Anesthetize [DVD] review by Porcupine Tree

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: May 20, 2010
  • Sound: 9
  • Content: 7
  • Production Quality: 10
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.5 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.8 (36 votes)
Porcupine Tree: Anesthetize [DVD]
2

Sound — 9
The always-engaging and genre-defying Porcupine Tree has released its 2nd live DVD Anesthetize, which was filmed back in 2008 in Tilburg, Netherlands. With over two hours of solid music covering a good deal from the Signify era and onward, Anesthetize does not skimp in terms of quantity. It's a fairly hypnotizing concert film, but that's to be expected from a band that has been pigeonholed everywhere from the trance genre to progressive rock. The main issue comes down to the lack of extras, but if you're a dedicated fan of Porcupine Tree, the 16-set (which doesn't include the hypnotic Intro and Outro) will be a worthwhile viewing. Between eerie blue-tinted stage and the quietly haunting synthesizer sounds, Porcupine Tree ultimately sets one hell of a moody environment. At no time does Anesthetize feel like your run-of-the-mill concert, and at times it leans closely to what you might find at a Pink Floyd performance. While the band (keyboardist Richard Barbieri, bassist Colin Edwin, drummer Gavin Harrison, guitarist/lead vocalist Steven Wilson, and guitarist/backing vocalist John Wesley) is a competent set of musicians who are always in synchronicity, it never goes overboard in terms of the progressive side. Long story short, Porcupine Tree never quite reaches full-on Dream Theater territory. The set opens with Fear Of A Blank Planet, a sonic piece that is enhanced by a mishmash of images projected onto a screen above the band members. It's a perfect initiation into the two-hour set, which delves into other tracks like the mellower Sentimental, acoustic-backed My Ashes, and darkly sexy Sleep Together. Although the more laid-back, moodier numbers are intriguing, it's the ones that are all over the place musically that make the biggest statement. What Happens Now dabbles in a variety of interesting time signatures, Anesthetize oscillates between balladry and straightforward metal, while the band shows off its true progressive chops in Cheating The Polygraph.

Content — 7
With over two hours of music, Anesthetize is a well-rounded offering that only omits the band's early 90's material. If you purchase the DVD, you will be doing it for the music and possibly the dramatic imagery within the concert itself. It's somewhat strange that no bonus material (whether that be interviews or B-roll from behind the scenes) was included. There is a special deluxe edition released in both DVD and Blu-ray formats that will also include the full audio soundtrack on two audio CDs, a bonus track, and a cloth-bound hardback book featuring photography of Porcupine Tree.

Production Quality — 10
Film in Hi-def (not to mention available on Blu-ray), Anesthetize is simply a gorgeous concert film. Given the intense approach to the music, the dark blue tint that often colors the entire stage is an appropriate technique to utilize. The director opts to focus most of the attention on the band versus the audience, which is a wise choice for a band that so rarely interacts (at least verbally) with the crowd.

Overall Impression — 8
This DVD is one of the more intense concert films that you might witness and the title Anesthetize is an apt one. At times your senses do become a bit dulled because, although Porcupine Tree does skirt progressive rock, it's still a rather conceptual band at the same time. It's a bit disappointing that there wasn't any bonus material included, even though the concert film itself can for the most part stand on its own in terms of quality. In the end, fans may want to wait for the limited edition DVD/Blu-ray to be released just get a better value all around.

32 comments sorted by best / new / date

    maximumrocker
    Well definity check this out. I just started listening to Porcupine Tree a couple weeks ago. There pretty aweseome
    Avedas
    duncang wrote: This band has just annoyed me more and more over the last two or so years. Ridiculous ticket prices, bad setlists and a pretty poor last album as well.
    What? I saw them at their first show on the Incident tour and it cost me less than $30. That was in Seattle.
    silly hats
    I love that they actually play music from their Signify album. My fave album of theirs.
    nicksword87
    I think The Incident is Brilliant! I don't see why all the hate. Unless you were expecting Metal ish guitar and heavy drumming. I love the more laid back work on it yet intelligence of it. FOABP was good and I have the Special Edition of the DVD but I saw the Incident Live and nothing can beat that. I saw them in Australia so maybe they picked up their game. Also I first listened to the album when I had a very special cookie (I had never had it before) and since then I will always think of my best listening experiance as the incident. I love on the DVD however that the only song that is on the first DVD is halo. Unlike other bands that play the same songs over and over again live and expect people to buy it coz it is newer. My opinion brilliant DVD. only downside is no "Prodigal" even though they played it and had it as a bonus track on the cds.
    The Chauffeur
    rmanhas wrote: duncang wrote: This band has just annoyed me more and more over the last two or so years. Ridiculous ticket prices, bad setlists and a pretty poor last album as well. I have to agree. The Incident is Degree Zero of Quality. The chorus in "Drawing the Line" is cringe worthy. The album as a whole is filled with a disproportionate amount of filler. Even passable songs are relatively stale. For example, "Time Flies," a track of epic length , is no "Arriving Somewhere" or "Anesthetize." The progression from "The Blind House" is one Steven has been using for years (:38 in "Halo," 6:43 in "Anesthetize," 2:20 in "Mother and Child Divided," and :46 in "Wedding Nails"). I feel like a lot of the songs are less interesting, rehashed versions of old material. In terms of tone and feeling, songs like "The Incident" and "Circle of Manias" are very similar to songs like "Abandoner" and "Mother and Child Divided." That the album was touted as a "single song" is ridiculous. Yeah, I like how "Circle of Manias" and "I Drive the Hearse" flow into each other so naturally! Some people are more careful and say instead that the album is one song cycle. But isnt this just another word for an album? For those of you with a sense of humor: http://www.somethingawful.com/d/garbage-... ncident.php. I also lament the cue PT has seemingly taken from Dream Theater in terms of awful, bombastic song titles (e.g., "Degree Zero of Liberty" and "Octane Twisted"; note also the clich "Time Flies" and "Great Expectations"). I saw PT in San Francisco during The Incident tour and the experience was a letdown. I already had a low opinion of the songs, but the performance was similarly uninspired. Unfortunately, I was standing in midst of a bunch of incessantly annoying fan boys, which only made the experience worse. On the plus side, I got to enter a staring contest with Gavin, but he won. Now keep in mind that my best concert experience ever was a PT concert at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, just before FOABP dropped (we got to hear "The Monster," aka "Anesthetize," and other tracks before anyone else). With Tony Levin as the opener, it was an amazing event. I do like Porcupine Tree, and they used to be one of my favorite bands, but they have definitely gone downhill recently. For whatever reason (perhaps because I've listened to them too much), I haven't listened to them at all in the past few months. I'm sure this DVD is of high quality, but at this point, if I were to watch it it would only because Gavin is so amazing.
    i'm with you at some points. the incindent is their worst record. i don't like it that much except a few songs. but foabp was so ****ing great. i saw them with their foabp tour and on the incident tour. first one was so much better. i'm glad that theres no incident track on the dvd.
    Sivert95
    Porcupine Tree is one of the few bands that play their songs BETTER live than in studio....
    duncang
    EpiExplorer wrote: Anyway, dotn complain about Opeth tickets. I got two for 225 for the RAH.
    Nobody was.
    EpiExplorer
    EpiExplorer wrote: some stuff
    Whut happened thar.. Anyway, dotn complain about Opeth tickets. I got two for 225 for the RAH.
    cidisgod
    kamjam7 wrote: oh just checked, nothing from incident at all!
    Read the full article bud, this was recorded in 2008 on the tour for Fear of a Blank Planet
    rmanhas
    duncang wrote: This band has just annoyed me more and more over the last two or so years. Ridiculous ticket prices, bad setlists and a pretty poor last album as well.
    I have to agree. The Incident is Degree Zero of Quality. The chorus in "Drawing the Line" is cringe worthy. The album as a whole is filled with a disproportionate amount of filler. Even passable songs are relatively stale. For example, "Time Flies," a track of epic length , is no "Arriving Somewhere" or "Anesthetize." The progression from "The Blind House" is one Steven has been using for years (:38 in "Halo," 6:43 in "Anesthetize," 2:20 in "Mother and Child Divided," and :46 in "Wedding Nails"). I feel like a lot of the songs are less interesting, rehashed versions of old material. In terms of tone and feeling, songs like "The Incident" and "Circle of Manias" are very similar to songs like "Abandoner" and "Mother and Child Divided." That the album was touted as a "single song" is ridiculous. Yeah, I like how "Circle of Manias" and "I Drive the Hearse" flow into each other so naturally! Some people are more careful and say instead that the album is one song cycle. But isnt this just another word for an album? For those of you with a sense of humor: http://www.somethingawful.com/d/garbage-... ncident.php. I also lament the cue PT has seemingly taken from Dream Theater in terms of awful, bombastic song titles (e.g., "Degree Zero of Liberty" and "Octane Twisted"; note also the clich "Time Flies" and "Great Expectations"). I saw PT in San Francisco during The Incident tour and the experience was a letdown. I already had a low opinion of the songs, but the performance was similarly uninspired. Unfortunately, I was standing in midst of a bunch of incessantly annoying fan boys, which only made the experience worse. On the plus side, I got to enter a staring contest with Gavin, but he won. Now keep in mind that my best concert experience ever was a PT concert at the House of Blues in Los Angeles, just before FOABP dropped (we got to hear "The Monster," aka "Anesthetize," and other tracks before anyone else). With Tony Levin as the opener, it was an amazing event. I do like Porcupine Tree, and they used to be one of my favorite bands, but they have definitely gone downhill recently. For whatever reason (perhaps because I've listened to them too much), I haven't listened to them at all in the past few months. I'm sure this DVD is of high quality, but at this point, if I were to watch it it would only because Gavin is so amazing.
    Echoplex
    radicaldookie wrote: Kinda avoided them coz of the stupid name...but i guess i'll check this out
    The name was (I think) actually a joke making fun of old prog-rock and psychedelic bands.
    me_llamo_juan
    I've seen 2 PT shows and both have been $22 usd. The Incident was a solid album. I thought their setlists on this tour have been great - they open with the incident, and they've played normal, start of something beautiful, and the last one the played Bonnie the Cat. I think they've been fantastic. Seeing the setlist of this live DVD, I have to get it.
    SaxMachine124
    I know PT said they were doing something special to end The Incident tour at Royal Albert, that could explain that price.
    duncang
    BobChicken wrote: ChucklesMginty wrote: thewhorock wrote:You should check out Aerosmith and Roger Waters tickets before you say porc is over priced at 30 dollars. Royal Albert Hall gig is like 60 quid+... That's more like 90 dollars. but thats the royal albert hall. thats not a massive venue with a HIGH hiring out price, and they have to make just a little bit of money. on normal tours, they just charge like every other band do, like 25
    I saw Opeth at the Royal Albert Hall for 25.
    sherif20766
    I've got the limited edition Grey box, watched it last night for the first time.....PURE AWESOMENESS!!
    BobChicken
    ChucklesMginty wrote: thewhorock wrote:You should check out Aerosmith and Roger Waters tickets before you say porc is over priced at 30 dollars. Royal Albert Hall gig is like 60 quid+... That's more like 90 dollars.
    but thats the royal albert hall. thats not a massive venue with a HIGH hiring out price, and they have to make just a little bit of money. on normal tours, they just charge like every other band do, like 25
    ChucklesMginty
    thewhorock wrote:You should check out Aerosmith and Roger Waters tickets before you say porc is over priced at 30 dollars.
    Royal Albert Hall gig is like 60 quid+... That's more like 90 dollars.
    Doodleface
    I'll have to pick this up. 'Arriving Somewhere' is my favourite concert DVD, I'm sure this one stacks up. Duncang, Incident took a while to grow on me. I mean about 6 months of listening to it once a week (at least) but now I love it.
    kamjam7
    Might get this. Incident had some great moments, but it doesn't seem to cover the album too much.
    Daysleeper_05
    I prefer the older 70s progressive rock over today's Dream Theater and Circus Maximus. Porcupine Tree appeals to my love of Pink Floyd and Yes without sounding like them. Porcupine Tree has been hailed as 'The New Pink Floyd', a title which they actively reject. There are some moments in PT which really do sound like something Pink Floyd would write,(like Sky Moves Sideways) but for the most part, PT has set themselves a nice niche as one of the best rock bands no one has heard of. In my opinion, that's a great place to be in.
    thewhorock
    duncang wrote: This band has just annoyed me more and more over the last two or so years. [/b]Ridiculous ticket prices[/b], bad setlists and a pretty poor last album as well.
    You should check out Aerosmith and Roger Waters tickets before you say porc is over priced at 30 dollars.
    InfiniteRain
    Not quite sure what duncang is talking about. I think I paid $25 for a ticket on the Incident tour (saw them twice this past year), and both times they put on an excellent show. Granted, The Incident isn't their best, but it's undoubtedly a quality album, albeit one that is more of a "grower." Plus the second part of their set both times showcased some of their greatest songs. Some of my personal favorites were Anesthetize part 2, .3, Trains (of course), Normal, Hatesong, Blackest Eyes, Russia On Ice, and countless others. They always put on an excellent show :\
    flame843
    duncang wrote: This band has just annoyed me more and more over the last two or so years. Ridiculous ticket prices, bad setlists and a pretty poor last album as well.
    wrooooong
    duncang
    This band has just annoyed me more and more over the last two or so years. Ridiculous ticket prices, bad setlists and a pretty poor last album as well.
    The Chauffeur
    this dvd is so ****in sick. the sound of it is amazing, so well mixed. you all gotta get this.
    Daedwing
    I was at the premier of the DVD in London at met the band afterwards. What a night, awesome DVD on the big screen and the band were all really nice, down to earth guys. And agree with Sam, definitely the best modern prog band.
    Sam Wotrey
    I just got Fear of a Blank Planet. Same concept as Devin Townsend's Addicted! but much much darker, hah. And by far to me, greatest progressive rock band around (besides Rush)
    travislausch
    Sam Wotrey wrote: I just got Fear of a Blank Planet. Same concept as Devin Townsend's Addicted! but much much darker, hah
    ...No. Not even one bit. Also, I don't get why everyone hates The Incident so much. That album's pretty ace. Sure, it's no Signify or Lightbulb Sun, but it's not intended to be either of those.