First live performance 4th Dec 1993

by Porcupine Tree



An almost complete recording of the first ever live performance of Porcupine Tree. After the newly assembled band line-up had rehearsed for one week, they played 4 times in quick succession. This nervous but spirited show at a sold-out Nag's Head club in High Wycombe was the first, followed by a BBC radio session, and modestly attended shows in London and Coventry.

The recording was made directly to DAT from the mixing board, so as with any board tape the balance is not perfect, but the quality is excellent. Radioactive Toy, Up the Downstair (extract), and Not Beautiful Anymore were previously included on a limited cassette/vinyl album Spiral Circus, which also contained music from the BBC session and London shows.

"The day itself was cold and blustery. I arrived at the High Wycombe venue with enough spare time to visit the merchandise table. I bought an album from it and returned it to my car for safe keeping.

The room itself was up a flight of stairs and the first thing I noticed was that it was a period styled room. Tudor type in design. I couldn't help but notice that it contained a lot of old timber.

The rumour was that the gig had sold out, and clearly it had drawn people from far and wide. I decided I had better get myself a decent viewing position close to the stage. As the crowd grew, so you could sense, did expectations.

From my vantage point Richard Barbieri was directly in front of me surrounded by keyboards on at least two sides, possibly three. Colin Edwin was on my far right. Chris Maitland, who was almost hidden from view, was at the back of the stage and Steven Wilson front and centre.

From memory the gig was, understandably, all slightly edgy. Steven played almost the entire concert with his head bowed and his long hair hanging. It all made for what I thought was a great image. Little did I realise that Steven was extremely nervous. Richard showed no real emotion throughout. He was very stern faced. It was only Colin that had any expression at all as he seemed to wear a partial smile throughout the entire gig.

I cannot recall very much interaction between band and audience, but as the first moments of 'Voyage 34' rang out, the band came across as highly committed to the task in hand. This was undoubtedly an extremely competent, committed and enjoyable debut. I came away from that gig hugely impressed, feeling it was a resounding success.

I am not surprised that this is being written. Not necessarily by myself but certainly by someone who attended that first gig. I just always knew it would be. Such, was its importance."

(Peter Clemons, October 2019)


released March 16, 2020

Richard Barbieri - Synthesisers, Keyboards
Colin Edwin - Bass guitar
Chris Maitland - Drums
Steven Wilson - Guitar, Vocals

Recording made my Mike Bearpark onto a Casio DA-2 DAT machine plugged directly into the mixing desk. Restored by SW 2020. Fadeaway was also performed at the show, between Radioactive Toy and Up the Downstair, but due to issues with the source tape could not be included here.

Audio resolution: 44.1K / 24 bit


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Porcupine Tree London, UK

Porcupine Tree is a UK rock band that started in 1987 as a solo project by songwriter Steven Wilson, but then from 1993 until their last shows in 2010 became a full band. During that time they earned critical acclaim from critics and fellow musicians, developed a cult following, and became an influence for a generation of artists combining song craft, heavy riffs and textural ambience. ... more

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