Riverside … on Riverside (Drive, that is)

Riverside at Come and Take It Live, Austin, TX, February 22, 2023

Members of the band helpfully direct concertgoers to the venue

Sometime in the mid-to-late 00’s, I was surfing the internet looking for new music.  I happened upon this Polish band named Riverside who was creating a lot of buzz in the prog community.  I ended up purchasing their second album, and have been a fan ever since.  Unfortunately, the chance to see them never seemed to materialize, as what little touring they did in the U.S. never seemed to be near my home.  That almost changed in February 2022, when Riverside had a show scheduled here in Austin.  But almost as quickly as it was scheduled, it was canceled for some reason.  They promised on Facebook they would make it on the next tour, and I crossed my fingers.  And almost a year to the date after their originally scheduled show, they delivered on that promise.

Appearing at a venue with one of the most Texas names ever, Come and Take It Live (which, serendipitously, is located on East Riverside Drive in Austin), the band put on a two hour show that was just about flawless.  The setlist was quite interesting, and if there is such a thing as a concept album, I suppose this show could have been called a concept concert.  The band performed six of the seven songs off of their latest album, ID. Entity (I’m Done With You being the lone exception).  A number of other songs dovetailed nicely with the theme of ID. Entity.  These songs included the show opener #Addicted (from Love, Fear, and the Time Machine), Left Out and Egoist Hedonist (from Anno Domini High Definition), and We Got Used to Us (from Shrine of New Generation Slaves). Outside of that, the only two songs that didn’t really fit in thematically with the rest of the set were O2 Panic Room (from Rapid Eye Movement) and Conceiving You (from Second Life Syndrome). 

The performances were as excellent as one would expect from this group of musicians, delivered with high energy and intensity.  Delivery of Egoist Hedonist and Left Out were especially powerful, both including jams that extended their respective durations over their studio counterparts.  Mariusz Duda, in addition to being a great player, was engaging with the audience, and proved to be every bit the cool guy I had the good fortune of interviewing three times during my days at Progarchy.  The Duda indeed abides. 

The other musicians were in top form as well.  I continue to be impressed with Maciej Meller’s ability to play the parts of Piotr Grudziński with the right balance between faithfulness to the original and his own individual style.  Michał Łapaj was in the zone all show long, playing to the high standards prog fans expect of their keyboard heroes.  And Piotr Kozieradzki did not disappoint on drums.

In addition to enjoying the show myself, I managed to introduce Riverside to a friend and co-worker I brought along, one who is as much of a prog-head as I.  He left impressed, and was enticed by the lyrics of ID. Entity enough to spend $100 on a special edition of the album that included the main disk, the bonus disk, a 5.1 surround sound disk, vinyl-sized artwork, and booklet.  That’s a pretty nice way to start a journey of discovery of the Riverside catalog.  I’m kind of envious that he’s going to get to hear all their music for the first time.

It’s a few days after the show as I write this, but I’m still buzzing.  Their performance was so good, so tight, so energetic, and just so much fun.  There are a few other Riverside fans that contribute to this site, and a few more that read it.  So if their tour manages to stop close by, I highly recommend you go see them.  You will not be disappointed.