On October 27th, Devin Townsend put on a show that his entire career has been leading up to, The Retinal Circus. It was an in depth and honest retrospect on his life and career, with a set-list that touched on nearly his entire discography, and detailing his hardships such as his drug abuse and infidelity with his wife. The songs were held together by a loose story, narrated by Steve Vai. The silly narrative guided the audience through the ins and outs of Devin’s mental states, leading all the way up to his current condition and state of mind.

Surrounding Devin’s introspective look at his life were performances of his most defining tracks — the concert touched on nearly every one of his solo releases. At just over the halfway mark, Steve Vai began to taunt Devin, saying that if he was going to do a complete retrospective of his career, shouldn’t he include everything, instead of conveniently skirting over a certain section of his career? Devin replied that he wasn’t skirting over anything, he just didn’t feel comfortable playing any Strapping Young Lad at this point in his career. Then he said “psych” and was joined on stage by Jed Simons, former guitarist for Strapping Young Lad, as they performed the Strapping Young Lad songs Detox and Love? for the first time in years.

Having been informed of the setlist before the concert, I knew Devin was going to be performing these two songs, but I assumed he would be playing them acoustically as he began doing with Love? not too long ago. But to my surprise, Devin went all out with these songs, and seeing Jed beside him felt so right.

It’s fantastic to see Dev so involved in his past, embracing it. The performances are incredibly accurate, organic and best of all, entertaining. A rip of the show’s livestream was uploaded, but was promptly removed by Century Media. However, you can check out a decent bootleg from the crowd of ‘Love?’ above, with ‘Detox’ below.

-CD

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