Concert Review Archive


Porcupine Tree - Free Acoustic Gig

Monday, 16th April 2007
Fopps, Camden, London, UK

Article By Charlie Farrell

Shortly after 6 pm we were ushered into the downstairs section of the Fopps store, where the CD racks had been moved aside to accommodate a crowd of about 100 people. Such were the numbers and the level of the stage, unless you were on the first or section row, there was no way that you could see the performers most of the time, but the PA provided was rather good and the overall sound quality was excellent for such a makeshift venue.

There were of course loud cheers as Wes and Steven entered from a door marked "Staff only" and took their places at the front. Steven began by apologising that his poor piano skills meant that he had to bend over the keyboard in order to concentrate on his parts and joked that really he was quite shy.

Having purchased 'Fear of A Blank Planet' in the morning I’d only had chance to listen to half of it, but I instantly recognised the first two tracks off the album. The title track sounded great if a little shortened while the track which followed ‘My Ashes’ sounded way better than on disk. I love the way that Wes works with Steven and each time I see them play together the guitar playing and vocals seem to get better and better.

So it was here, with both tunes perhaps benefiting from the sparser arrangements and Steven’s voice sounding so much clearer and more musical. Steven made a slight mistake with the keyboard part while bridging between the two tunes, "At least its shows that its not on tape" he joked.

After a short chat with the audience, during which he explained that those going to see the band on their upcoming tour would get the opportunity to hear the whole album, they played a third new tune – 'Sentimental', during which Steven’s voice once again sounded superb. My recollections of the songs on the autumn 2006 tour was that they had a heavier darker feel, so it was nice to have a different perspective thrown on them, which will certainly make me listen a bit more closely to them next time around.

Then, after apologizing for not really being able to adequately perform the remainder of the album with just electric piano and acoustic guitar, Steven offered us an older tune. Huge cheers greeted the opening bars of 'Trains' which is clearly a favourite with many others beside myself. We were treated to a super version of the song before Steven explained that the show was over and that the band would be available on the top floor of the store to sign CDs. It seemed like just about everyone who was at the show wanted to stay for the signing session. I didn't want to hang around for another hour or so, so I left.

Porcupine Tree - Fear of a Blank Planet


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