Last night was the Hand.Cannot.Erase night – a focused celebration of Steven Wilson’s latest record. Tonight, conversely, is all about the older reaches of his catalogue, including songs from his much‑loved old band Porcupine Tree.
A ‘greatest hits’ or ‘Steven and his famous mates’ affair, however, it’s not. Lord knows it could have been (his professional connections now include King Crimson and Jethro Tull), so there’s something very personal about this selection of connoisseur’s choices, plus a few big-hitters. It’s telling that someone shouts for 2012’s Luminol; lots of Porcupine Tree fans are present, but the strength of Wilson’s solo work has built its own following. Hand.Cannot.Erase singer/Israeli star Ninet Tayeb sings a wonderful Routine, a gut-grabbing, emotional highlight of the night.
Guitarist Guthrie Govan pops in for Drive Home, among others. PT numbers like Open Car recall a time when Wilson was an angstier rock yoof, and sinister projections lend a filmic feel to ‘nu prog’ songs such as Raider II. Finally, PT’s revered drummer Gavin Harrison appears for the encore. Like all of the guests tonight, he’s greeted with a standing ovation. There are a lot of standing ovations.
In a world of Rihanna NME covers and monolithic One Direction tours, it’s nice to know that a sold-out Albert Hall full of punters can greet the niched likes of Wilson, Govan and co. like heroes.