Wednesday, 5th December 2007
The Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam
Article By Ian Butler
Porcupine Tree are growing in stature and confidence as a band. They have far more exposure in the right places, their albums now even feature performances from individuals like Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew and Alex Lifeson. Their CD’s are now available in most record shops and you see the occasional t-shirt in the streets. Accompanying this they have made the occasional transition from smaller to larger venues.
The Heineken Music Hall is larger than the Paradiso and Melkweg in Amsterdam and it hosts concerts from many acts like Radiohead, to pop acts. Overall it’s a good size venue and the sound was relatively good. The down side is that I don’t feel as close to the band as in the other venues and it reduces my appreciation of PT. The venue is very impersonal for what is to me very personal music. For whatever reason for this venue was chosen it was still busy and even on Sinter Klass festival in Holland is no mean achievement.
If you have read my previous Porcupine Tree gig reviews, you know that I am fan and I think that they perform a fine musical spectacle. This concert wasn’t anything less! It was ‘business as normal’, superb musicianship and a varied song selection this time with songs from Signify, FOABP, Nil Recurring, In Absentia, Deadwing, Coma Divine, Sky Moves Sideways.
The gig featured most of the tracks from FOABP, opening with the mighty ‘FOABP’ followed by ‘What Happens Now?’ from Nil Recurring. SW explained that NR is not material not that wasn’t considered good enough for the FOABP album, but just conceptually didn’t quite fit. I am so glad they released it. The best surprises came via ‘Waiting’ and ‘Dark Matter’ from Signify. I think Signify is probably the most underrated PT album, very subtle spacey music and modest production, but it holds up as classic PT. The new live versions give them a fresh edge brought by a different drummer and second guitarist. I was at a PT gig once where SW said ‘we aren’t going to play the old material anymore’, I am glad he changed his mind.
‘Open Car’ and ‘Blackest Eyes’ are now staple favourites with the newer fans, everyone knows these, and rightly so as they are fantastic tunes. That classic SW heavy riff, verse, shifting to catchy chorus progression that just works.
An interesting rendition of The ‘Sky Moves Sideways’ was unexpected, with it being solo guitar and vocals for most of the first section, until it turned into the familiar structure of the version from Coma Divine II, which was great. At the end of the track SW shouted ”Space Rock Yeah ! “. It was great to see Edwin back where he belongs on this track,, playing fretless bass. My memory tells me that he moved further in stage towards the band, where by contrast he normally hides as far stage right as possible! This inspired me to revisit the Metanoia CD. The style is slightly different, with a funkier space groove, but the SW vibe is still there, all held together by that Wilson, Edwin, Maitland, Barbieri framework.
‘Trains’ and ‘Halo’ came out for the encore. This was the best PT set list I could have hoped for, shame about the venue, but then I would rather go every time than not. Another great PT gig.
Set List: (Not Exact)
Fear of a Blank Planet
What Happens Now?
Sound of Muzak
Waiting pt 1
Way Out of Here
Sky Moves Sideways
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
DPRP Concert Review of PT at Orlando, Florida on 3rd October 2007