It was just over a year ago when I saw my first Porcupine Tree show at the
9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. That September '05 concert was quite the night to remember, because not only was it one of the best club concerts I have ever seen, but front man Steve Wilson also announced that they would be filming two of the following month's shows for a live concert DVD.
With this new DVD on the horizon, and some of their most acclaimed earlier albums, like Stupid Dream, getting the remastered, special edition treatment this year, I could not have been more anxious to see my new favorite band again. That all came to fruition when I scored tickets to their sold out show at the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia last month, only two days before the official release of the new Arriving Somewhere... DVD.
Arriving Somewhere... was recorded at Chicago's Park West on October 11-12, 2005, during Porcupine Tree's world tour in support of their latest album, Deadwing. The DVD takes its name from that album's epic masterpiece, "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here". The setlist weighs heavily on the Deadwing material, and its predecessor In Absentia, much like their last two tours have. Considering that my ears were still ringing from that amazing State Theatre show a few days previous, I could not have been more primed to fire up my surround sound system and check out this new DVD.
Chicago's Park West is a historic theater that was converted over to a concert venue in the late '70s. With a capacity of about 750 people, it has become one of the city's finest concert venues. For this show, the stage was backed by three huge projection screens, which seamlessly displayed various bizarre images from the mind of band videographer Lasse Hoile. Take a gander at his In Absentia album cover to get an idea. These projection screens have played an integral role in recent Porcupine Tree tours, providing some amazing imagery that perfectly complements each song performance. The 9:30 Club show I attended only had the one large center screen, so they either went all out for this recording, or the theater has its own screens.
As the theater lights dimmed to signal the start of the show, the haunting keyboard sounds of "Revenant", an instrumental that can only otherwise be found on the DVD-A version of Deadwing, pours out of the sound system as the band takes their positions on stage in front of an incredibly creepy video backdrop. After a few minutes of buildup, Steve Wilson straps on his PRS Custom 22 guitar and fires off the chugging intro chords to "Open Car", the ultra-heavy Deadwing track that also manages to blend in one of their famously compelling choruses.