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Marillion - Anorak in the UK Live CD (album) cover





3.71 | 80 ratings

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4 stars the real Live-Experience...

to say it first: I have only the retail-shop ( EMI - ) version of this album, so my review can only be about this ( I'm still unable to order CDs from the internet myself due to several reasons that do not belong here, so I have to rely on the retail-releases ), but although this release doesn't feature any tracks from the albums "This Strange Engine", "Radiation" and" ( and, you oughta know from my reviews, I really love them ), it surely is the Live-Album I'd been hoping for ( since "Made Again" was a disappointment for me ). The answer to that, imo, important question that somehow accompanies every Live-Release: "Did this scream to be released ?" has got be a joyous "YES..." and, you can add for yourself, "...very loudly !". So I hope what I'm saying about most of this 10 tracks is also valid for the ones from the double-disc I haven't heard yet ( if not... well, as long as the single-cd is on sale, at least you get the bonus of "Easter" when you decide to buy it additionally... and if anybody wants to gift me the double disc they can contact me here :lol: be sure it's very welcome, but no CD-R copy, please ).

It's fabulous. It's everything a fan can expect from a Live-Album, capturing all the energy and feeling of the event without taking swabs. And the sound is fine - this time. "Seperated out", "Quartz", "Between you and me", "If my heart were a ball" and, absolute highlight here, "King" are delivered in fierce performances, even "Map of the World" starts breathing fire here. Although that one is "only" a "Pop-Song" its uplifting message and feel, already present on "Anoraknophobia", is being increased by the passionate performance of the band. "Between you and me" became a live-favorite ever since, and though I'm missing the piano a bit ( the lovely intro is missing and some sequential parts have been done with synth-sounds here - but to great effect ), I can truly understand why... perhaps some listeners needed that "extra-punch" in order to recognize how good a rock-song it is... - me, I knew it before. But what I didn't know was how good "Seperated out" and "King" really are - made to knock you off your feet. To tell you the truth ( well, I'm honestly trying to with everything I'm typing down here, if not to say always ): I was a bit disappointed when I read the track-listing first ( hence, read my review to "Real to Reel" and get one more proof for what I said there about "Live Albums from the first category" - it's determined to put a smile on your face ). And what scared me the most about it was "King".

"Why on earth... who needs another version of this when there could have been place for so many other, far better songs ?" All of you who shake their heads when reading that question - the very one that went through my head immediately - I'm begging you for forgiveness, cause by listening to it the answer was "ME !", and the answer could not have been any more distinctive... it's a bomb, it's unbelievable, and I can't say exactly what it is that has "changed" this song so much, but every second seems to be filled with exactly that kind of tension and power that was missing on the original recording ! And the words start cutting through your soul now... just the way that Hogie is howling them out, while the storm that's building up until it ends in frightening, claustrophobic cacophony finally makes sense - that must have been what they had in mind when they wrote it. "Seperated out", as the very start of this experience, had already set the tone for the whole Live-Album and, as another one of which I thought "why did they pick just that ?", it sent me raving. Listen to that Organ ! It's unashamedly quoting the Doors and giving the thunderous rocker it became here a spicy cap of cream... while you ought to feel what it means to be "Seperated out" as Hogie screams for his life, all the anger, all the pain... and the violence.

"Quartz", announced as "a real Live One", holds the pace before you can take a little breather with "Map of the World", but not as much as you may have expected cause - as I have written already - it's more than just "easy listening" here, it's got more belly and swing. During the performance of "Out of this World" - tighter than on AOS but no less impressive - you can feel that this is one of the band's best loved pieces by both, the audience and themselves, as the atmosphere keeps dropping out of the speakers like fog and we, once more, accompany the man it was written about on his uncanny, final ride, reliving those imaginary words of his begging wife... i didn't mention it before, but the lyrics are just great... you know, I think of this one as a connection of ( very beautiful ) musical fragments, but here, in concert, the band is keeping them together as if they were a song, so it's a ( shorter ) epic now.

After "Between you and me" there comes a celebration of "The great Escape" that encapsulates the spirit of a true meeting of artist and fans like it only can happen in Concert. See, normally I want to hear the singer doing his job and not the audience taking over the lead. You may be with me about this. It's not always welcome to hear the crowd taking over when you're at a concert or listening to a Live-Album, or is it ? Sometimes the ritual is meant to help overshadow that the singer's shape could be better - and if that's so, one can't help but feel dissatisfied. But when it happens just like it has happened here - and you love the song just as much - it starts sending shivers up and down your spine, so moving it is... almost as if you're standing in that crowd, so you catch yourself joining the choir ! It may even be an illusion but... as Hogie holds his mic into the crowd you don't see him do that as "the Rock star" when you hear it. You imagine the man listening in awe, standing there like a little child that cannot believe what's happening, and, with all his heart, treasuring the moment of receiving an answer that every artist ( and writer ) is hoping for: "We DO understand, we're WITH you, we're feeling the same, and every word of it is true." Pure magic. If it's an illusion then, well, this illusion may just be what it's all about... the writing, the singing, the playing, the gigging... and once you're in there, lost and found in the feel of communion, it doesn't matter that - technically - one or the other part of the music could have been played more perfect. That's what the difference between Live- and Studio-Version is for. Next is "King" - climax.

"If my heart were a ball", the "Jam" ( as I called it ), was supposed to work even better in Concert than it did in the studio, and, of course, it does - and because it's more a Jam than a song, by now the disc has got the feel of "Here we're in an encore-section", and "Waiting to happen" just like "Easter" sound as if they followed the ending ( ! ), as if they weren't rehearsed for the show but added because no one wanted it to end... neither the audience, nor the artists. This means that those two tracks make an exception on that disc, cause here you don't get the band playing so tight, no, it started to become a bit loose and, whereas other tracks have been held together in perfection, these two start falling apart. I quite like it, but that's the only reason for a fifth star missing, cause certainly there's better ( Live- ) recordings of those songs to be found. But a Live-Album better than this one is not so easy to find - there are, but there aren't a hundred if you know what I mean. It's a real Live-Experience. And, for Fans of this band, absolutely essential.

rupert | 4/5 |


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