Porcupine Tree – Arriving Somewhere

Arriving SomewhereWow, I don’t have enough good things to say about the new Porcupine Tree DVD, Arriving Somewhere. From the tight musicianship to the crisp cinematography, this is just a well done concert DVD. I ordered a limited edition numbered advance copy of this DVD a few months ago from Burning Shed, and then promptly forgot about it. A week ago from today, it showed up in the mail. For the next two hours I was totally mesmerized.

The main things that draw me to PT are drummer Gavin Harrison, and the heavier, more progressive parts of the music. Before now, I’d never really given the older or mellower material much of a chance. I really only listen to four songs on In Absentia, and most of Deadwing. Thanks to this DVD, I’m finding some older songs I enjoy, like “Even Less”, “Hatesong”, “Don’t Hate Me”, and the ultra-mellow “Heartattack in Lay By” – I would never have discovered the cool vocal arrangement at the end of that song otherwise. “Trains” is another song that somehow eluded me before.

My wife has always liked “The Sound of Muzak” and “Blackest Eyes”, but she never really cared to explore PT beyond that. She’s now discovering the songs I knew she’d like if only she would give them a chance, mostly from Deadwing. She loves “Arriving Somewhere But Not Here”, “Lazarus”, “Heartattack in a Lay By”, “The Start of Something Beautiful”, and “Halo”. The only other time we’ve bonded on any progressive music was Rush‘s Counterparts. She was a big fan of the Moody Blues and Pink Floyd in high school, so I had a feeling she’d like Steven Wilson‘s vocal sensibilities. British. Very British. In layers and layers.

Some notable things:

  • Compared to the rest of the package, the DVD menus seem really cheap, like something you’d make with an off-the-shelf DVD authoring program. This isn’t a bad thing, though. One of my main complaints with DVDs is the silly menus you’re forced to wade through and wait on.
  • Colin Edwin (bass) always looks like he just heard a good dirty joke, as though he’s just on the verge of busting out laughing. Or maybe he has a secret that he’s not going to tell you. The wife says he looks like he just “eeked one out.” Oh yeah, he’s also a kick-ass musician.
  • The background vocals seem like they’re mixed a little too loudly on “The Sound of Muzak”. And Wilson’s lead vocals sound like maybe they’re a little low in many spots on the DVD. But if this is my only complaint, who cares.
  • I could write many paragraphs on why I think Gavin Harrison transcends even the best prog and jazz drummers that I admire, but I’ll hold off.

The Porcupine Tree Official Website is at http://www.porcupinetree.com.