I suspect it may win over some of those PT skeptics who complain the band doesn't connect emotionally with them. Some feel the band's best days are behind them, but this document shows me a band still capable of great work, something I can't say about some of the other prog or rock giants when they were 20 years into their career. At that point in their journey, Yes were giving us "Love Will Find a Way." Ouch.

This is admittedly a pretty fluff review short on specifics, but I can't help gushing a bit about first impressions. I'll probably revisit and revise this to discuss the music more after repeated viewings, but I had to help get the word out that this is the video event of the summer. Some folks don't get into DVDs as much as albums but for those of us who love watching prog-rock in the living room, this is essential. I can only hope they do the same for The Incident tour. The only thing lacking perhaps is extras, the standard versions contains only the show. Does this title risk becoming one of the over-hyped releases fanboys will keep on the front page for a while? Sure, but if my first impression holds up, this one ain't hype.

Finnforest | 5/5 |


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