Steven Wilson is one of the greatest artistic minds of this generation. Musically and visually the man knows how to access the beauty of anything. After a long introduction film featuring, possibly portrayed by Wilson, a busker who is setting up his instrument whilst passersby blur around him. When he is ready the man begins to play and Wilson walks to the stage playing the familiar opening chime of “Trains” by Wilson’s most famous musical venture Porcupine Tree. From here the band swarmed around him and on the dying acoustic notes the band burst into “Luminol”, one of the most popular songs off of Wilson’s masterpiece ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)’. The band all songs off of ‘Raven’ omitting “The Pin Drop” . There were four tracks from ‘Grace For Drowning’ and Wilson also played “Harmony Korine” from ‘Insurgentes’.
As a special treat Wilson has been playing newly written songs at his gigs on the current tour. For the audience at Wolverhampton this was called “Break IT (and you buy it)”. Wilson noted himself that the song was likely to change as there are many passages with “F*ck all going on”. The song itself is a huge 15 minute beast. The band performed an “edited version” of “Raider II”, Wilson’s epic from ‘Grace For Drowning’… edited to 15 minutes!
Wilson deterred two heckler too. One crying out for ‘songs I can sing in the shower’ to which Wilson replied ‘yeah… I don’t really do that’. Another who was adamant on naming the encore song all the way through Wilson’s final speech. The song itself being “Radioactive Toy”, a Porcupine Tree song. Prior to this encore Wilson had abandoned instruments twice. Once to perform the utterly sadistic “Index” upon which at one point he definitely rolled along the floor. Secondly to sit atop a stool whilst the band played the title track from “Raven”.
Leaving the venue you were made aware again of Wilson’s abilities to not only make songs that stick in your head, but also to give them technical majesty and beautiful melodies. He is one of the greatest song writers of the current age and with his band an inspiring performer. Utterly calm onstage, he knew the audience were paying to witness music, but they got an experience to remember.
Verdict – 5/5 Stars