Porcupine Tree at the Fillmore

John Garcia

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Saw them last Fri. (the 13th
) and it was a very good show, IMHO. The sound was not as good as I expected, but I'll let that slide because the performance was great. Basically, it sounded like they had it cranked up to '11', or a bit too hot, and distortion was evident in the small venue (opening act also had this issue) at times. Still, they managed to get some great stereo separation from where I was. During the first song, Steven Wilson's amp died and we proceeded to wait patiently while they tried to rectify the situation. They swapped out an amp from one of the other guys and while they were locating a replacement for that one, Steve came out and did some impromptu acoustic tracks by himself, which I now hope they will see fit to record and put out as bonus tracks somewhere... (hint, hint). One of the songs was a cover of Alanis Morissette’s ‘Thank U’, and should I say it? I think I actually liked it better with him doing it.

Once back on track, they proceeded to play the first half of the show which was all new, unrecorded material. Just as Deadwing was an evolution of In Absentia, the new material is different, but still recognizable. Heavier and a bit darker, but still very soulful and melodic, this new material retains their signature lush, harmonic sound. The crowd seemed very receptive to the latest stuff, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. From what I’ve heard, I’d say the next album will be another must have.

They took a 5 min break and came back out for the second half of the show. It was what one would probably refer to as their “standards”; a collection of their favorite and/or most popular tracks such as Trains, Halo, The Sound of Muzak, and Blackest Eyes. The show seemed to pick up pace at this point, with the more familiar material really getting the audience going. I always enjoy when a band changes the songs slightly when played live, because it adds an additional dimension to the performance that makes it stand out from the studio versions, and the small variations in the songs here and there were nicely integrated. I was very impressed overall.

I missed them last year, so I feel fortunate seeing them this year as they only performed 6 shows in the US this time around, and to say the least it was well worth it to get out and see them. I can’t wait to hear the next album
 

Andrew Bunk

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Sounds awesome John. I'm dying to hear the new stuff but they are not hitting Chicago on this tour.

Maybe that;'s only fair, considering we got to see the DVD shows last year. I still haven't watched my set yet, but I'm anxious to see if I can spot the back of my head.
 

Ron Temple

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I'm going to throw in my $.02 since I was there with John and was just as excited to see these guys. They are truly great musicians and Steve Wilson verges on genius as a composer/arranger/mixer...damned good vocalist too.

I got turned on to this band on AVS bought the last 3 DVD As and the concert DVD, which in my opinion, has a truly great mix and musical presentation that shows how the band should and can sound live. Unfortunately, while PT was giving an equally compelling performance at the Fillmore, the distortion from room and ear bleeding volume, killed it for me. In order to appreciate their music, you need to hear the subtlety, layers with lush vocal harmonies along with kickass driving bass and percussion. All we got was about 50%. A friend who saw the LA show warned me to get ear plugs, which we did. This was Catch-22 cuz we needed them, but you lose so much detail. So I ended up popping them in and out. My ears are still ringing 3 days later.

The same friend also told me they sounded great at the House of Blues...so let's blame it on the room.

Even so, PT if you're reading this, turn down the volume. You could have lost 10dbs and still hit 130dbs average.
 

ElevSkyMovie

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Blame the front of house mixer, not the band. They don't know how loud it is. Many live sound people are partially deaf from loud music, so they crank it up even more.
 

Aaron Silverman

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{ahem.}


For about $10-$15 you can buy a good quality set of non-disposable rubber and metal earplugs that don't color the sound nearly as much as the cheap foam ones. It's a very good investment to make if you go to a lot of concerts.
 

John Garcia

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I hadn't even thought of ear plugs until we got there, because I guess I didn't expect them to be that loud. Fortunately they had them. Anyway, from previous experience, I put the foam ones in sideways so they just barely cover the ear canal - it takes off just the harshest of the top portion without killing off the top end completely, though still not as good as without them. I too was taking them out during quieter parts and putting them back in when they started hitting harder. I could hear the distortion even with the ear plugs though. I think the room was part of it, but it was mostly the sound guy's fault IMO.
 

Ron Temple

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Great news...so when they come back in Spring of '07, I'll be first in line...if they play at Berkeley Community Theatre, which is acoustic perfection. The Fillmore is out.
 

John Garcia

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Or the Warfield. A better venue for them I think. Fillmore shouldn't be out, but they should pay much better attention to the sound if they happen to play there again.
 

Andrew Bunk

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Well at the show they filmed for the DVD, the sound was quite good and I didn't even need the earplugs I had brought with me. Gotta be the venues, or maybe the PT sound guy having a problem with certain venues.
 

Ron Temple

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I've got the "Arriving Somewhere" DVD and if that's how they sounded live in Chicago, I would have been thrilled. It's what I was expecting at the Fillmore, but it wasn't to be ;^(.
 

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