Wednesday, 18th March 2015
Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, the UK
Steven Wilson and his band arrive in Wolverhampton on the last date of the U.K. leg of his European tour.
The gigs are in support of his new release Hand.Cannot.Erase.
The band are the same as those who recorded the album, with the exception of the couple of extra vocalists on the recording who were sadly unavailable.
So for these shows we have Marco Minnemann (drums), Nick Beggs (basses, vocals), Guthrie Govan (guitar), and Adam Holzman (keyboards) with Wilson on various instruments and vocals.
A near capacity house fall silent at precisely 8 pm when the house lights go down and Lasse Hoile’s atmospheric films begin.
These are shown on the giant screen at the rear of the stage. The band arrive in dribs and drabs as and when the music requires during the opener, First Regret.
The sound builds to the full band by the time 3 Years Older kicks in.
This artfully arranged concert moves through the full Hand.Cannot.Erase album with, as Wilson explained, choice cuts from his extensive back catalogue.
He chose tracks that fitted in with the concepts evident on the new release.
Everything here seem meticulously planned, even down to the encores.
This, however, did not stifle, but rather liberated the band into giving us an evening of fresh and enthusiastic music making.
This was the sixth gig in the tour and the band are on fire.
The music and the images produce an audio-visual experience that really raises the bar.
The films by Lasse Hoile help to pull together the concepts threading through Hand.Cannot.Erase.
The films illuminate and ground Wilson’s current and past pre-occupations with the internet; the tension between connectedness and personal isolation, family and love.
The superb playing brought Hand.Cannot.Erase even more forcefully to life.
Every note played mattered; from the spoken word Perfect Life to the full on metal edges in Ancestral.
There were some spine-tingling highlights: the finger-clicking intro to Index, Andy Holzman’s synth work and Guthrie Govan’s guitar in Regret #9,
the head-banging Sleep Together, which manages to out do Led Zeppelin's Kashmir in its pounding groove.
It seems insidious to pick out these highlights when the whole evening was so fantastic.
A prog show par-excellence; intelligently thought through, with Wilson believing he can take the audience with him, on this musical journey into the dark heart of modern existence.
Hand.Cannot.Erase contender for album of the year? Catch Steven Wilson live and you’ll catch what will probably the gig of the year.
One phrase to sum it up – awesome and sublime.
Please note there are no photos with this review, as requested by Steven Wilson.
Pictures are available on Steven Wilson’s website.
3 Years Older
Hand Cannot Erase
Lazarus (Porcupine Tree song)
Ascendant Here On
Sleep Together (Porcupine Tree song)
The Raven That Refused to Sing
Steven Wilson Official Website
DPRP's Review of Steven Wilson's "Hand. Cannot. Erase."
Wolverhampton Civic Hall