Porcupine Tree - Manchester Academy 2 - 6.4.05

It's the sort of security set-up reserved for a royal wedding or state visit. Withing 5 minutes of Porcupine Tree hitting the stage with "Deadwing" cameras and camcorders have been seized. By the end of the set a man will be dragged out of the venue for dance terrorism (and as it later transpires calling Wilson a c**t). Such is Steven Wilson's dedication to his art that not one minutai can be wrong or out of his grasp of control. Like Castro, Wilson is a dictator for the most honourable of reasons.

"Deadwing", his first album since his Blackfield collaboration with Aviv Geffen, is based around the theme's of a film script that Wilson is currently trying to get commissioned. The live shows have always been cinematic in scope, but now they're full blown wide screen jobbies. Drawing heavily from the recent album with selections from "In Absentia" ("Sound Of Muzak", "Trains") and "Lightbulb Sun" ("Hate Song", "She's Moved On"), they don't so much recreate as reconstruct these sonic textures. Whereas previous comparisons have been Radiohead and Floyd, the latter still remain, they now have an alignment with prog bands such as The Mars Volta. Dipping into their extensive back catalogue they take on "Burning Sky" from the  the re-recorded reissue of "Up The Downstair"

Porcupine Tree shows have always been about witnessing a revelation on stage rather than active participation and this show was no different. I don't think we'll ever get bored of Porcupine Tree and despite a set which lasted near on two hours you still leave wanting more.

Alex McCann

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