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24 February, 2005

Blackfield blocked

Blackfield, the collaboration between Steven Wilson and Aviv Geffen, have been obliged to abbreviate their planned US tour in March.  Shows featuring the five-member electric band have had to be replaced with a smaller number of concerts given by just SW and Geffen, playing acoustically.  The reason?  Unexpected overwhelming difficulties in obtaining visas to work in the USA.  The band have said that if they'd known, they wouldn't have booked a tour at all.

I've posted about this issue of visas for musicians before, but coincidentally, the Guardian covered it too last Wednesday.

One slight compensation is that the difficulties may be resolved in time for Blackfield to support SW's other band, Porcupine Tree at a few shows on their tour in May/June. Sources close to Porcupine Tree have stressed that this would only be at specific concerts, and that Blackfield wouldn't be supporting the whole tour.

Credit is due to them for not being deterred by the hostility of the US immigration authorities. Many others would have - understandably - decided not to bother with 'Fortress USA' again.

Incidents like this can only reflect badly on the USA. I know that I regarded the country... less than favourably until I visited New York last Oct-November and gained a little more appreciation of something I already knew: that the US people aren't the US government, and the former shouldn't be penalised for the activities of the latter. Yet from here in the UK, we only get to see the ugly external face, which is a shame.

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