That same reflex informed me that I should miss Lisa Gerrard once Brendan Perry took the stage, and again this impulse was misguided. My fears of Perry channeling too much Gordon Lightfoot were likewise unmerited. I’m not sure how the tour is structured, but on this night it makes complete sense that the artist with vocals gets top billing.
Where one floated in space somewhat with Guthrie, Perry’s vocals are strong and guiding, like the lighthouse on the cover of his latest, Ark. Supposedly the impetus of this tour, Ark tracks seemed to be almost an afterthought, with only a trio of songs from it inserted at the very end of the set: “This Boy, “Wintersun,” and “Utopia.”
With Perry’s commanding voice and presence coupled with the atmospheric washes and symphonic waves, all three tracks demanded rapt attention, and the crushing response to the closer was as much for its singular merit as it was for the whole set.
The vast wingspan of the setlist hit most of Perry’s artistic milestones, from opulent Dead Can Dance standouts “Severance,” “The Carnival is Over” and “Spirit,” a sublime cover of Tim Buckley’s Starsailor classic “Song To The Siren” (previously covered by 4AD vets This Mortal Coil) and the brazen inclusion of new, unreleased tracks “Icarus,” and the opener, “Tree of Life.”
These new songs were strong and not out of place, demonstrating Perry’s unerring confidence in his abilities as a songwriter. As a guitarist, Perry similarly knew his strengths, absolutely shredding DCD’s “A Passage in Time.”
Oddly, as the BPM of most tracks was only marginally above that of a narcoleptic coma, the 14-song set still went by too fast, and other than something, anything from his Perry's first solo album, Eye of the Hunter, we were left wanting for nothing.
--Chris "Gutter" Rose