banner image

:: Porcupine Tree - Anesthetize

It’s been a long four years since UK based progressive rock/metal outfit Porcupine Tree produced their debut DVD effort ‘Arriving Somewhere…’, which was recorded while the band was on the road in support of their ‘Deadwing’ album from 2005. Now returning with their latest effort ‘Anesthetize’, Porcupine Tree has again managed to produce something special for fans. Two years in the making, ‘Anesthetize’ was recorded over a two night stand in Tilburg (The Netherlands) in October 2008, while the five piece act were touring the world in support of their classic ‘Fear Of A Blank Planet’ album from 2007.

Directed by Danish filmmaker Lasse Hoile, ‘Anesthetize’ easily surpasses ‘Arriving Somewhere…’ in almost every shape and form, with Hoile capturing the intensity of the band’s live performance to perfection, without losing any of the overall moody feel of the show that makes Porcupine Tree’s live performances from that particular tour a favourite amongst diehard followers. Setlist wise, the first third of the show is dedicated entirely to ‘Fear Of A Blank Planet’, with all six of the tracks from the album played in sequential order. Performance wise, Porcupine Tree manage to reproduce every track to perfection, with only some minor improvisation occurring within some of the instrumentation sections separating these live versions from their studio counterparts. Helping hand Wesley manages to steal the show with his amazing lead vocal performance on the acoustic based ‘My Ashes’ while Wilson remains on the piano, while fan favourite ‘Anesthetize’, the metallic barrage of ‘Fear Of A Blank Planet’, the beautiful ‘Sentimental’ and the darker ‘Sleep Together’ are all definitive highlights in the earlier part of the set.

From here, the band continues the theme established with ‘Fear Of A Blank Planet’ with three tracks played from the album’s sister EP ‘Nil Recurring’ (‘What Happens Now?’, ‘Normal’ and the complex progressive workout of ‘Cheating The Polygraph’), before delving a little further into their recent past with some songs from 1996’s ‘Signify’, 2002’s ‘In Absentia’ and 2005’s ‘Deadwing’. What really makes this live set all the more interesting is the inclusion of some obscure gems from the band’s vast catalogue, including ‘Drown With Me’ and ‘Half-Light’.

But outside of the performance from the band and the sound itself, it's Hoile’s masterful directing and editing of the whole show that really earns ‘Anesthetize’ its high praise. The high definition filming really does enhance the darker vibe of the show itself, and the viewpoint of the camera angles actually defy the standard takes you would normally expect from most live DVDs, which in turn allows the viewers to see something new from the standard format of a live DVD. Aside from the fact that there are no extras (which is a little disappointing given that the Blu-Ray version of ‘Anesthetize’ does), ‘Anesthetize’ is a stunning live effort from Porcupine Tree, and is hands down a huge improvement from ‘Arriving Somewhere…’. Fans of ‘Fear Of A Blank Planet’ and ‘Nil Recurring’ definitely need to check out ‘Anesthetize’, because this really is the all essential last piece of the trilogy.