Last Friday, Lesley and I travelled through to Glasgow to see Porcupine Tree at the O2 ABC venue (previously known as just ‘the ABC’). This is the fourth time I’ve seen Porcupine Tree live (see my two previous blog postings, ‘Porcupine Tree – again‘ and ‘Porcupine Tree‘).
Porcupine Tree are at the end of the European leg of their current tour and on Friday night they put on a very smooth and impressive show. We had a great view of the band too, on a raised platform not far from the main stage at the side of the auditorium.
The first half of their setlist on this current tour is taken up by the entire set of tracks from their newest album The Incident. This is pretty self-indulgent but is in the best possible traditions of prog-rock and it was great to hear it played live. I’m not as much of a fan of the new album as I am of their previous album Fear of a Blank Planet, but the new tracks really benefited from being played live, they were much heavier with great guitar sounds. We were lucky to see the gig from the start though, Porcupine Tree came on stage at 7.50, very early for this sort of gig.
My favourite track from the new album is Time Flies – although I do think it’s a bit derivative and sounds like a rip-off of several bits from Pink Floyd tracks including the guitar riff from Dogs on Animals, multiple bits from The Wall, and the tone and theme of the lyrics from High Hopes on The Divison Bell – although a band could do a lot worse than rip off classic Pink Floyd!
At the end of the show, the band let their hair down a bit and displayed some jokey photographs on the video screen of members of the band from their embarrassing youth (including Richard Barbieri’s time in Japan). This was very unusual for Porcupine Tree – they are normally typically serious and thoughtful (some might even say miserable) prog-rockers, but they were in a much lighter mood at this gig – no doubt as this is the end of their current European tour and it was like the end of school term for them.