The Nashville Incident: Porcupine Tree and Coheed & Cambria
Band Photo: Porcupine Tree (?)
Porcupine Tree’s second time playing in Nashville, TN came on the 22nd of August, three years after their first visit. The first time, the band played to a packed house at City Hall, with progressive rock act Three opening the show. During the three years in-between, City Hall closed its doors for good. The second time saw the band co-headlining with Coheed & Cambria, playing to a sold-out crowd at the War Memorial Auditorium with The Dear Hunter opening the show.
Progressive rock band The Dear Hunter, masterminded by Casey Crescenzo and backed by a talented bunch of musicians, made quite an impression on Nashville with their opening half-hour set. With three albums to their name already, The Dear Hunter launched into their set and played pieces from all three. Coming to Nashville as a rather obscure act, the audience response was mostly swaying and head-nodding at first. By the end of the (unfortunately) short set, Nashville was convinced of The Dear Hunter’s abilities.
War Memorial Auditorium has both a balcony and a ground floor. In-between sets, floories would occasionally head up to the balcony to see the view and decide if they were concerned about moshing during Porcupine Tree or not. Frequent concert-goers knew better and stayed on the floor, knowing that there’s rarely more than headbanging and moving around at progressive shows.
For Porcupine Tree’s set, contrary to rumors of the band playing through their entire latest album, ‘The Incident’, the band decided to work fan favorites in with songs from ‘The Incident’ and the previous album, ‘Fear of a Blank Planet’. PT opened with “Occam’s Razor/The Blind House/Great Expectations/Kneel and Disconnect”, starting things off with a bang and leaving the purely Coheed fans a bit nervous, not knowing what to expect. Inbetween songs, frontman Steven Wilson introduced the band, saying “Coheed fans – We are Porcupine Tree.” It was obvious the Coheed fans outnumbered the PT fans, which may have been what PT was hoping for. If the goal was to make Coheed fans into PT fans as well, tonight was the night.
The auditorium, for sounding as reverb-heavy as the inside of a gigantic shower, actually didn’t sound that terrible during Porcupine Tree’s set. The band played tightly through a set list that included such songs as “Sleep Together”, “Fear of a Blank Planet”, “Anesthetize”, “The Séance/Circle of Manias”, “Way Out of Here”, and fan favorites like “Open Car” and “Trains.” The band also went back in their discography to play “Russia On Ice.” All in all, it was a stellar performance which left the Nashville audience clapping and yelling minutes afterwards.
Co-headliners Coheed & Cambria were up shortly after. If one thing was obvious about the show, it was that this was a Coheed crowd. The fans were positively fervent. Coheed played a set list spanning most of their albums, but skipping the radio hit of “A Favor House Atlantic.” During much of the songs, the audience could be heard singing over frontman Claudio Sanchez. On one delicate song, with just Claudio playing acoustic guitar, he stepped away from the microphone at the ending to let the audience sing one entire chorus back to him. Since this was my first time seeing Coheed live, it gave me chills to see such audience love. After a key point in the set, Coheed left the stage to chants of “Coheed! Coheed!”, returning after a minute for a five-song encore, ending the show on a high note.
Nashville had gotten its fix for now and wasn’t left wanting. The attendance was enough to show the bands this wasn’t just a Country music town.
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