Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Double Helping of Steven Wilson

Tour Announcement

After anxiously awaiting the release of Steven Wilson's latest solo album, Hand Can Not Erase, he announced the North American tour dates. My friends and I picked these shows because they were on the weekend, and within close proximity of each other. The shows were in Anaheim, and LA, on 6/12 and 6/13 respectively.

Band Lineup

For the European leg this spring, the band lineup was essentially the same as the Raven that Refused to Sing tour. The only person missing this time around were Theo Travis, on woodwinds.

For the North American leg, Marco Minnemann, and Guthrie Govan, also dropped off, because of their commitment to their own project, the Aristocrats. (I'll be seeing them perform here in Austin, on 8/21.)

The current lineup of the band is:

  • Steven Wilson - Vocals and Guitar
  • Adam Holzman - Keyboards
  • Nick Beggs - Bass and Chapman Stick
  • Dave Kilminster - Lead Guitar
  • Craig Blundell - Drums

I was already familiar with Kilminster's work, he has played with the Keith Emerson band in the past, and also was the guitarist on Roger Water's tour for the Wall.

Blundell apparently won some sort of drum clinic contest, and doesn't seem to have a very long resume. I will say, he is quite good, and certainly held things down.

Friday 6/12 - The National Grove in Anaheim

Even though Anaheim was only 35 miles away, we had to leave LA around 4:30 PM. With LA traffic, it ended up consuming approximately 90 minutes. I certainly didn't miss this aspect of LA, which I used to experience when I was contracting in Orange County 15 years ago.

The venue is actually at the edge of the parking lot of Angels stadium. So there were a lot of people in the area with baseball paraphernalia on.

Steven Wilson at the Nation Grove in Anaheim

Inside I estimate that the venue held somewhere between 1.5 to 2K. Sight lines and acoustics were good, and the seating was comfortable.

Steven Wilson at the Nation Grove in Anaheim

The concert started approximately at 8:30, and finished up two half hours later. The setlist was focused mainly on the new album, but also included covers of two PT songs. In all honesty, it would be very difficult for a live music performance to ever get much better than this.

Steven Wilson at the Nation Grove in Anaheim

Saturday 6/13 - The Wiltern in Los Angeles

Night 2 was at the Wiltern. It is located just a few blocks away from the La Brea tar pits, has a larger seating capacity than the Grove, and is an older building. Although we had floor seats, the pitch of the floor was essentially flat, making it a bit more difficult to see. The seats were also cramped, but I had no complaints about the acoustics.

Steven Wilson at the Wiltern Steven Wilson at the Wiltern

This show was actually streamed by Yahoo for free, and was on a somewhat tighter schedule than the previous night. The show started promptly at 8:00PM and finished up within the allotted two hours. I am hoping that perhaps it will be possible to purchase a video copy of the show in the future. As you can see, the setlist was a little different.

As the show progressed, you can see that my friends and I opted to go upstairs, in order to see better. Other friends at home were commenting on Facebook about how good the show was. I obviously look forward to more albums and tours by Steven in the future. (I'm just hope Porcupine Tree is eventually returned to action).

Steven Wilson at the Wiltern