There are few bands out there who have the artistic vision to create a 55 minute cycle of music and fewer still who embrace the opportunity to perform the piece live, in its entirety, as the opening to the live show, yet Porcupine Tree prove to be one of those bands, pausing only briefly after the opening number to explain their intent, before plunging headlong into a perfectly executed and timed set that utilised projections as a fascinating backdrop to the engrossing first disc of ‘The Incident’. Consummate professionals, the band rendered the cycle in note-perfect fashion, with mild embellishments and the benefit of a massive sound system lending further weight to solos and the monumentally violent riffs that briefly appear in key areas. Steven Wilson’s voice was on form this night, with added emphasis appearing as the excitement of the occasion took hold of the frontman and the whole band responded to the energy flowing from the crowd to turn in a mighty performance.
An agonising ten minute break followed closing number ‘I drive the hearse’ before the band re-appeared to perform a selection of choice cuts from across their mighty back catalogue. With so much to choose from, there were undoubtedly those who missed their particular favourite song, but the choice to include ‘Way out of here’, ‘Lazarus’ (which occasioned an almighty sing-a-long), ‘normal’, ‘trains’ and half of ‘Anesthetize’ as well as other key moments from Deadwing and In Absentia meant that the second half of the set was suitably heavy on melody and on the metal-moments that have increasingly become the band’s stock in-trade.
With projections, decent (serviceable rather than astounding) lighting and a fantastic sound mix, the crowd left well satisfied after a lengthy (well over two hour) set that touched on all the elements that make Porcupine Tree such a special band for their fans.