The Pineapple Thief: Where We Stood (DVD/CD)
We all like a live release, don't we? However, if you're anything like me, once you've given the chosen show a few watches and listens, it's a band's studio work that continues to draw you back in a way that (with a few exceptions from the 70s) live releases never really do. The wonderfully titled Where We Stood may well be the modern day exception. Since teaming up with Kscope for their 2010 album Someone Here Is Missing, The Pineapple Thief's star has been on an ever higher trajectory, Bruce Soord and a gently evolving backing band continually knocking on the door of the room set aside for the leaders of the pack. Along the way there have been a few accusations of sell out, scene chasing and playing the popularity game. When did writing songs people like become such a crime?? Released in 2016, Your Wilderness was the band's fourth Kscope offering, the technical edge some craved infused into what was a set of songs you could still clap, hum and even if you're some sort of madman sing along with (the very thought!). Amazingly for a band whose catalogue stretches back to 1999, Where We Stood is their first full, all singing, all dancing (you can do that to their music too
well some of it) 'concert film', where a myriad of blu-ray, DVD, CD options are available with a variety of content included.
Here I've been lucky enough to experience the "basic" DVD/CD set that contains the 15 song show the band performed to a packed London Islington Assembly Hall in February 2017, in both audio and visual formats. Although in truth, the DVD (and I presume blu-ray) really is the way to go. Shot with 15 different cameras, the images are crystal clear, while there are also some brave directorial choices - the camera at Soord's feet being violently shaken, for example, for a second or two during a couple of the more frenetic moments (it works way better than you'd imagine). While the decision to put a camera directly above the drum kit so you get a bird's eye view of the percussive masterclass ex-Porcupine Tree man Gavin Harrison is laying out, is inspired. Honestly, why more live DVDs don't have this, I'll never know. Thankfully the direction also allows the camera to linger where it looks, none of the fast cuts and 60 angles a minute stuff that becomes rather dizzying. Instead you get a good idea of who is playing what - and how. However, where things do veer off into unsure territory is when you realise that what is meant by WWS being a 'concert film', is that as the show unfolds, so it is interspersed with interviews with the different members of the band, as they tell the story of how The Pineapple Thief began and how they came to be where they are now. It's interesting stuff and even as a fan, I discovered some new information, but it does have a negative impact on the flow and feel of the show itself. Thankfully, the opportunity to watch the live performance without the accompanying words is also a welcome menu option.
Unsurprisingly focused on the band's more recent material, seven Your Wilderness cuts are aired as guitarist and vocalist Soord, keyboard man Steve Kitch, bassist Jon Sykes and the pair of exalted guests, Harrison on drums and Godsticks guitarist Darren Charles, display their jaw dropping wares. However, with "Part Zero" from 2003's Variations On A Dream and "Snowdrops" from three years later's Little Man also receiving an airing, all eras of the band are almost covered to some extent; two of the strongest songs, "Show A Little Love" and set closer "Nothing At Best" coming from 2010's Someone Here Is Missing.
Extras on the basic DVD/CD set come in the shape of "Tear You Up" in live acoustic style, the official video of "In Exile" and lyric video for "No Man's Land", alongside a short Where We Stood Documentary and 'Making Of "In Exile"' vignette. Although the full 4 disc set (2 CD/ blu-ray/DVD) adds a new mix of the 8 Years Later mini-album (only previously available in the deluxe Your Wilderness set) and a further 5 acoustic tracks and various sound choices for not just Where We Stood, but also Your Wilderness (phew!). No Pineapple Thiefer could want for more.
Most importantly however, the audio and visual main event are utterly superb and indispensable for a fan of the band. In fact, I'd go further than that. With many of the versions presented here bettering the original studio recordings, this may well be the strongest statement from The Pineapple Thief yet.
1. Tear You Up
2. The One You Left To Die
3. No Man's Land
4. Alone At Sea
5. That Shore
6. Reaching Out
7. In Exile
8. Take Your Shot
9. Show A Little Love
10. Fend for Yourself
11. Part Zero
12. Simple As That
13. The Final Thing On My Mind
15. Nothing At Best
Added: October 21st 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Where We Stood at Kscope
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