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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Indeed, Marillion are at their best when they're on-stage in front of a crowd of ravenous fans. Filmed live from London's Forum at the end of the Somewhere Else tour, you would expect a half-hearted performance by a road weary band simply going through the motions. Rubbish! That's not the case here with Marillion's new Somewhere In London DVD.

Disc 1: The Somewhere Else Tour - 2007

This disc is full of new songs from Somewhere Else. Thankfully, I think the new album is brilliant, so I embraced the sounds emitted by my headphones. Prior to any new material, the disc begins with Holiday In Eden's "Splintering Heart", which is welcomed by thunderous cheers. The band reciprocates with an absolutely stellar performance, and without easing up on the pedal, they kick you in the teeth with "The Other Half", which is one of the many highlights.

Aside from the already mentioned first track from Somewhere Else, a good chunk of new material is represented. All are fantastic, but the performance of "Somewhere Else" is especially moving and wrought with raw emotion direct from the private side of Hogarth. To this day I smile whenever I hear (or read) somebody say that h is void of emotion. What we get from the man is real...not contrived. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and you feel his pain through this song. A haunting performance, to say the very least.

There are also a few surprises besides "Splintering Heart". Most notably a B-side from Seasons End entitled "The Release". Maybe h doesn't have the range that he once possessed; however, he still manages to hit the power notes while the band powers along stride for stride.

What separates this DVD from previous performances is you get the feeling that you're there at the gig. Crowd shots are mingled in (and I recognize a couple of guys from the Marbles On The Road DVD), with some views from crowd level. The overall mood is celebratory in nature. Heightened even further with the release of confetti-filled balloons during "Between You And Me" (which Mark Kelly had a blast kicking around). It was funny to hear Mark Kelly get booed for hauling in the final balloon, much to the dismay of the crowd. It was all in good fun, however.

Disc 2: Here's Some We Played Earlier

"Ocean Cloud". 'Nuff said. Absolutely killer!

Stirring performance of "Afraid Of Sunlight", which could be the best I've heard. Period. Plus a request by the crowd for "Sugar Mice", which h allowed the crowd to sing a majority of it. The guitar solo is still one of Rothery's best.

Racket Club Rehearsal

Along with some lucky winners from Marillion's online forum, we're invited into the inner sanctum: The Racket Club. The winners seated on the floor, they're treated to a few select tunes in preparation for their appearance on the Bob Harris Show. A little "peculiar" (as h described it) to be performing in front of people, but not really able to move about. With the band taken up in their usual spots they start off with "The Last Century For Man". Probably my least favorite from Somewhere Else, but it still sounded good. "Neverland" was very fun to watch--especially the close up of Rothery's blistering guitar solos for the song. They end with "Faith" and an acoustic version of "See It Like A Baby".

Overall, this could be Marillion's best and most complete DVD. The setting is spectacular, the light show brilliant, and the band were spot on. Even more so, they really enjoy each other and you see their sense of humor. Most notably when h forgot to turn up the volume on Pete's bass during "Faith" and Trewavas had to come over and turn it up for him. Hogarth sheepishly steps to the mic and says, "It's a conspiracy". They're at home on stage and it shows. I can't recommend it enough.

Report this review (#155988)
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Finally got around to watching this DVD and what a joy. We were at one of the shows but ended up sitting half way up the upper circle surrounded by people who seemed to have ants in their pants (a long story why we got there so late involving flying the length of the country and then driving it back). As a result we felt somewhat detatched from the show.

It is therefore a joy to revisit the show. Firstly, it is worth noting that the sound and picture quality is superb. The way in which footage from the crowd is mixed in with shots from on high is excellent. You really do get the feel that you are part of it.

Real pleasures are an outing for the rarity The Release and the superb Neverland - that song remains my most favourite EVER!! The version of Ocean Cloud is spell binding. Great moments are captured when, for instance, Steve Rothery realises that they are going to play 'Sugar Mice' and he was ready to play a different track. Indeed the performance of 'Sugar Mice' was memorable on the night - the entire crowd singing every word and Steve Hogarth only giving the odd clue as to when everyone should sing each verse. With the solos for both 'Sugar Mice' and 'Easter' you have a masterclass in progressive soloing!

The second disc also contains the somewhat bizarre Racket Club Rehearsals. Some lucky people won the opportunity to go to the Racket Club to listen to the band practicing for a radio show. You'd think that they'd look more excited while the songs are being played. I guess that the whole experience was just so surreal, sitting on cushions surrounded by your favourite band - they look so totally fazed.

Overall this is a superb bit of progressive rock video and an excellent introduction to what Mariliion is like currently. It contains too many of the songs off 'Somewhere Else' and the 'Rehearsals' bit is all a bit wierd, so overall I would give four stars, though if you loved 'Somewhere Else' it is probably a five star video.

Report this review (#158580)
Posted Monday, January 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A stately evening at the Forum

Recorded during the final two night of their "Somewhere Else" tour in 2007, Marillion enchants the crowd at the London Forum with genuine excitement for the event. The two-disc set includes the Somewhere show featuring new material and a second disc with some older material and the recording of a rehearsal in front of fans. I didn't have the luxury of being familiar with the "Somewhere" material as I watched this so it was all new to me. The material was of good quality if not as arresting to me as the Brave stuff I really enjoyed. It ranges from mellower, moody ballads to uptempo rock songs with some nice proggy flavor to them, although the music stresses emotion over complexity. Some proggers will find this stuff boring frankly but I find it so well done and tasteful in melody that it works, in my opinion this is every bit as valid as the Radiohead approach of mucking up their songs with excessive aural baggage. I appreciate the beauty and efficiency of Marillion's sound even if I personally enjoy other kinds of prog more. I sometimes think the band prolongs certain passages beyond their lifespan but when it works their sound has a classy quality that eludes many neo-prog and contemporary rock bands.

The performance was outstanding and they completely nailed it on the production side. This audience is as stoked as crowds get, completely putty in the hand of Marillion and they don't waste the moment. Hogarth and Trevawas in particular are just playing out of their minds in this show. Hogarth's vocals are pushed and passionate almost invoking images of Bryan Ferry from Roxy's more smoking shows. Trevawas has a great up-front bass presence (I'm always a sucker for that) and has some lovely acoustic guitar sections. Lead guitarist Steve Rothery plays with eloquence and color as always though I wished he was a bit more up in the mix, and with a bit more grit in the sound. They could have taken some volume from Hogarth and boosted Rothery just a bit. Aside from that complaint this presentation is flawless in the audio and video department. Beautifully shot with a rich look, you are right on the stage with these guys who are playing like their lives depended on it. The edits are balanced to give you every view with no unnecessary nonsense. The light show again strikes it perfect, simple, gorgeous. "King" is a late highlight of the set with Hogarth and Rothery leaning on each other and wailing on guitar.

I don't believe "Somewhere in London" is going to flip anyone who has listened to phase-2 Marillion and disliked it, but for those who have enjoyed the band this performance will surely seal the deal, providing a hugely effective presentation of the band in its current state. 3 1/2 stars.

Report this review (#246199)
Posted Sunday, October 25, 2009 | Review Permalink

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