Marillion - Live From Cadogan Hall
It may come as a shock to many but Marillion, who have been together for over thirty years now, are one of the pioneers of the now fashionable trend for fan-funded albums. Those fans can also buy a huge range of material and merchandise direct from the band, safe in the knowledge that little or none of their hard earned cash will get to the hands of The Man. All great and noble traits but after three decades, what is the music still like?
A couple of years ago they released an acoustic album, Less Is More that revisited a selection of songs from the 20 years that Steve Hogarth has been their front man - and this is a record of the final night of the accompanying tour. Sadly, the first of the two discs rather lives up to that title as for, the most part, it is a plodding, ferociously dull run through of songs that are mere shadows of their original selves, with the low point being an appallingly jazz-infused ‘If My Heart Were A Ball’ in which Hogarth really struggles to hit the high notes. Only the epic strains of ‘Quartz’, with Steve Rothery’s brilliant guitar wig-out conclusion and a beautifully fragile, ‘Memory of Water’ save it from complete disaster.
The second disc, however, is a different kettle of fish altogether. Opening with a wonderful take on ‘No One Can’ by a solo Hogarth this second set gradually builds from the aptly title ‘Beautiful’, the organ-led power of ‘This Train Is My Life’ right through to the suitably bouncy main set-closer ‘Gazpacho'. The four song encore that follows is simply the icing on the cake. A stunning, near-folk ‘Easter’ leads through to the audience pleasing finale of ‘Three Minute Boy’ and leaves you smiling and amazed at just how good this band can still be on their day.
Given the low-key nature of this gig it is arguable as to whether the DVD & Blu-Ray are really necessary but, whichever format you choose, there is a great deal to enjoy here and the over-riding feeling is that Marillion, despite have been around for so long, still have plenty to give.