Wednesday, 3rd October 2007
House of Blues, Walt Disney World Village
Orlando, Florida, USA
Article By Jeff Robertson
To the land of Mickey Mouse came Porcupine Tree, an odd pairing to be sure but when tickets went on sale I made sure to snap up a few since this was my first chance to the Tree in the U.S. While the House of Blues is a decent place for a smaller show (500 +/-) with nice acoustics, lighting, and amenities, having three bars surrounding the audience, seemed to really increase crowd noise but you can’t have everything I suppose. Presumably, they want to keep the tourists well oiled. A full house was on hand and we settled in behind and left of the sound board.
The support act, Auditorium, was supposed to start at 8 pm but when the video projections from FoaBP started up we knew who was taking the stage and once they did PT they did not let up for nigh on 2 hours, including a three song encore. One note on the video used. For me it became somewhat distracting, almost to the point of annoying, that there was so much video being used. I attribute this to the editing style used, very jumpy and chopped looking.
As for the music, they roared into the title cut of the new album and while staying faithful to the original, hearing it live gave it even more power than on CD. The next cut was an instrumental, and the title cut, it turns out, from the new EP Nil Recurring that I was not familiar with. It came across a little rough, as the rhythm section did not appear to be in sync. The beginning of the piece had some unusual drum patterns to it that seemed to give them fits. They ironed things out nicely though toward the end.
At this point Steven Wilson welcomed us aboard for the night and stated that the band was going to do some different things that night. Synesthesia anyone? Not hardly but the addition of the two cuts from Nil Recurring reinforced the claim. They did not play anything from Stupid Dream unfortunately but more than made up for that omission. Wilson was much more chatty and animated than I thought he might be, adding to the very positive vibe of the night. He made fun of one person that yelled out to play a tune they had already run through by playfully teasing them for being late. He played barefooted but maybe he figured since he was in warm, humid Florida he would stay comfy.
The music for whole the night was outstanding. The new songs from FoaBP translate very well to the live setting. Anesthetize was the centerpiece, very powerful, very heavy until shifting into the “spacey” latter section. Way Out of Here was evocative with its accompanying video footage, this time the pairing worked well heightening the impact of the song. What Happens Now? from Nil Recurring was tight, you can tell it’s a cousin of FoaBP as some of the guitar work was similar to a section in Anesthetize. Dark Matter from Signify was re-tooled to reflect the bands direction today and it sounded awesome, much fuller and denser.
At one point later in the show Wilson announced they wanted to play two songs “that just never made it” onto the albums of the day. I could tell by his pre-song strumming that one would be Drown With Me from the In Absentia sessions. This is one of my favorites and the live version did not disappoint. I believe the other was Half Light from the Deadwing timeframe. The song had a really nice sound that actually reminded me of Stars Die with a glorious solo from Wilson toward the end.
Gavin Harrison’s drumming was very dynamic and he played brilliantly all night. Colin Edwin steadily held down the bottom end and Richard Barbieri was brilliant in his playing yet understated in his presence. All in all a wonderful performance by a band that knows where it wants to go and can take an audience along for the ride with them.
Set List (* not in actual order)
Fear of a Blank Planet
What Happens Now?*
My Ashes *
Way Out Of Here *
Sleep Together *
Drown With Me
Half Light? (aforementioned Deadwing outtake)
Porcupine Tree Official Website
Porcupine Tree MySpace
DPRP Concert Review of PT at Eindhoven on 26th June 2007
DPRP Concert Review of PT at Melkweg on 28th June 2007