This is my first time attending a solo Steven Wilson
gig. This is simply because I wasn't that deep into prog when Insurgentes came out in 2008. After seeing Porcupine Tree
in Amsterdam I knew to expect nothing but a spectacular show from this brilliant British song smith.
The gig was staged in the main hall in de Boerderij, as always the ambience was great. The average age of the attendees was somewhat lower than I'm used to at their prog gigs. People from all age groups were represented quite evenly however people in there twenties/thirties made up the most of the crowd.
Lasse Hoiles works yet again spiced the entire show with his artwork. While waiting for the show to start we were treated with projections on a large (semi transparent) canvas that hung right in front of the stage (between the stage and the crowd). These projection were accompanied by some intense and haunting noisy/droneish sound scape (composed by Steven Wilson as Bass Communion
). Most of Hoiles work is rather dark and macabre this, as we've seen many times, fits perfectly with Steven Wilson's melancholic, nostalgic and dark compositions. So big up for this amazing artist! Make sure to check more of his work at www.lassehoile.com
On to the main part of the evening, the gig itself! All of you that listened to the Grace For Drowning album know that it's a rather complex release. I mean, choirs, unusual synth parts, mind blowing drum sections and the use of saxophone, clarinet and flute all packed together in a perfectly balanced suite of music epicness. I honestly thought Wilson would not be able to make the live performance sound like the recording. But once again the master proved me wrong :)
The show started of with No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun, followed by Index. Index was introduced by Wilson using a vocoder unit. Which brings me to the fact that Steven was rather introvert (towards the crowd) throughout the entire show. He however interacted with much excitement with his fellow musicians. This behaviour suits him well in my opinion. Since his crowd interaction often is rather timid.
Back to Index, this obscure and rather creepy composition was executed with great skill by the entire band and shows of Stevens excellent poetic writing abilities.
Next up were Deform to Form a Star and Sectarian. Sectarian was one of the first of the louder, more aggressive songs. The following songs were Harmony Korine and Abandoner. Both tracks from the Insurgentes album. Postcard, one of the more approachable tracks of the album, was augmented with macabre imagery by Lasse Hoile. Wow, what a great combination of music and art!
Remainder the Black Dog is one of my favourite tracks of the album, needless to say I was exited to hear this track in a live setting. Coolest thing about it are the keyboard (Mini Moog) parts that are essentially really dark sounding arpeggio's. I thought these arpeggio's (who are quite fast) were played with an arpegiator, this however was not the case. Adam Holzman played these arps spot on by hand! The next track; Like Dust I Have Cleared From My Eye was a nice contrasting track to Remainder, being one of the more sensitive tracks on the album. This more relaxed part of the show was extended with No Part Of Me.
Veneno Para Las Hadas was opened by Aziz Ibrahim, the lead guitar player on Steven Wilsons touring band. This guy also deserves some praise! Although this Aziz has his own distinctive style, he was very capable to mimic Wilson's style of playing. Veneno Para Las Hadas was a nice turning point in the show, this track served as a bridge between the more laid back tracks and Raider II. The tension in Veneno Para Las Hadas did that job just perfect!
Raider II was the last track of the main show. Raider II is a complex epic song of 23 minutes. As always perfectly executed by Wilson and his band. The visuals were also stunning on this track. With returning themes from Remainder The Black Dog and Sectarian. As an encore Wilson returned on stage with the Insurgentes gas mask on and played Get All You Deserve. Sadly this was the end of the show. Most of the crowd was hoping for a couple more tracks but it was not going to happen!
This was definitely one of my all time favourite concerts. And most certainly the most inspiring and impressive gig of 2011. I'm aware that this review is not very objective (me being a Steven Wilson fan). But honestly, I can't think of any negative criticism on this artist and this gig!Tracklist (from setlist fm):
1 - No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun
2 - Index
3 - Deform to Form a Star
4 - Sectarian
5 - Harmony Korine
6 - Abandoner
7 - Postcard
8 - Remainder the Black Dog
9 - Like Dust I Have Cleared From My Eye
10 - No Part of Me
11 - Veneno Para Las Hadas
12 - Raider II
13 - Get All You Deserve