Sound: The sound on this show was great for such a tiny venue. The Junction holds a little over 850 people and we were crammed in there pretty tight, though I was front row so I had a great view. I was right next to the bass amp, which usually would be a drag but this time was cool because the bassist's a really talented guy and we could hear it much clearer than you usually can recorded (and he gave us a banana, good man). The acoustic guitar sounded great if not a little quiet compared to the electric but I guess that's to be expected. Steve Wilson's voice carried pretty much perfectly throughout, which was great, and there was a little playing around with the crowd too (special 'christmas lyrics' for Lazarus which he read out but didn't sing in case the others bailed on him) which was nice. But overall, the sound was great for such a small venue, pretty much everything was as clear as I could've hoped for, if not better. // 8
Perfomance: Great performance, I'd never seen them before and they played a fantastic setlist, and brilliantly as well. The audience (myself included) really loved everything (you know how sometimes a band palys a aprticular song which maybe you're a bit fed up of because it's overplayed, or you just think is weak? Never going to happen with Porcupine Tree. They don't write weak songs). The atmosphere was sort've a cross between electric excitement and awe and respect, which is pretty much perfect. I can't remember the entire setlist because there was a few tracks I hadn't heard before but they played:
Open Car - one of my favourites off the Deadwing album and a nice fast-paced opener.
Blackest Eyes - one of the best tracks from In Absentia and followed straight into from Open Car because the twos ongs are fairly similar in construction. Flowed together brilliantly. And this was loud.
Strip The Soul - also from In Absentia, and again loud (when appropriate). Really wasn't expecting to hear this on the night but it came off great.
Arriving Somewhere But Not Here - masterful performance of this track. They played it in it's 12-minute entirety and it was mesmerising. Plus a few nifty little improvisations here and there.
Start Of Something Beautiful - another favourite of mine, and another very pleasant surprise. Loved it.
Lazarus - perfect. Soft and harmonious and perfect. Wilson's voice really carried on this track, which was cool.
Halo - the bass on this track was so damn funky. Another track I thoroughly enjoyed.
I can't remember all of it, but it was a very long setlist. They played I guess 4 tracks from In Absentia, 5 from Deadwing and 4 other tracks I wasn't familiar with. Because it was the last show of the current tour they had a pretty big encore where they played Radioactive Toy (which people had called for all night), the Sound of Muzak and Trains. I was really impressed by their touring guitarist and vocalist, who only plays at the live shows. Much of PT's work has multi-layered guitar tracks and they need the extra member, and when other abnds do that they're usually too quiet or just not that great. This wasn't the case, he was welcomed as a full-on 5th member of the band and made just as much a contribution as the 4 permanent members. There were also a lot of videos played throughout the performance which were really like promo videos for the tracks they were playing. They were very much in the sort of artistic, confusing flashing-images-and-swooshing-colours side of things, which if you like that sort of thing was really neat. Aside from that, there wasn't much of a set there because it was such a small venue. That really didn't matter too much though, the performance was infallible. // 10
Overall Impression: This was at The Junction in Cambridge, in the UK, on December 11th 2005. Robert Fripp was supporting, former King Crimson guitarist and currently solo recording artist. His performance was pretty bizarre, he played his guitar wired up to a bunch of computers creating very dramatic and subtle soundscapes. It was kind of hypnotising but you couldn't really work out whether you loved or hated it until you realsied that didn't matter because his performance was one of carefully considered and crafted art. Brilliant, if not a little confusing. This show was pretty much perfect in terms of performance. They played all the crowd-pleasers from past albums and the popular tracks from the two latest albums, with one or two rarities thrown in there as well. Great show. The ticket was 14, I would've gladly paid double that price. There were a couple of 'unfogettable moments' - richard Barbieri giving us a banana was pretty funny, and they also ripped on one of their stage managers for dumping his girlfriend for the 3rd time this tour. Some funny stuff. Their next gig won't be too soon, this was the last show of the current tour. But I'll be making every effort to be there next time they make the rounds. // 10