It’s not often that I get the chance to review a live concert DVD. I have my own small collection of favorites, and with many bands not being able to tour the USA, live concert DVDs are often the only way I’ll ever get to experience their shows. I know I’m not alone in this predicament. Kscope is getting ready to release a DVD/Blu-ray for The Pineapple Thief on September 29th, and I’m very happy to say that the release is quite impressive from multiple standpoints.
The Pineapple Thief are pretty well known in the progressive rock world, and last year’s “Your Wilderness” made waves, even on my own list of favorites. Their brand of atmospheric, modern prog rock had never sounded better! Now, they are releasing a DVD filmed in London from the album tour, and they’ve named it “Where We Stood”, in classic TPT fashion. They are releasing it with several different options, from a standalone Blu-ray to vinyl to a 4-disc pack that includes a 48-page book. However you choose to experience it, the show itself is stellar.
Right out of the gate, the performances here are stunning. We get to see Bruce Soord (vocals, guitar), Jon Sykes (bass), and Steve Kitch (keys) team up with the legendary Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) on drums and Darran Charles (Godsticks) on lead guitar for a night of tight playing, atmospheric instrumentals, and vibrant (pink) colors. The band plays like they have been performing together forever, which a few of them practically have.
More specifically, Bruce really wows with his vocals and acoustic guitar skills. His voice is picture perfect and emotional, and he sounds almost exactly like the studio recordings. Jon’s bass and Steve’s keys also play major roles, with lots of grooves and ambient accents and rhythms being common throughout the show. Darran Charles is pretty under-appreciated as a guitarist, too, as you can see his tight soloing skills several times throughout the night. And, of course, it’s always a pleasure to see the methodically off kilter performances of Gavin Harrison on drums. The drums cam is directly above him at times, so you really get to see him go to town on the set.
The set list includes a generous helping of tracks from the new album, as well as some of my favorites from their discography. The highlights for me personally are “Nothing at Best” and “Reaching Out”, two older tracks that happen to be my favorite songs by the band. The former is bright and crisply played with lots of electronic accent, as it should be. The latter is probably my favorite performance of the show, with lots of atmospheric musings and drawn out emotions. “The Final Thing on my Mind” and “In Exile” are my favorites played from the new album, and they sound fantastic and climax beautifully.
“Where We Stood” is not necessarily your normal live concert release, though. Strewn throughout the show are interviews with the band members as they lounge in the lobby of some building somewhere. We get to hear lots of insights about the band’s name and history, plus lots of jabs they make at each other. The interviews are short, interesting, and pretty funny at times. Overall, they break up the show to where the experience feels more like a documentary or film than just a live video. I wish more bands would structure their DVD/Blu-ray releases this way.
As with any release, there are some negative points, but mine here are mainly just nitpicks. I generally like it when a DVD/Blu-ray labels each song onscreen as it begins, but this one doesn’t feature anything like that. Additionally, the promo track list is really messed up (you’ll notice this on Kscope’s site, too), so that made following the show for this review a little difficult. The actual physical release will probably clear that up somewhat. Additionally, throughout the show, I could not help but feel like the keys were not mixed well with the other instruments, not until the last half of the concert, at least. Some of the punchier, more forceful moments of certain songs don’t have as much impact because the keyboard melodies couldn’t be heard clearly. Like I said, that clears up by the end of the show, though.
Overall, this is an above average live release. “Where We Stood” is probably one of the most enjoyable live DVD/Blu-rays I’ve ever watched, mainly due to the way they have worked the interviews into the show itself. I find that this release will have a high re-watchability factor because it flows so well. For fans of The Pineapple Thief, this release is an absolute must. For someone who might be curious about the band, this release is a fantastic introduction into what has become a wonderful discography of work.