Review of Porcupine Tree at The Masquerade, Tampa Florida, 23 September 2005.

I had a good time at the Tampa show on Friday night, although there were a few problems with the sound mix at times (probably due to the cavernous nature of the venue - the Masquerade is a converted old movie theater). The venue was immediately adjacent to the Club Twilight where PT started their In Absentia tour in 2003, in downtown Ybor City. The crowd was pretty full, with about 600 people in attendance - I was told that PT will definitely be invited back to Tampa again after this level of turnout.

John Wesley was roaming all thru the crowd prior to the show, as he seems to do (he's such a friendly guy). And after the show, those hangers-on such as myself were able to meet and talk to all 5 members of the band, which is always a treat as I didn't get to see either Steven or Richard after the Twilight show in 2003. Colin mentioned specifically that he was very jetlagged from having flown in the day before, however he never lost either his perpetual smile or his perfect timing at any point during the show.

The show itself had a number of songs that were accompanied by interesting films (by Lasse, I assume, given their style). The drums were very clear at all times, although maybe a bit too loud in the mix. The guitars were loud but at times indistinct. The vocals were a little low in the mix, and were occasionally difficult to make out (a shame, considering Steven's voice is one of the highlights for this band). There was a particular moment during the heaviest part of Arriving Somewhere where Steven and John's guitars almost turned to mush. The sound was definitely not perfect, but was still quite enjoyable. Overall, the total impression of these songs played in this venue was heavy, Heavy, HEAVY rock.

Here is the full set list:

The Masquerade, Tampa Florida, 23 Sept 2005

  (opening music track played over speakers, accompanied by a video)
  Open Car
  Blackest Eyes
  (Steven talks)
  Don't Hate Me
  Mother and Child Divided
  Buying New Soul
  (Steven talks)
  So Called Friend
  Arriving Somewhere But Not Here
  Heart Attack in a Layby
  Start of Something Beautiful
  The Sound of Muzak
  Radioactive Toy

The merchandising included a variety of CDs, with a few of the recent PT releases (including autographed copies of the Deadwing book+CD+DVD for $30), plus several John Wesley and Ex-Wise Heads CDs. There were 3 different t-shirts for this tour, plus 3 other t-shirt styles left over from the spring tour (in limited quantities only!), plus a hoodie, a beanie (stocking cap), plus a nice long sleeve button-down shirt.

Also, they had three different numbered lithographs as previously mentioned by Adrian (a nice fellow!). At this show they were $20 each, or all three for $50. I was interested enough to purchase one of each, and my wife was persistent enough to get all three signed by the band (she isn't bashful in the least!). So now I'm the proud owner of serial number 003/500 for each of these. :-)

Unfortunately, my friend "JL" doing the taping was caught during the first five minutes and had his DAT tape confiscated. Fortunately for him he was allowed to stay and enjoy the show, but alas we have no recording. :-(

Here is yet another comment, by my friend who spoke to SW at length about the upcoming Chicago DVD filming:

"The band's manager told us much about the DVD shoot coming up in Chicago. They will shoot both shows (a second show was added just a few days ago) using 10 (that's right, TEN!!) cameras. The band wants to have a large selection of songs to choose from when compiling the DVD, so the set will vary each night as they rotate older material in and out of the set. This will allow the band to re-familiarize themselves with the old songs, and they won't have to play them cold in Chicago. In order to have the maximum selection of tracks for the DVD, the 2 shows in Chicago will feature different setlists. Once the taping (or is it filming?) is done, the final decisions will be made as they work on the mixing."

All in all, a great show in spite of the minor sound problems.

Captain Cloud