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Marillion - From Stoke Row To Ipanema  - A Year In The Life (DVD) CD (album) cover





3.68 | 61 ratings

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Cygnus X-2
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars As we come out of the Fish era of Marillion and Hogarth is ushered in to the forefront, we are swept away from sprawling epics about monsters storming Heorote and how truly fugazi our world is and we are taken to a place where Easter is a time for the blind to see and Steve Hogarth is the King of Sunset Town. While stylistically different in vocal approach than Fish, Hogarth is able to carry a tune with a soulful and emotional vocal that hits higher notes than Fish could, but Fish was always better in the lower registers. But this review isn't about the differences in Hogarth and Fish vocally, is it? No, it's about the first live video from Marillion with Hogarth at the helm. This two disc affair could have easily fit onto a single disc, which is what I see as the main fault here (not to mention a lack of Fish material pre-Clutching at Straws), but other than that it's a pretty well performed concert and a pretty informative pseudo documentary about Hogarth joining the band, Seasons End, and even a sneak peek at Holidays in Eden.

The first disc of this set is a 50 minute documentary encompassing all that had occured to Marillion in the late 80s. Hogarth describes his roots in music, working with The Europeans and How We Live, and then almost becoming a milkman before trying out for Marillion. You'll also get the rest of the band's take on this whole situation and how they saw the fans deal with Hogarth. The cool thing about this disc is that all the videos from Seasons End are here (Easter, Uninvited Guest, Hooks in You). Now, Marillion was never a great band in the music video realm, but the video for Easter is rather nice and Uninvited Guest has its moments, but Hooks In You... that's another story. For this video, if you had never heard Marillion before, youd've that they were a pop metal band in the vein of Poison or Motley Crue. Anyway, I would have liked to have seen a more in depth analysis in the songs of Seasons End because there are many interesting bits and pieces throughout that album. Also included is a set of footage from a festival in Brazil in which Marillion performed. The video quality isn't great at all (but the band apologizes via a scrolling message, saying that it took 8 months to get the footage, and they are sorry for the poor quality), same with the audio, but the band plays with such life and vigor it's amazing.

The second disc is a full on performance from the Seasons End tour. Opening with King of Sunset Town and closing with a rollicking version of Market Square Heroes, what you'll find here is Seasons End in its entirety with bits of Fish era songs in it as well. I would have liked there to have been more Fish material, though, as Hogarth's versions of that era of Marillion are interesting (although they don't really compare to Mr. Dick). I really enjoy Rothery on this disc, he plays some of the best lead and riff work I've ever heard, and here he's no slouch. The audio for this disc is crisp and all the group can be heard well. The video is also good, but it's not what I'll call technically brilliant. A live innovation used during this tour was the use of Midi gloves from Hogarth to play extra keyboard parts to give the group a fuller sound (a full explanation of how they work can be found on disc one), but he doesn't use them much throughout the performance, the only prominent song in which they are used in Uninvited Guest. In the end, though, this disc is a fine concert, well performed and well recorded.

In the end, From Stoke Row to Ipanema is a fun and informative watch for any Marillion aficionado. Despite the first disc not going terribly in depth on each individual track on Seasons End, and the less than perfect video quality on the second disc, there is a lot to be enjoyed here. I'd recommend it to Marillion fans first and foremost, but I think it's an excellent dvd on the whole. 4/5.

Cygnus X-2 | 4/5 |


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