Set 1 (Hand. Cannot. Erase.)
3 Years Older
Hand Cannot Erase
Routine(with Ninet Tayeb)
Ancestral(with Ninet Tayeb)
Ascendant Here On…
Dark Matter(Porcupine Tree)
My Book of Regrets
Don’t Hate Me(with Ninet Tayeb)(Porcupine Tree)
Sleep Together(Porcupine Tree song)
Space Oddity (with Ninet Tayeb)(David Bowie)
The Sound of Muzak (Porcupine Tree)
Steven Wilson returned to Albany last evening after being here just last year. The difference being that the show has been expanded with “Hand. Cannot. Erase.” being played in its entirety as the first set. Last time, he mixed in other tracks and didn’t play one of my favorite tracks from that album, “Transience.” I was glad he did because the song sounded amazing.
SW pointed out after playing “3 Years Older” that he had a cold and hoped we’d forgive his voice. While it was somewhat noticeable here and there, overall he sounded damn good. He was relieved of singing lead on “Routine” and “Ancestral” by the incredible Ninet Tayeb, who was incredible. She has such a powerful voice and I loved how she got so into the music. She would sway to the notes of the guitar solo or a nuance of a drum fill. You can dance to prog if you know what you’re doing!
The key to the evening for me was the second set which featured some classic Porcupine Tree tracks plus 3 new tracks from the “4 1/2” EP, along with a pair of his favorite solo songs. It becomes apparent that SW is leaning towards being heavier again based on his fondness for “Sleep Together” and how clearly Porcupine Tree sounding “Vermillioncore” is. That song was so fucking heavy live. Even Dark Matter had more teeth live. Apparently, he had planned to play “Drag Ropes” but I would imagine with the cold, it was easier to sing “Dark Matter.”
“Lazarus” was dedicated to the late David Bowie since Bowie has a song of the same name on his final album, plus the character in SW’s song is named “David.” “Space Oddity” was part of the encore as another dedication and sounded great with SW and Ninet sharing the vocals. It was nice to hear older tracks like “Dark Matter” and “The Sound of Muzak.” It’s been 10 years since I’d heard that last one live. “Raven” was most likely cut at the end because of SW’s cold. That song has to be a bitch to sing even without a cold.
The band was absolutely incredible of course. Adam Holzman is phenomenal. SW even joked about how Adam is being taught how to pose for photos since Adam is a “jazz guy.” The interaction between this lineup is also a lot of fun to watch. Both Adam and Nick Beggs seemed to enjoy making drummer Craig Blundell laugh as he is trying to focus on some very tricky parts.
Once again, Steven Wilson proved why his popularity is growing and growing. He has the music and the talent. He also surrounds himself with more talent. People connect with the music on many levels as well. The presentation was the same as last time out, videos and lighting. It just works. It was a long show and a lot of fun.