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Marillion - Live From Cadogan Hall CD (album) cover

LIVE FROM CADOGAN HALL

Marillion

Neo-Prog


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4 stars Easter for Christmas

"Live from Cadogan Hall" is a Christmas-Concert from Marillion during their "Less is more"-Tour and, together with "Anorak in the UK", one of a pair of Live-Albums from the Hogarth-Era that is simply a "must have", cause it captures the atmosphere of a live-performance by this band in marvelous perfection and sees this five-piece of great musicians performing at the top of their skills - but while "Anorak" is electrified and rousing, "Cadogan Hall", because of its "unplugged"-approach and guise, is enchanting in a quieter and more intimate way. To make sure: this time, other than on "Marbles Live", Hogie's singing is brilliant and the overall feel is more than right, it's another one of those examples where the "magic of the moment" can be felt so deeply it sends you shivers up and down your spine and serves as a showcase for why people like me simply cannot get enough of this band !

Disc 1 gives you the whole of "Less is more" ( minus its "Bonus Track" ) performed on stage, and most of those acoustically re-vamped tracks clearly benefit from the live-feel and setting, especially "Go !" and "Interior Lulu" at the very beginning sound fresher and somewhat more intriguing, though there's, of course, no significant changes to be heard compared to the studio-recordings. This live-performance comes close to making the studio-album, great as it is, a superfluous one, but - in the end - because of some parts still being inferior, it doesn't. Those parts are, first of all, "Hard as Love", which is the very stand-out-track on "Less is more", and could not be re-produced quite as impressive simply because the vocal-arrangement hadn't been made to do so... they'd have needed one more voice at least in order to achieve this. Next is "This is the 21st Century" which suffers a bit from the guitars being slightly out of tune, though this version does possess more passion. And, as you know, I'm in love with the "Bonus Track" that's missing here - "Cannibal Surf Babe" - and missing it is, indeed ( though with "Live from Cadogan Hall" you'll get a whole disc of "Bonus"-Material instead... ) so "Less is more" is still far from having been made superfluous by the sheer brilliance of this live-performance elsewhere. This said, the rest of it is at least as good as on album, if not - as apparent with the beginning - even better, and therefore it's not really a loss that "Hard as Love" doesn't work quite as well as there ...and instruments sounding slightly out of tune as one part of a show comes to its close... well, that's LIVE, and it's no real miss at all as the feel remains just right.

Disc 2 starts out with Hogie performing "No One can" alone to piano. And, god in heaven, this version is far more than a reminder of what, so many years ago, had made me love and purchase the single as a first encounter with this incarnation of the band. Hogie simply takes the song to where it always should have been... let's call it "Marillion-Heaven". It's nothing less than a classic now, since this rendition, belonging to the very best of the band - and I wouldn't have expected it to be although I used to have a soft spot for it for years... you may not expect it, either, but believe me, it's true. It's followed by "Beautiful" - I already knew this arrangement from "Unplugged at the Walls", although I do not own that disc. I got the elder recording with the "Man of a thousand Faces"-Maxi and immediately had fallen in love with it. It's staying pretty much the same here, absolutely beautiful, but it's got a little more pathos due to the atmosphere in the Hall, and that's what's making it slightly inferior to me. "This Train is my Life" is, once more, an improvement to an already magnificent original version, magically soaring until you can't get it out of your head anymore. Then come 4 songs that add drive to the show, all of them executed a little faster than expected, and all of them played and sung very well. The increasing speed does not take any impact out of "You're gone", while "80 Days", "Gazpacho" and "The answering machine" do not really benefit from it, but what's good about them all is... you can hear the band having hell of a good time and the spark is taking over the audience. "Gazpacho", though, leaves me feeling a little sorry, cause this may even have been the definite version of another "AOS"-song for me that, on album, left me dissatisfied, if only... slowed down just a little bit.

Then comes "Estonia" with, during its verses, somewhat a lack of instrumental body, but comes the refrain and, after the second one, the instrumental section it's brilliant at least in parts, setting the mood for the finale. And the final two bits, namely "Easter" and "Three Minute Boy", are so hauntingly beautiful again, it's mind-dazzling and absolutely justifying one more 4-star-rating. It could have been a 5-star, but those little bits that are less perfect do not really affect the overall great impression that this concert leaves upon me. It's but another one that really "screamed to be released"... an essential purchase for any Lover of this band and, for those who still don't know how good they are with "the new singer since 20 years" and have an affection for "unplugged" music... a very good place to start with in order to get to know this band and why it's being loved so much by the devoted. Prog ? Hell, sometimes yes, sometimes no, but MUSIC as it was meant to be for anyone who has a heart. In terms of sheer potency that all the five members of this band reveal in playing and performing as well as daring creativity... there can be no better prog-band on this planet. And if "Easter" in its "Christmas-Version" doesn't leave you standing in awe completely you sure do not deserve the original version that. indeed, is more recognizable "progressive rock music" but not a bit better, no. So much stuff on these two discs I would never do without and still, if it was only for that one - I'd spend the double amount of money that it actually costs only to have it.

I'll always remain a die-hard fan of BJH so no other band can ever take the place that those underrated "soft-rockers" hold in my life - because of that kind of emotion they and only they can evoke inside of me. And, if I had to choose only one "best band" in terms of an "objectively chosen one", it may supposedly be Genesis. But Marillion, in spite of those two, may be the best band this world has ever got to succeed in both categories. I'm overwhelmed once more cause I never would have thought this when I heard "Script" or the likes of "Kayleigh" for the first time in the 80s. These guys are a gift to music itself and therefore a great gift to mankind. May it one day be appreciated the way they truly deserve, honestly, and long may they soldier on !

LOVE

Roop

Report this review (#610465)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Live From Cadogan Hall presents a magical Christmas concert from Marillion, the culmination of the Less Is More tour. The first half of the concert consists of a complete runthrough of the Less Is More album (minus the Cannibal Surf Babe bonus track) and the second disc presents a brace of other tracks which, like the Less Is More material, provide an interesting acoustic reinterpretation of the material. The warm live atmosphere really helps the material here, and as is so often the case with Marillion's less well-received studio albums the songs (or the reinterpretations, as is the case here) come across much better live. On the whole, I'd actually recommend this over the Less Is More studio release, though I still feel like acoustic Marillion ends up being a bit too saccharine and muzak-y for my tastes.
Report this review (#744635)
Posted Thursday, April 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Chemical reactions.

No one knows what causes a performer to come alive in a concert setting. This is part of the magical process that occurs during some live shows and it is in full evidence on this wonderful two CD offering from Eagle Records.

Live From Cadogan Hall is a live presentation of the More Is Less album. But where that album comes out dull and sterile, there is a complete reversal here. And it all comes down to Steve Hogarth's emotive interaction with the audience and his own stellar emotive singing. And I mean emotive with an upper case E.

Disc 1 is the complete More is Less album performed in the same track order, but with some greatly appreciated descriptions of the songs and the stories behind some of them. Go starts the concert with the same mesmerizing tone that kicks off the Marillion.com album and Steve Rothery's acoustic guitar solo is sublime, as Hogarth just gets his voice and sincerity warmed for the following song Interior Lulu, which is more enchanting and seductive than both the original version and the acoustic make over on More Is Less.

By the time we get to track 5, the More Is Less version of The Space, Hogarth is in full command of the audience and the rest of the band are firing on all eight cylinders, which is needed to make this completely different arrangement of this song work. It does, beautifully.

Disc 1 concludes with band favorites from the Anorakanophobia album , Quartz , If My Heart Were a Ball, and This Is The 21st Century. I personally don't like the material from this album due to it's excess verbiage but fan's of the album should like this make overs.

Before the Anoraknophobia songs, there's a beautifully moving version of it's not your fault song by SteveH wiith his solo piano as backing. It is a heartfelt masterpiece as Hogarth put's his entire heart into it.

Disc 2 starts off with another beautiful solo outer by H, a new reworking of No One Can that far excells from that the poppy studio original, before the band rejoin him for an acoustic reworking of Beautiful from the Afraid Of Sunlight album. One again, Steve H makes theses song's shine as well as reworkings of This Train Is My Life, Estonia and the evergreen Easter.

Disc 2 ends with a full electric version of the Three Minute Boy from Radiation, just to let the audience (and us) know that they can still rock at will.

LFCH is extremely well recorded and mastered, with the sound as clear as a bell. My only complaint is that Rothery's guitar is a little hidden in the mix on two songs, but that's all.

LFCH is a showcase live album for Steve Hogarth in that it shows off his live concert prowess and just how powerfully sensitive his vocals are devoid of the band's thundering electric sound. And, for that fact alone I highly recommend this wonderful double CD. 4 Stars.

Report this review (#1309604)
Posted Sunday, November 16, 2014 | Review Permalink

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