But with that now out of the way, this was a great show.
As expected, Porcupine Tree opened with the fifty five minute title track and centerpiece of their great new album, The Incident. Hearing this thing performed live is truly an amazing experience. For me the highlight was Steven Wilson's incredible guitar solo during the "Time Flies" segment, but the entire band sounded amazing — in particular second guitarist John Wesley (who plays a crucial role in recreating this complex album live) and especially monster drummer Gavin Harrison.
Following the performance of the disc-long opus that is The Incident, PT took a short break and then returned for a second set. For hardcore fans who have seen this band many times, the second set was probably a real treat as it leaned heavily on obscure, rarely played songs like "Russia On Ice," for example.
For me, while I was hoping to hear songs I've only recently discovered like "Waiting" and "Sentimental," what I did hear was so good I quickly ran out of reasons to bitch. In the case of "Sentimental," the band went for the Nil Recurring alt-version of the song (which is called "Normal" on that E.P.), which gave Steven Wilson a rather sweet showcase for his acoustic guitar talents. Plus, I got to hear the gorgeous song "Lazarus" from Deadwing, which was another unexpected, but quite pleasant surprise.
From Fear Of A Blank Planet came a rather out-of-the-blue, and quite frankly rather oddly shortened version of "Anesthetize," as well as "Way Out Of Here." Not what I expected, but both sounded great. The lone song from the second disc of The Incident was "Bonnie The Cat," which to me seemed an odd choice — as I'd have much preferred to hear the beautiful "Black Dahlia" or "Remember Me Lover."
But if it sounds like I'm bitching here, I'm actually not. Not at all. This was an amazing show. In a lot of ways it reminded me of when I used to go to see Pink Floyd shows in the seventies hoping to get the hits, and instead seeing Floyd open the show with their latest opus, and maybe getting a few things I know in the second set. I admired them for that then, much as I admire Porcupine Tree now.
If this tour plays anywhere near you, do not miss it.