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Marillion - Popular Music CD (album) cover





3.50 | 35 ratings

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4 stars What an EXCELLENT Live set!

When last month offered a March Sales Madness, I purchased "Popular Music" as bonus CD with very good deal of discount on my purchase of Marillion's "Wish You Were Here" DVD (4 disc). Actually I was not interested to have the CD because of two response: First I read some a review about this CD on the net and found only "good" rating ; Second, I was not interested at all with the cover artwork - it's not prog at all. I got confused with the "focus" of the camera shot: is it the trees or the tents that became the focus? The cover also reminds me, pictorially, to the cover artwork of The Tangent "A Place In The Queue" but with different standard with the latter being the top class one! Bravo Ed Unitsky! So why bother buying this live set? But .. because the price is so good, I purchased it anyway.

The two packages containing 3 DVDs and "Popular Music" audio CD were received yesterday and the first thing I opened was the audio CD because it's easier to enjoy as it requires only ears. At first spin I was stunned and did not believe what I heard because it's in fact an excellent record - not just "good". The live set which was recorded Live at Marillion Weekend 2003, Minehead, England, Saturday 15th March 2003, starts off with an ambient "A Few Words for the Dead" continued excellently with "Dry Land" where Rothery gives nice guitar work. I remember the early days of Marillion where this kind of guitar work was the norm. What makes me stunned is the band's performance on "When I Meet God" which I think is really excellent especially the very long guitar solo by Steve Rothery. Great job, Steve! I really enjoy it. It makes an excellent live ambient.

Another surprise is when Fish era tune "White Russian" is performed. At firs I was not expecting something good having Fish-era tunes being presented here because Fish and Hogarth have different vocal timbre; so I was afraid that Hogarth would not fit Fish's job. But, considering that the rest of the band members were those who played during Fish era I only expected the music - not the vocal. But what I got was surprisingly different because I sensed great emotion from the crowd when they sung together with the band as Hogarth was singing as well. Oh, the live vibes were moving up man! I realize now that even with the current Marillion line-up, the band still has loyal fans coming out from Fish-era Marillion. That's good. This track is performed excellently!

"Estonia" is a Hogarth style music continued with three songs which are performed in a whole, seamlessly, as it appeared at studio version of "Holidays In Eden" album. The first part "This Town" is a rocker with typical guitar riffs and nice oldies guitar solo work which I really enjoy. It continues excellently with "The Rakes Progress" and "100 Nights". "Sugar Mice" which concludes Disc One, again, makes the crowd involved emotionally with the band as they sung along with the band. It's cool!!

Disc Two opens with "Berlin" with powerful Hogarth's voice and early style of guitar work by Rothery; continued with "Warm Wet Circle" from "Clutching At Straw" album. Again, Hogarth performs the song excellently with the crowd. Musically the band plays this oldies exactly the same with those live set in the eighties like "La Gazza Ladra / The Thieving Magpie". Great nostalgia with great music. And.. the crazy crowd sing again and creates a very good live nuance. I even imagine if I were there definitely I sung together with all of them and probably I run to the stage and took the microphone and sung along with Hogarth and the crowd. What a memorable experience!. I imagine myself yelling this lyrics "..with her mother kiss on her first brokenheart .. a warm wet circle" together with the crowd. As was the case with studio version this track continues seamlessly with wonderful clavinet work by Mark Kelly on the opening of "That Time of The Night" by which the lyrics were written by Fish in a hotel during Misplaced Tour, thinking about he was leaving the band - which finally he did.

Hold your thought for a second . take a deep breathe . sit back and relax .if there is a cup of coffee in front of you, take a deep sip and enjoy the smell of that coffee .And then pay attention with the next powerful track performed live (which is I think it's the best of any version of this track live set ever in terms of live vibes!) ."Script for A Jester's Tear"!!! Yup, that legendary track that took the prog music industry by surprise in the year 1983. Once Mark Kelly punched the electric piano "Dhenk!" the crowd sing along together enthusiastically "So here I am once more . In a playground of a broken heart . One more experience one more entry in a diary self penned! Yet another emotional suicide ." Oh MY GOD . the crowd is really FANTASTIC! They are SUPERB!!! They sing with their heart and trajecting the positive energy of the show. I have to admit that this is THE BEST live version of "Script For A Jester's Tear" that I have ever listened to. The live vibe is so so dynamic and energetic! If you are Marillion fan of Fish era, you would definitely enjoy this track! I am sure.

The encore comprises two great tracks: "This Strange Engine" and "The Space". I never heard "This Strange Engine" before but this version is truly wonderful. Performed in a very long duration (22 minutes) it has some lyrics of The Police "Spirits In The Material World" sung with Hogarth ambient style. It's really good. "The Space" is my favorite and this version is really good.

Overall, this is a highly recommended CD set if you are a Marillion fan - be it Fish era or Hogarth era. Overall CD is an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Don't believe with the title of "Popular Music" with the association of poppy stuffs because in this set you would get a lot of prog elements. And don't judge this CD by it's cover! I know, it's terrible one but enjoy the music man! You would love it. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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