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3 stars OK, hands up......I'm not the world's biggest Marillion fan. I was into them in the Marquee days before they'd released anything other than a cassette, I adored (and still do) Script, saw them in Hammersmith on the Fugazi tour, and then.......well, just kinda lost touch. Heard Marbles last year and loved it. Anyways 'Tumbling Down The Years' has foundit's way to my CD player and a damn fine listen it is too. The album was recorded at one of the legendary Marillion conventions and consists of the band playing (in reverse) a track from each year of their career, from 2008 to 1990 with Slante Mhath and Garden Party thrown in for good measure. So, as someone listening to a lot of these tracks for the first time I'm very impressed. It's fascinating to hear the band go from their recent incarnation as a band all about feeling and ambience (a la Talk Talk, Radiohead etc) to a more song based band on some of their earlier tracks where their 'progressive' roots shine through clearest. It's hard to pick out individual highlights but the moody stuff is well represented by Cathedral Wall on the first CD and the highlight of the poppier stuff is a tremendous No One Can on the second CD. So, all in all a great introduction to the band for a relative newcomer like myself. I'm marking it down slightly as the first CD is not really 'progressive' in ANY sense of the word......just rather beautiful.
Report this review (#640062)
Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars For the Saturday performance on the 2009 Marillion Weekend, the band came up with a reverse-chronology show concept, with the songs broadly being performed from newest to oldest. Thus, Tumbling Down the Years begins with material from Happiness Is the Road and ends with a track from Script For a Jester's Tear, visiting more or less all the Steve Hogarth albums - except for Seasons End, due to that being played in full the previous evening - plus a quick stopover at Clutching At Straws along the way.

It's an interesting approach and certainly is a unique way of showcasing the band's musical development, though there are a few choices that seem odd. The biggest gripe I have with it is that if the band had trimmed a song or two from the albums that get more attention they could have squeezed in a song each from Misplaced Childhood and Fugazi. Then again, I can sort of see why they didn't do that - of all the Fish-era albums, Fugazi seems to be the one Steve Hogarth has been the least comfortable with tackling.

Perhaps a more significant issue is that, despite their best efforts, the flow of the setlist doesn't feel especially natural. It doesn't help that the concept of the next evening's show - captured on Size Matters - meant that most of the band's longer pieces weren't available for the setlist, which along with the quirky concept hampers their ability to make the set flow together organically.

Note that the Saturday set from Live In Montreal then that's a different performance of essentially the same album concept (since there were multiple Marillion weekends that year). Unlike the Friday Seasons End performances, there are actually mild differences in the set lists between the two releases, possibly due to the band trying to iron out the setlist issues I mentioned above: Tumbling Down the Years does not have Fantastic Place, Afraid of Sunlight, or The Great Escape, but instead has performances of Drilling Holes, An Accidental Man, Alone Again In the Lap of Luxury and Hard as Love. If you don't own either live album but are interested you would be best off choosing based on which of those songs you want in the set more; if you already have the Saturday Live In Montreal set, then you may or may not also want this one depending on just how much of a completist you feel.

Report this review (#742534)
Posted Monday, April 23, 2012 | Review Permalink

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