Ever since I picked up my ticket towards the arse-end of June, I’d been on the verge of exploding with excitement for one reason only: I was finally going to see my biggest musical hero. An unashamed fan of this god among men, my brain screamed in excitement to see the one and only Devin Townsend, live and in the flesh. Despite lining up almost four hours early, I didn’t actually get to meet the dude, which cut me up. One of my friends did though, the prick. But, all in all, it was an amazing experience that goes up as the best night of my life so far. But that’s enough gushing.
It’s time to tell you all about it.
First thing’s first: the sound was excellent. After the abysmal sound at Festival Hall, larger venues kind of have a bad impression in my mind. I was at the barrier the whole time, and usually the sound up there is pretty shite, but The Palace managed to pull it off really well. I was half-expecting this, after seeing Opeth and Katatonia at the iconic venue only a few months previously. The vocals could have been a bit louder but that’s only a minor grievance — they were definitely audible and the whole band was right on point.
Opening the night were Melbourne’s up-and-comers, Ne Obliviscaris. The progressive black metal group admittedly wouldn’t have been my choice to open. They’re a great band and I really like them, I just don’t think they fit very well. Toehider were supporting DTP for Brisbane and Sydney, and with good reason — they’re a fucking phenomenal band that fit more with Devy’s style. I think it would have been a nice thing if they were the national support. Maybe that’s just me, though.
That minor detail aside, NeO were probably the best I’ve seen them. For the life of me, I can’t remember the set list, but I certainly remember “And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope.” With the brilliant sound The Palace was capable of producing, NeO were really in their element, and they used the venue to their full advantage. It wouldn’t surprise me if they gained a few fans that night. They put on the best show I’ve seen them do, and after their recent Asia tour, they were pumped and ready to play for their home crowd again. It was great to see them back here full throttle.
After a lengthy setup softened by Devin’s mix of viral videos and Vengaboys over the sound systems, gradually The Devin Townsend Project took the stage. Finally, at long last I was seeing my idol. For the entire night I was a mess of singing, dancing and being a general goof. It was great to see a lot of stuff from Infinity and the DTB albums, I just wish there was more Ziltoid and Deconstruction, but only because they’re my favourite Devy albums. I didn’t go in expecting that they would play any SYL stuff, and I was right. To be honest, I didn’t mind much. I have the SYL vinyl box, that’s good enough for me.
As for the actual performances, it’s what I’d come to expect from Devy; nothing short of amazing. It was great to see the whole band up there just jamming out and having a laugh. Dave Young and Brian Waddell were awesome as well, and just looked happy to be there. Ryan van Poederooyen (I almost typed “poo dryin’”) was phenomenal. The whole band meshed together really well. I wonder if they’ll stay his live band as he goes on with Z2 and Casualties?
Maybe. That’d be cool.
After playing War, there was a slight interlude filled with a rant by Ziltoid, who then challenged Devin to a guitar duel. Devin having a guitar duel with himself was hilarious and awesome all at once, especially as he casually guitar-wanked into oblivion and, not even looking at his guitar, shouted at the crowd “But it’s all just bullshit! It doesn’t mean anything!” Which of course led to “Planet Smasher.” Jammed the fuck out.
I don’t even have any highlight moments. The whole thing was so beautiful. Tears were shed. I sang along to every song, I jammed out to every song; I was so caught up in the experience of seeing my biggest idol ever to be able to look at it with a very critical eye. This article is going to be biased as FUCK but who cares, man? Devin is a genius, and put on the best gig of my life. I can only imagine how “The Retinal Circus” and the “By a Thread” shows were for those who were there. I am so envious it hurts, now, after experiencing him live, more than ever.
I essentially have nothing more to add than what has already been said. If you have the opportunity, go see Devin. It will, without a doubt in my mind, be the best live experience ever. And check out Ne Obliviscaris and Toehider if you haven’t already.
In fact, why haven’t you? Go do that shit. Right now.
Next week I’m seeing Stratovarius at Billboard, so stay tuned for that as well.
The Devin Townsend Project set list:
4. Save Our Now
(Guitar duel between Devin and Ziltoid)
10. Planet Smasher
13. Bad Devil
16. Let it Roll/Grace
18. Lucky Animals
20. Deep Peace