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progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members.

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progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

concert review

Porcupine Tree - Sala Bikini Barcelona - March 15 - 2003
Along the years I tried to go to all progressive shows in my city, so I think I watch (at least one time) all the bands I like. But I´ve never watched Porcupine Tree on stage. I´m a big fan and I don´t to pass the chance of watching "In Absentia" tour. I tried to convince my Catalonian mates of progVisions in order to go with them, but they couldn´t because of different compromises, so I had to go alone. When I´m listening music at home I prefer loneliness in order to get a perfect symbiosis between sound and listener, but I prefer going to shows with the good company of friends because after the show I like to talk about it accompanied by some beers.

At 20:30 o´clock I was by Bikini´s door and there was already a big queue. I looked around (I´m very shy) to find somebody known but I hadn´t luck. I´m a Porcupine Tree´s fan for years and I consider the band one of the highlights of progressive scene because of a constant evolution and how they assimilate their influences with personality. I think Steve Wilson is a very clever and intuitive guy because he gets a high quality and a personal touch in all the projects he is involved. So I was excited because at last I was going to enjoy with that music.

Inside the venue I looked for a good place in the middle and near the stage. Bikini is a small venue but has good acoustic and, as happen with small venues, a good relation is created between the artist and the crowd, more than in those megashows where the stage in placed far from the crowd.

The technicians on stage (as always) put everything, one guitar here, one speaker there, and suddenly one guy with an acoustic guitar said: My name is John Wesley and he began to play and sing alone. A guy by my side told me:
- Hi, who is this guy?. I don´t know who is he
I replied:
- He´s John Wesley. He collaborated with the band playing guitar and singing, he also worked with Fish and he released a solo album
- He´s not bad, isn´t he?
- If you want you can buy his album, at Porcupine´s merchandising store
John´s solo show was plenty with power and I liked his voice.

After John Wesley´s show the technicians put a carpet in the middle of the stage and a background melody began to sound. The lights went down made the crowd inpatient. I still keep some of my adolescence in my heart and I wanted to cry out loud. My eyes were stuck in the stage as if I were watching the penalties in a World Cup final. Suddenly the members of Porcupine came out and the chords of "Blackest Eyes" began to sound as "In Absentia". I began to jump (not much) moving my head upside down.

I had a little block of papers and a pencil in order to write the set list and other details but from the third track on I forgot about it because I couldn´t write with all the people around and it was dark. I know it´s not very professional but I was there to enjoy the show.

On the right side of the stage Richard Barbieri was surrounded by keyboards. He´s a strange keyboardist. He plays some keys here, one bottom there, but his fingers don´t run over the keyboard. He´s more a creator of ambient's than a real keyboardist.

On the left Gavin Harrison (the new member) with a big drumset. I don´t know how Chris Maitland played but this guy is very, very good and he gives the tracks a brutal impulse with all the matrix of Porcupine Tree´s music.

In front of Gavin, Colin Edwin with his hat. I can´t imagine him without the hat as I can´t imagine Woody Allen without glasses. He´s a serious musician who seemed very serious. He´s not spectacular. I thought he sings backing vocals but he didn´t open the mouth. On the other side of the stage John Wesley (the guest) was very good with the guitar and backing vocals.

Steve Wilson was barefoot in the center of the stage. He´s a thin guy and not tall (I don´t know why I thought he was very tall) with round sunglasses that hide deep eyes, and with long clean and thin hair. He´s not talkative but he was nice when he talked to the crowd. He was more expressive jumping over the carpet. He plays with lot of personality and he´s the opposite of Steve Howe (of course Wilson is not a guitar genius). While Howe plays with the guitar over the belly, Wilson plays with the guitar on the knees.

The basis of the show was "In Absentia". "Blackest Eyes", "The Sound of Muzak", "Gravity Eyelids", "Trains" among others, but they also played tracks taken from the latest works "Stupid Dream" and "Lightbulb Sun": "Even Less", Slave Called Shiver", "Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled", "Hatesong" and many more.

My only link with the music of the band on stage is the album "Coma Divine" (by the way, it has been re-released as a double album) and I must to admit that I didn´t get the hypnotism shown in the album. Now the tracks are shorter and lost the magnetism and magic alive. I thought that the show was going to be more surrealistic and spacey. Anyway I enjoy a lot because all that music flew across my five senses.

Julio Fernández - March 2003


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