Last night, I was finally able to see Porcupine Tree perform live, at the Fox Theatre, in Boulder, CO. This was the best show I've seen this year.
I arrived an hour before the doors opened and was amazed to see that the line went well around the block. Not being from Boulder, I quizzed the locals and found out that this was highly unusual. They had played this same venue twice the previous year (about 6 months apart), but the attendance had never been like this. In fact, they said they had never seen anyone draw a line like this to the Fox. Tree's popularity is rising, this may be their breakout album. (The entire US tour is sold out!)
The venue itself was nice, good sight lines and sound. The only downer, it is a standing room only club. It did have one cool touch, they had closed circuit video, so you can watch the show on large screen TVs behind the bars, while you're getting a drink.
Another small annoyance was the merchandising table. It was run by some British man who was doing his best impression of the British Munitions officer from the Zulu movie. (Gawd, was he freaking slow!)
The opening band, 3, was from Woodstock, NY (one of my old stomping grounds). They were interesting, but not really my cup of tea. A Boulder local who was obviously familiar with them, claimed that "they might blow Porcupine Tree off the stage". They were good, but not that good. The lead singer is classical trained and plays Flamenco licks on a Steel String guitar. (I would probably have been more impressed, except for seeing Del Castillo 2 weeks ago).
Tree themselves were awesome. They played all of the songs from Fear of a Blank Planet and a good selection from their previous albums. Noticeably missing were songs like Trains and Shallow (which Steven Wilson claims the band hates), but they did managed to play Open Car and Halo. I believe that the show lasted for more than 2 hours.
The sound was stellar, and the other people with me although new to the band, all left Porcupine Tree fans. As always, the star of the band is Gavin Harrison, the drummer. My friend, a drummer himself, was definitely impressed. Of course, Steve Wilson, John Wesley, Colin Edwin and Richard Barbieri were all in great form too.
Bottom line, if it weren't sold out, I would consider traveling to see them again on this tour.