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Marillion - The Thieving Magpie - La Gazza Ladra CD (album) cover





3.84 | 288 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars ..and it's goodbye from him!

Marillion have had the decency over the years to restrict their live album output, with this and "Made again" being their only serious forays into that field. (I am discounting other products such as "Reel to Real", which appear to be retrospective cash in projects by their labels.)

While the original double LP version included the whole of side one of "Misplaced childhood", the CD version is extended to include both sides. This review is based on the original double LP.

If "Made again" represents the work of the current line up well, "The Thieving Magpie" is a worthy record of the band's Fish era performances. The event opens in true prog fashion (per "Yessongs" among many others), with a recorded rendition of the classical title piece (originally titled "La Gazza ladra") by the opera composer Gioacchino Rossini. This moves stright into the appearance of the band, and we're off with "Slàinte Mhath" from the "Clutching at Straws" album.

The track selections cross the four official Fish era studio albums, but puzzlingly room is not found for the non album track "Market square heroes", which was always a live favourite. While there is in doubt these performances are live, there is little variation from the studio originals. The rendition of "Part 1" of "Misplaced Childhood" (up to "Heart of Lothian") is superb, with a majesty to Rothery's guitar work in particular which does go beyond even the studio version.

Clearly the tour during which this album was recorded must have been difficult. "Clutching at straws" was a thinly veiled farewell album for Fish, the lyrics of a number of the songs reflecting both his personal issues and those he had with the rest of the band. "The Thieving Magpie" does serve well though, as a fitting epitaph to this all too brief part of the band's existence.

Having the LP version is a real bonus when it comes to the packaging. The wonderful gatefold sleeve illustration is a collage of images from the band's early albums, the four faces of the inner sleeves each being dedicated to one of the four albums. There are a myriad of band photos on each sleeve too.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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