You get to the show and the band plays the new album, all four sides, all the way through. It's called The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway and it's got great moments but damn it's hard to take this all in, there's so much! You would either be royally peeved that you don't know the songs, or you'd be completely blown away.
That was the experience at the Roseland Wednesday night, where Porcupine Tree played the second show of their tour backing The Incident, a concept album that came out on Tuesday.
Now, I am going to be up front and say that I only got into Porcupine Tree a few years ago and only have the last four albums (including The Incident). I don't have any of the EPs, old stuff, or even Steven Wilson's solo album Insurgentes (yet). So I am not going to be able to do the show great justice by going through the songs they played and all the nuances, because aside from the smattering of stuff from the last four albums, I was hearing a lot of this for the first time.
What I wasn't hearing for the first time was the new album, which I don't think I will be blowing the set list to tell you they do the 55 minute The Incident all the way through, right out of the gate. Luckily I bought the CD yesterday and listened to it enough to feel like I could write a review on the thing. So I knew what was coming and was really looking forward to seeing the whole thing live.
But I have to give it to the audience. The vast majority had for sure not gotten around to buying the album. But they for the most part stayed engaged and paid attention. It was like those British shows you hear about back in the 70s when the audience were completely silent until the end of the song. The band seemed to appreciate it and Wilson even thanked us for the good energy we brought, saying they were really nervous the previous night in Seattle but felt much better tonight, in large part due to the audience.
As I said in the CD review, the new album is not as heavy as the last one, and there is more melodic stuff -- acoustic guitars and piano, and less thundering riffage. Second set, when they dove into some of the older stuff, all of that heavy energy came back on display. Drummer Gavin Harrison in particular was mind numbingly awesome. But if you even care to read about Porcupine Tree on this blog, I am preaching to the choir. You know what you are going to get, and you know you are going to love it. Go to the damn show, but you'll like it better if you listen to the new album first.
Look at it this way - In a recent interview with Wilson, he said he was trying to bring back the era where people listened to albums all the way through, like watching a movie. I mean, this concert was like going to a movie you had never seen before. The band took the audience on a journey and luckily it seemed most people were up for it and had a nice trip.
PS - I didn't take the photo, it was from this site. They asked that nobody take cell phone or any other kinds of photos or videos, and that we'd be asked to leave if we did. But I was about as close to the stage as that photo, which was a hell of a treat, as the place was about sold out, which means about 1,500 people, I think.