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After witnessing such an incredible concert last night, I was extremely excited to get down to The Wiltern in Los Angeles and relive the experience. My friend obviously felt the same way, and we arrived at the venue around 6 o clock, an hour before doors opened. As an avid concert goer for heavy metal shows, I am used to getting at the venue early to establish a good spot in front of the band. So it was a strange sight for me when I arrived to find out we were the first people there. It did not occur to us that there would be no rush to get to the venue, because it was a seated event. We waited around for a line to form, which it eventually did, and started recognizing many faces who were at the night before. In addition, we talked to people who had traveled from the East Coast and saw shows over there. They were just as excited as everyone else.

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The doors opened, and the crowd filed inside. Many ran to the merch booth or to the bars scattered across the venue. I however was excited to go to my seat. I have been to The Wiltern many times, however I had never sat on the balcony before, and couldn’t wait to see what the view was like. For those who are unfamiliar with it, The Wiltern is a gorgeous theater that feels like something from the past with its gold looking walls and Art Deco style. The view from the balcony was amazing, and we knew instantly that we were going to be in for a treat. We talked with other friends who were at the show and watched as the 1,850 capacity began to fill up. Eventually, the video that started the set the day before began to play, and we knew what we were in for. The venue began to applaud, and people rushed to their assigned seats.

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(Because I went into detail about the previous show, and the setlists were virtually the same, I tried to focus on different aspects of the set for this review. Here is a link to the previous show so that you can compare them side by side and hear the whole story):

https://jsalfity.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/steven-wilson-at-the-grove-in-anaheim-friday-june-12th-2015/

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The video progressed with images of city, and a repetitive droning sound continued. Eventually, the lights darkened, keyboardist Adam Holzman came up on stage, and he began to “First Regret”. The rest of the band came up and joined in on “3 Years Older”, which helped show the band’s technicality and chemistry. After the song, Steven addressed the audience about how excitement was encouraged, similar to how he did the previous night. He was more direct this show, and less talkative with the audience. It was interesting to see how the spaces in the set were left open so he could address the same subject matters, but how this time around it felt a little bit more routine than the previous night, where he seemed to go off on tangents. Perhaps this was because this show was being recorded live for streaming by Yahoo.com. However, the audience who had not heard him say these things before were active listeners, and continued to laugh at Steven’s stories throughout the night.

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The set continued through “Hand Cannot Erase”, “Perfect Life”, and “Routine”, the later two continuing to be some of the more memorable tracks from the set (and even more so because of the bigger venue and more room for ambience). Craig’s drum fills were excellent during “Perfect Life”. Even though I knew to expect the revamped version of “Index”, it still amazed me nonetheless. The precision of the snaps, the dark overtone of Steven’s voice and the images behind him, and the power of the band when they all eventually join in. I love how this song has continued to evolve in the live sense, since it’s inclusion in Steven’s very first solo tour. It is such a great song. “Home Invasion”/”Regret #9” were again an incredible section of the show, thanks to the heavy riffs, funky keyboard parts, and incredible solos. Head bobbing could be seen throughout the venue, and it wouldn’t surprise me if these songs continued to be a standard in tours to come. He took a break to address the crowd, and then went into “Lazarus”. It really amazes me how close this song gets to the original. The keyboard parts, background effects, and drum fills are exactly as they were on the studio recording. The visuals are the same ones Porcupine Tree would use when they would play it live. If it wasn’t for Nick Beggs’s unique backup vocals, you would think that Colin, Gavin, Richard, and John had payed you a surprise visit. He took a break to address the crowd one final time, before going into the song “Harmony Korine”. He did not play “Song X” because he did not want it on the live stream before it was recorded. This was the only difference between this set and the previous one.

The set finished the same, with the continuation of the remainder of the album, and the members walking off stage. I thought that “Ancestral” sounded a lot heavier than the previous night and I left this show with a lot more admiration for that track than I had before. After  the album, the screen went down and the opening video for “The Watchmaker” began to play. It was great to see it from the balcony cause it filled up the venue in the darkness and looked a lot creepier than it had the previous time. The band played “The Watchmaker”, and it continues to be an amazing track in a live setting. The band went straight into “Sleep Together” and the crowd went wild for this one. It’s amazing how excited the crowd gets for this track live, even though it would not be the Porcupine Tree song that most people would ask to hear. The band went offstage to the sound of extremely loud cheers, and one of the longest claps I’ve ever heard. The band returned with another incredible rendition of “The Raven That Refused to Sing” before finally ending the set, thanking the audience, and taking a bow.

All in all, I’m very thankful that I was able to experience this show two times in two different venues. From being up close in the fifth row to seeing it from far away in the balcony, there is always something to enjoy about the set. Up close, you can see their fingers and appreciate their technicality. From far away, you can see the visuals better and enjoy the overall experience. Either way, Steven Wilson and his band of world class musicians are among the best live acts out there now and are not to be missed.


Setlist:

Intro (First Regret Loop Intro)

  1. First Regret
  2. 3 Years Older
  3. Hand Cannot Erase
  4. Perfect Life
  5. Routine
  6. Index
  7. Home Invasion
  8. Regret #9
  9. Lazarus (Porcupine Tree Song)

  10. Harmony Korine
  11. Ancestral
  12. Happy Returns
  13. Ascendant Here On…
  14. Temporal (Bass Communion Song) (Watchmaker Intro Video)
     
  15. The Watchmaker
  16. Sleep Together (Porcupine Tree Song)

    Encore:

  17. The Raven That Refused to Sing
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