Steven Wilson is undeniably one of the greatest musical geniuses of our generation.
With a career spanning over 30 years he has taken progressive rock and experimental alternative music and introduced it to a whole new generation of listeners.
I have been a fan of his work for years starting with Porcupine Tree, but this is the first time seeing the man live and that is something I have had on my bucket list for a very long time.
With no opening support act, the show starts off with some disturbing images flashing on screen to what sounds like elevator music that builds to an ominous drone.
As Steven and his band take the stage to play the track Nowhere Now from his latest album To the Bone, the mood is lifted and the venue is filled with cheers as the sound belts out from the massive speakers.
The positive vibe is infectious and it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the soaring guitar tones and Stevens vocals which sound amazing in the Eaton Hill Hotel’s ballroom.
Next up is the album’s first single Pariah where Steven shares vocals with Israeli artist Ninet Tayeb.
As the record features a few songs with female guest vocals, I was curious to see how it would be translated live without taking them on tour or just having a backing track.
Instead Ninet appears on the massive screen behind the stage for the emotionally driven duet and this I felt gave the audience a stronger connection to the song through the imagery synced to the music.
The strange thing about the gig is that it is seated, while it seems to have a more chilled out intimate atmosphere, Wilson is quick to point out that it wasn’t his idea and at one point in the show he will ask everyone to stand up.
Steven has always come across as a very serious person due to the maturity of his songwriting, but in actual fact his onstage banter and story telling between songs is hilarious and engaging, showing a side of him I have not seen before which makes him extremely likeable.
‘We’re going to take you on a voyage through my back catalogue’ He says with a mischievous smile before the band plays Home Invasion and he shows off his bass shredding skills before switching back to guitar where bass player Nick Beggs takes over and really shows off his skills as one of the best bass players in the industry.
Steven has always surrounded himself with musicians of the highest caliber and his solo backing band consisting of Beggs, drummer Craig Blundell, guitarist Alex Hutchings and keyboardist Adam Holzman is absolute proof of that.
Each member is phenomenal watch live and given their own time to shine throughout the night.
Most fans of Wilson’s are without a doubt fans of Porcupine Tree who were a very important band for a lot of people.
We are not only treated to a mixture of some of Steven's best solo material but also a few Porcupine Tree songs like The Creator Has a Mastertape, Arriving Somewhere But Not Here, Lazarus, Heart Attack in a Layby and Sleep Together which I never thought I would hear live in a million years and made a lot of people including myself very happy.
After the band takes a short break most of the fans in the seating area defiantly get out of their chairs and make their way to the barrier at the front of the stage.
This is the point in the show where the energy changes and things really start to ramp up from both sides
Steven takes a minute to joke about pop music and how it has been shit for the past 20 years before launching into the very catchy Permanating, his very own version of a mainstream disco influenced pop song that by all rights should be all over the radio and gets everyone in the venue dancing.
Another song that was a highlight for me was Song of I which is my favourite track off To the Bone which takes the set on a very dark detour momentarily and I loved every second of it, another song I believe should be given a lot more credit in mainstream radio.
Due to time restrictions we only get one encore song, Song of Unborn which leaves everyone more than satisfied with what they witnessed tonight.
Steven and his band really delivered the goods tonight and goes down as one of my favourite shows of all time.
No doubt he will return in the future as he seems to have a strong connection with Australia, When he does I will definitely be there to relive the magic of this prog masterminds live experience all over again.