My friend Nick sent me an IM on Thursday, asking me if I wanted to go up to Boston that night to see Porcupine Tree. He had an extra ticket, fourteenth row at the Berklee Performing Arts Center, for face value at forty bucks. I knew I probably shouldn’t be spending that kind of money (plus God knows how much else on food and parking in the city), so even though I’d never seen them and desperately wanted to, I politely declined. He responded that he would see if he could find anybody else to take the ticket and would get back to me later in the day if they hadn’t.
A few hours later, he sent me another message saying that he’d had no takers on the ticket, and it was now selling for the LOW! LOW! PRICE! of just twenty bucks. I reconsidered the idea of going to a concert in Boston on a Thursday night. The travel wasn’t TOO big a deal, although it would be pushing it for me to get out at five and make it all the way to Boston with enough time to get food and hit the theatre by eight, but Nick didn’t have any desire to go see the opener, so that left me with a little bit more time. Staying out late wouldn’t be an issue, because this was my first week of working Sunday through Thursday, so my week was over come Thursday evening and I could sleep in on Friday. In the end, I decided that the price was unbeatable, and fourteenth-row seats to one of your favorite bands in a great-sounding hall was too much to pass up, so I decided to make the trip.
Naturally, though, I didn’t actually get out of the parking lot at work until about 5:30, and I knew I’d be hitting some traffic on the way into the city (and sho ’nuff I did), and then, because Boston is one of the most hellish cities to drive in, I got kind of lost on my way to the venue. I then proceeded to drive for a good half hour looking for a parking space on the street (partway through this, I picked Nick up so that he could help me find a space and so that we wouldn’t be talking it over on the phone), during which time no less than five open spaces were taken by the car directly in front of me. It was becoming positively comedic. Finally, I decided to head to a parking garage near where Nick used to live (I’d stayed there once so I was somewhat familiar with the area) and happened to be just down the street from the venue. It would be $19 for the evening (making me glad that I only had to pay twenty for the ticket) to park, but I suppose in the long run it was better anyway, given that I had my laptop and golf clubs in the trunk.
I grabbed a bite to eat (and answered a long-awaited call from Nature) at a nearby Wendy’s and then we headed to the venue, where they told me I couldn’t bring in the drink I had purchased at aforementioned Wendy’s (I was practically done with it anyway as I’d gotten a good, y’know, two or three sips out of it). It’s a good thing they didn’t allow drinks, too, because we certainly didn’t need liquid refreshment in the ninety-degree heat of the performance space. I think Berklee forgot to pay their air conditioning fixit man.
As for the show itself, I certainly cannot complain. Having never seen this band live before, I didn’t know what to expect, and what I got was far more than I could have imagined. For the first hour, they played entirely new material. None of it had even been recorded yet. I don’t remember much of it except that it was amazing. The rest of the show consisted almost completely of my favorite songs from their two latest albums. The only disappointment was that they couldn’t play their last song because the singer’s voice had started to go out on him and I guess they were running just long enough that they didn’t have quite enough time to do it.
The acoustics were fantastic. The band was just barely too loud, but if I had been smart and brought/bought earplugs, it would have been perfect. The drums were the best-sounding drums I’ve ever heard live of any band ever, and the mix was pretty great except when the vocals would get slightly buried. But my favorite part of the show was that it was a seated venue, so I didn’t have to worry about my problematic feet causing, er, problems. (I’m not sure if this is just me getting too old for rock shows or if I get a pass because of my ankle issues.)
So when they get back to England after this tour, they’re going to hit the recording studio, and then they’ll be back here in the spring, touring again to support the new album. I can definitely say that after seeing this show (and hearing this new material), I’m definitely going to catch them again on the next tour.
And now it’s entirely too late and I need to get to bed because I have to work tomorrow.
(For those curious: The subject title of this post is a lyric from one of Porcupine Tree’s songs off of their newest album, Deadwing.)