Photos - Porcupine Tree - October 28, 2002, Schottenstein Center, Columbus, OH
Official Site
Opening for Yes can’t be an easy task for anyone. Not only are they renowned for their musicianship, but they bring a crowd dedicated to the band and the decade that made them famous. When it was announced that Porcupine Tree was opening, it made sense musically, well, kind of. I mean, both bands have orchestral breaks, timings and mentalities. But there are several decades separating the two bands, and sometimes that is the hardest barrier to break. But Porcupine Tree had to then play in front of dedicated fans who are there from one reason, to see Yes. This can’t be an easy gig for Porcupine Tree, but they pulled it off with unbelievable sound and musicianship.

These Brits were up for the challenge of the dedicated American crowd and won over more than anyone could expect. Although when the band first took the stage, you could feel the tension of the crowd ready to, if the band was lucky, just ignore them. If they weren’t so lucky, then be booed and have to listen to chants of “Yes,” through their 45-minute set. But none of that happened as Porcupine Tree, with their intelligent, creative yet friendly music. It was weird to read the credits on their Lava Records release, In Ansentia, because bands credited on there are Swedish metalers Meshuggah and Opeth. But after further listening, Porcupine Tree have an undertone of heavy mixed within their songs that could easily be overlooked the first or second listen.

Songs such as “Strip The Soul,” “Blackest Eyes,” and “Gravity Eyelids” are some extraordinary tracks. This is one band that will never get much Stateside airplay, and those few thousand in attendance to experience Yes may be some of the fortunate few to experience this band live. P-Tree has been experiencing success in their home country and surrounding European states, but here in the US, they just don’t have that radio-pop sound that will garner them much airplay. However, there will definitely be an underground core of fans that will follow these guys wherever the road may take them. We can only hope that this core group is large enough to keep sales high enough that it makes sense for the band to travel across the Atlantic Ocean.

P-Tree was high on the list before their live show was inundated into the brain cell synapses. Since then, it is almost impossible to get them out or the cranium. From the lighting and movie show backing the band to the music and bare feet of singer Steven Wilson. With his dirty-blonde locks, blue sunglasses and easy demeanor, there is no doubt a John Lennon influence is running through the blood of Wilson. But never fear; Wilson is not trying to be a clone. Someone just said P-Tree is not their thing, they like their music like they like their sex: fast, hard and loud. But sometimes even sensual is good, too. No?

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