Porcupine Tree, November 8th 1999
The Scala, London, UK

By Charlie Farrell


Well what a monster show that Steve Wilson and the guys played at 'The Scala', close to where I work in Kings Cross, London (UK) on Monday 8th Nov. About 2.5 hours of just great atmospheric music. They came on at closer to 9PM than the promised 8PM start and began by playing a short 8 song set.

Starting with what I was led to believe was Rio Tinto Steven Wilson announced that "This was going to be the second half of the Stupid dream tour - but we got bored". This led to Russia on Ice (a new tune) and a number of songs that were familiar to the audience, but not to myself. We were left to decide for ourselves who another new song, 4 chords and made a Million, was written in honour of before Voyage 34 closed out the first set after 50 minutes or so onstage.

It was great stuff and I loved the old psychadaelic light show which recalled the late 60's and 70's. Considering that I'd only really heard their first album, I was totally blown away by this stuff. They seemed to be able to involve a bit of lots of different musical styles yet create their own unique sound out of the mix.

After a 15 minute break then came and played for another hour or so. I'm less sure of the song titles here, since Steven Wilson seemed to assume that he was playing to the already converted and didn't mention many songs by name. However I was able to make out that they included Waiting Phase One/Two, Pure Narcotic and the set closer of Up the Downstair. Mesmerising stuff with superb musicianship from all involved.

Then of course they came back for the obligatory encores, Steven acknowledging that they were really just going through the motions of what was expected, with a certain amount of dry humour. They played Stranger by the Minute, something else - maybe Dislocated Day and then to finish, a killer, emotion packed Radioactive Toy.

OK - I'm converted now. I bought Coma Divine on the way out and I'll have to pick up the others as well over the next few months. Believe the Hype! This really is thoroughly modern, 'progressive' music - unique, emotive, challenging, catholic in its influences, heavy yet blended in a way that seems certain to win it a broader and more popular following. ... and Steven Wilson just slays me on guitar - more please!

Setlist:

Tinto Brass
Russia on Ice
Don't Hate me
Signify
Baby Dream in Cellophane
Fadeaway
4 chords That Made a Million
Voyage 34

Even Less
Piano Lessons
Waiting Phase 1 and 2
Pure Narcotic
Where We Would Be
A Smart Kid
Slave Called Shiver
Up the Downstair

Stranger by the Minute
Dislocated Day
Radioactive Toy

 

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