May 27, 2014 Blackfield Make History in NYC 5-1-14 w/ John Wesley
Sometimes goodbye does not need to be a somber event, but a celebration of memories. For progressive rock band Blackfield, it was announced back in February that co-founding member Steven Wilson will be taking part in his last touring cycle with the band around Europe. Completing the European farewell, the band played a special one night North American show in New York City on Thursday May 1st at a jammed packed Best Buy Theater eager to see the historic event.
As direct support for the night, accomplished musician John Wesley took the stage. A seasoned composer with a career that started back in the 1980’s, Wesley felt right at home for this show having been a touring member of Porcupine Tree for nine years. Always crafting new music, Wesley recently released his eighth studio album titled Disconnected in April. Armed with a guitar, Wesley was ready to showcase his music to NYC.
Beginning with the alternative rock feel “Disconnect”, Wesley soothed with his calm singing and guitar playing. Wesley continued through an eight song set that included all songs from Disconnected excluding “New Life Old Sweat” and “Satellite”. The shimmering guitar work put the audience into a tranquil state from start to finish. Wesley’s back of Dean Tidey (guitars), Mark Prator (drums), and Patrick Bettison (Bass) helped set the vibe with solid playing filled with subtle notes. When hearing Wesley perform it is clear the various progressive elements which influence his songwriting from Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour to guitar legend Jeff Beck. The meaningful lyrical content of his songs were brought to life with sincere and affectionate vocals that everyone was attentive to. Check out Wesley as he continues to tour the USA and be enchanted by his thoughtful music.
In between sets everyone anxiously awaited Blackfield to take the stage for the last time with Wilson. Co-founded in 2001 by Wilson and vocalist Aviv Geffen, the Blackfield line-up has remained consistent through the years with Seffy Efrati (bass), Tomer Z (drums), and Eran Mitelman (piano). Making a name for themselves as progressive art rock masters through four albums, including their latest Blackfield IV (2013), their reorganization in music has grown exponentially. With a clear sense of understanding of what was about to happen, fans had known this was a special, rare, and must see concert event.
Taking the stage to an abundant amount of applauds; the show began with new song “Faking”. Laying the groundwork for an extensive performance, a mix of new and older songs followed. Immersed in their performance, the entire band took this audience on a journey through a dream of soundscapes. Geffen’s voice was infallible and the acoustics of his guitar playing matched perfectly. Wilson soaked up each moment on stage, knowing this would be his last with Blackfield. With Wilson taking the lead on vocals for “Pills”, he took matters to the next level and concluded with a roar of cheers.
As the evening moved on, songs like “My Gift of Silence”, “Pain”, and “DNA” were just some of the highlights in the set. The band, completely relaxed in the moment, played through with little breaks in between. This kept the momentum of the show going with no room for dull moments. When Wilson took the lead on vocals again for songs like “Jupiter”, and the incredibly beautiful “1,000 People”, it became more evident that he will be sorely missed as part of Blackfield.
The night appeared to be coming to an end with the song “Hello”, but shortly after the lights went down Geffen and Mitelman appeared back on stage to perform “Glow” together. The encore went on with Wilson and Geffen combining voices again for “End of the World” and the dramatic conclusion of “Cloudy Now” which saw Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess join the band on stage. Cheers and claps poured down with Wilson taking a bow, graciously thanking the audience.
Blackfield truly are a unique band whose contributions to progressive rock music are tremendous. While it is sad to see Wilson perform with the band for the last time, audiences can find comfort in the fact that Blackfield will carry on, and Wilson will as well as he moves forward with new solo material. New York City was the perfect place to hold the only show in the USA for this farewell, and although the unforgettable evening had come to an end, the memories will forever remain engraved inside dedicated fans minds.Photos by Kassandra Carmona