Wouter Bessels -
Voyage 31 Porcupine Tree en Steven Wilson in Nederland

(Book April 2019, Permafrost Publishers, ISBN 978-90-826893-2-7)

(Book Review)

Language: Dutch

Permafrost Publishers

This review is about a book which was written by former Background Magazine reviewer and editor Wouter Bessels. It was probably done in the Dutch language because it sums up all of the things that happened to Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson in the Netherlands. The title mentioned can be translated into Voyage 31 - Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson in the Netherlands.

Reading the whole book was for me a fantastic experience, most of all because I am not that familiar with all of the musical activities of Steven Wilson. Of course, the book mentioned the first concert in the Netherlands at the Nieuwe Pul in Uden in 1994. A concert which was only attended by approximately 30 people. At time Porcupine Tree were for most people totally unknown. Probably the second concert, done at the legendary Planet Pul Festival in Uden, will be remembered by more progheads. It was also the first time I heard anything from Porcupine Tree. But it didn't impress me that much and I didn't follow the career of Mr. Wilson from that moment on. But Wouter did. However later on I became interested when Steven released several excellent progressive rock albums as a solo artist. I guess many with me loved him even more because during his last visit to the Netherlands at the AFAS in 2018 6000 fans welcomed him on stage.

But to read how he went on this journey to become such a major important artist in the progressive rock scene was really interesting for me and probably for many fans as well. Bessels talks about all of his releases both solo and with bands such as Porcupine Tree, No-Man, IEM, Bass Communion and Blackfield. He does this always telling us what happened during those releases in the Netherlands. The concerts he did at the time and parts of several album reviews in Dutch magazines are mentioned as well.

Reading the personal memories of people who worked with Wilson, such as several band members, room owners, booking agencies, people directly involved but also fans, enthusiasts and eyewitnesses of live performances, gives a bit of an inside view of how things went during all those years he was in our country. Looking at all the pictures, concert tickets, concert posters and memorabilia from that period gives the book something extra. Sometimes it was too bad the pictures were to small. But making them bigger would make them less bright.

Maybe it's too bad the book was only published in the Dutch language. Written in English, it would even attract more readers without any doubt. But I am sure even if you can't read a word in Dutch the book is still worth buying if you are a fan of Steven Wilson. The many rare pictures in the book certainly makes it a collectors item. The author can certainly be proud with what he achieved with this fantastic book. The many years he archived everything of Wilsons were certainly well spent. Doing his own research with people who worked with him and the various interviews with Steven Wilson resulted in a book which is a true document of more than 25 years of progressive rock history. Bravo!

**** Henri Strik (edited by Dave Smith)

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