Porcupine Tree

Anesthetize: Live in Tilburg Oct. 2008

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This repackaging of 2011's live Anesthetize shifts the focus from the Blu-Ray/DVD format to a pair of audio discs, plus a Region 0 DVD. This isn't the first time the music has appeared on CD, but the original was part of a special edition that sold out quickly after its release. The gig documents a performance by Porcupine Tree at 013 Poppodium Tilburg in Holland in 2008, and the program features the two-hour gig. The first disc/set finds the band playing Fear of a Blank Planet in its entirety, while the second includes catalog tracks that were, at the time, fairly recent - -only three of its 11 cuts are from the pre-metal era. Though the entire gig is just a knockout, some of the highlights include the title track, "Way Out of Here," and "Sentimental" on disc one, and "Dark Matter, "Cheating the Polygraph," and set-closer "Halo" from disc two. The video, directed by Lasse Hoile, was his second concert film for PT -- the first was the oft-criticized Arriving Somewhere, which showcased his own rather grim thematic concerns at the expense of concert footage in places. These are absent from Anesthetize. The performance is captured flawlessly in documentary style, with numerous cameras from a wide variety of angles -- including one looking up from underneath Gavin Harrison's tom-toms. Bathed in a ghostly blue light, the band's playing is requisitely tight, immediate, and at times ferocious in intensity. Lead guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Steven Wilson, keyboardist Richard Barbieri, and bassist Colin Edwin are tight and in sync throughout, though Harrison nearly steals the show with his elastic yet unshakeable sense of time and seemingly effortless playing style. Second guitarist John Wesley has a few rough moments, but he was only a "guest" at the time, and if anything, it somewhat humanizes the band. Fans who already have the double-video set may not need this, but any enthusiast who doesn't would be well-advised to pick it up -- just listening through the audio portion is its own reward. The visual element is a sublime bonus.

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