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Marillion - Marbles Live CD (album) cover





4.18 | 105 ratings

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3 stars the sore throat...

first of all, I only have the CD-release of this and never listened to the DVD, so... the visual experience is completely missing, and the 5.01 Sound is missing as well. What's left is "Marbles" ( the single disc with one track exchanged ) performed live and not performed badly - concerning the instrumental side. And the addition of an encore that, finally, makes this disc irreplaceable for me - "Estonia" is, in this version, as excellent as any lover of that song can expect it to be, wonderfully hovering somewhere out there, close to the other world that its lyrics refer to.

But, honestly, the widely acclaimed, great Studioalbum that made another live-cd after the breathtaking "Anorak in the UK" such an urgent ( ? ) case, it isn't really executed as great as it could ( and should ) have been in order to make this release a "must have". "The Invisible Man", for once, may be an exception, but although I think that the band's playing is even a bit superior to the studio-version - even this one suffers from Hogie sounding as if his voice was hoarse, and the final mix is lacking a bit of body, perhaps because it's only a "stereo mix-down" of the 5.01 - one, I can't tell.

I really think that during this gig, Steve Hogarth was not at his best with his singing, and that's what finally does not make me put on this disc very often. In many places, though, it's still a good recording, but it has to be said that "You're gone", in particular, is far from being comparable to the great studio-recording, and "Angelina" as well as "Fantastic Place" and "Don't hurt yourself" are suffering from the same problem a bit. It's not that the singing was really bad, but it's sounding too raw and dire and sometimes causes a pain in me... and the "Marbles"-bits are somehow being too separated from the other songs, singled out... although it has to be said that they are being performed close to perfection.

But what's worse is that "Drilling Holes" had been exchanged with the far lesser "The Damage" and "Neverland" fails to be the highlight it was supposed to be, sounding hastened and lacking the great sound ( especially keyboards - should have been far more present in the final mix ) it needs in order to take off. So... while you wait for the ending to be better than most of the rest, you simply feel cheated off it as soon as it arrives, it's a disappointment.

So it has to be asked: Why should this record have been released ? An act of duty ? I can't see it. It's not even belonging to the "second category" of Live-Albums I have described in my review to "Real to Reel". And there's not much enthusiasm or live-atmosphere coming through the speakers as well... no, it's close to being a 2-star only and perhaps the worst Live-Album I've ever heard by Marillion. Seeing it rated even higher than the studio-album and Anorak in the UK ( you're kidding, aren't you ? You MUST be, cause being a devoted fan myself I still just can't see what's so great about this one... is it really me ? Do YOU think Hogie sounds good as ever ? Here ? Not even a BIT sick ? And does "Neverland" take you there just like it does on Album ? Even better ? Honestly ??? I'm only asking... ) once more makes me ask if I got a different copy than others... only... normally it's because of ratings too low to follow, this time, I think, it's simply because "Marbles" itself is such a great one and everybody's so happy he's got his live-rendition now, and thereby becoming a victim of psycho-acoustic-phenomenons, hearing things that aren't there...

I am not, simply because of this: The band can do much better. The man on the mixing-desk as well. The feeling just isn't right, and most of it is due to Hogie's voice ( that, in this condition, could have used some more reverb in order to shine ). I wonder if watching the ( highly rated ) DVD can change my mind. To be honest - I'm still afraid to do so. A concert like this can easily be forgiven, yeah, it may even be treasured a good one if you've been there, as a part of the crowd with all your happiness to see and hear the band you love perform one of your favorite albums in concert, but there's lots and lots of other, better shows that preferably could make it onto record. Maybe they all wanted too much, too soon, too fast and the pressure ( self-produced ) was too high, but I would not have released this one, I'd even prefer "Made again" any time, cause though it suffers from a bad mix - Hogie's voice is in good condition there, nearly indestructible compared to here.

I'm clinging to "Estonia" - with Hogie's voice sounding better than on all the rest. 2.5 stars making it a bare 3-star, sorry.

rupert | 3/5 |


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