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Marillion Real to Reel - Brief Encounter album cover
4.08 | 104 ratings | 7 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc one (52:06)
1. Assassing (7:28)
2. Incubus (8:45)
3. Cinderella search (5:46)
4. Emerald lies (5:26)
5. Forgotten sons (10:36)
6. Garden party (6:32)
7. Market Square heroes (7:31)
Disc two (31:31)
1. Lady Nina (5:47)
2. Freaks (4:09)
3. Kayleigh (4:11)
4. Fugazi (8:32)
5. Script for a Jester's tears (8:52)

Total Time: 83:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Fish / vocals
- Mark Kelly / keyboards
- Ian Mosley / drums
- Steve Rothery / guitars
- Pete Trewavas / basses

Releases information


Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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MARILLION Real to Reel - Brief Encounter ratings distribution

(104 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(56%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

MARILLION Real to Reel - Brief Encounter reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Guillermo
4 stars I bought this double C.D. remastered versions in 1998, after recording both albums as L.P.s from a FM Radio station broadcast in a cassette in 1988 (from a series of programmes dedicated to Marillion), and later in 1993 I bought "Real to Reel" in a cheap "Fame/EMI" L.P.edition. The live version of "Kayleigh" was the first song I heard from Marillion in a FM station in 1986-87, and it led me to buy the "Misplaced Childhood" album. All the live versions of all songs are very good, particularly "Incubus", "Cinderella Search", "Forgotten Sons", "Script for a Jester`s Tear" and "Fugazi". Ian Mosley added more power to the drums in comparison to the original studio versions of songs played by Mick Pointer.I think that the studio recordings of "Lady Nina" and "Freaks" were previously released as B-sides of singles, and they are good songs too. These remasters of both albums sound very good.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars When this double CD was released I was totally in doubt to purchase it or not because I had the "Real to Reel" CD already and also the "Brief Encounter" separately in the format of cassette. "Brief Encounter" never been released in CD format before as it was introduced / marketed in the US and Canada with vinyl and cassette formats only. Quite honest also, "Brief Encounter" did not really favor me. But for Marillion - why not man?! Especially the price is actually for one CD, so I just purchased it for GBP 7.5 at that time. And I never regret owning this double CD while the Real To Reel CD is still with me, without any intention to let it go.

CD 1: Real To Reel

It's a great show by the band especially if you have been familiar with their first two albums: "Script for A Jester's Tear" and "Fugazi". In fact, I was still in a full enjoyment of "Fugazi" when this album was released in 1984. I still remember how I was able to sing almost all Marillion's lyrics on top of my head (two first albums and one EP). "Emerald Lies" was my favorite at that time. I kept repeating this track over and over especially I like the dazzling percussion style and also Fish's voice in a piece of lyrics " a gallery of ....contempt!" - great man! I also love the title track "Fugazi" - the opening piano intro is killing "Vodka intimate on affair with isolation in a black heat cell ." oh man . what a great shot! To my surprise that the band released their first live album with excellent title "REAL to REEL". So innovative!

I love live albums because it is alive and able to create an atmosphere of rock concert. Even the intro of "Assassing" with a background of audience's hand clapping and shouting had set a "real" nuances. This track was performed much more dynamic than its original studio track. Marvelous! The most interesting track for me is the song for peace and it's called ..."Forgotten Sons!" Wow ......!! So lively! So stunning! So great! Fish sung emotionally in this track and I know why he did that. When I listened to this track I imagined that I watched the "Recital of the Script" DVD where he sung with a gun in his arms and pretending to shoot his enemies. What a nice shot, Fish! "Garden Party" and "Market Square Heroes" were performed seamlessly with great energy and serve the purpose of being the concert's encore.

Rating for CD 1 "Real To Reel": 5/5 stars.

CD 2: Brief Encounter

When I was waiting for the next release of Marillion's album after their seminal work "Misplaced Childhood" released in 1985, I was so afraid that the band would defunct because I had enjoyed their three albums plus one ep "Market Square Heroes". At the time, there was no internet connection or any other news with respect to new release. So I was just guessing what would happen next. It came out with "Brief Encounter" LP and cassette where it featured the band's two studio tracks "Lady Nina" and "Freaks". The rest of the tracks were live performance - each representing previous three albums: "Script For A Jester's Tear" - from the band's debut album with the same title, "Fugazi" - from second album with the same title and Kayleigh - the band's hit from "Misplaced Childhood" album (the third).

"Lady Nina" is an upbeat tempo music with pop / disco touch and keyboard-based rhythm section. It's probably quite accessible to introduce someone to the music of Marillion through this tune. "Freaks" is a nice rocking track with a good credo and Fish pondering vocals. "Kayleigh" played live was never heard before and it was truly a good treat as at the time I knew that this was the band's hit. "Fugazi" was performed similar with the version in "Real To Reel" album. "Script For A Jester's Tear" had never been played before and of course I did enjoy this version.

Rating for CD 2 "Brief Encounter": 3.5/5 stars.


It is recommended that you have listened to Marillion's first two albums if you really want fully enjoy this album. If this is your first consideration to purchase Marillion album, please do not start from here. It is recommended that you start from "Script for A Jester's Tear" studio album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

"Peace on earth and mercy mild, mother brown lost the child - just another forgotten sons!"

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This compilation is a combination of the first Marillion live album Real To Reel (from the Fugazi tour) and the EP Brief Encounter (released after Misplaced Childhood). I feel that it is a good compilation because both of these releases are hard to find individually, and it's nice to have them both in one package. I'll go about reviewing both of these packages individually, since that is the way that they were originally conceived and released.

Real to Reel is a stellar live album, featuring a nice balance of Fugazi and Script for a Jester's Tear, and a heart pounding rendition of Market Square Heroes. The band is in full form on this one, Rothery plays his heart out on the solos, Kelly guns through the keyboard sections with precision and ease, the rhythm unit of Ian Mosley and Pete Trewavas are tight and keep the flow of the songs to their intended pace, and of course Fish is always brilliant live, often performing more in depth than in the studio. My favorite songs off of this live album are Assassing, Forgotten Sons, and Market Square Heroes, with Assassing and Market Square Heroes bookending the album. Forgotten Sons is a brilliant song performed live, with Fish getting his most cynical and aggressive vocally during the closing chant of "Ring around the rosie they all fall down". I would rate this live album a 4.5/5 if I was reviewing it as a single package.

Brief Encounter is a little EP that features two songs you won't find on any Marillion studio album, Lady Nina and Freaks. Lady Nina is a nice piece with a catchy chorus and some nice keyboard work from Kelly. Freaks gets more recognition because it is featured brilliantly on Marillion's final live album with Fish La Gazza Ladra- The Thieving Magpie. It has some nice guitar fills and a catchy chorus consisting of "All the best freaks are here/ All the best freaks are here/ Please stop staring at me". The remainder of the EP are live renditions of Kayleigh, Fugazi, and Script for a Jester's Tear. Kayleigh has the same feel as Misplaced Childhood, and Fugazi has more punch to it than the studio counterpart, but Script is utterly mindblowing on this one. Every live version of this song is always just utterly incredible, but this might be the best, with Fish singing his broken and shattered heart out on it. Rothery shines with a superb guitar solo that outdoes the studio one. I would rate this EP a 3.5/5 if I was reviewing it as a single package.

Overall, if you are one who likes to find rare commodities in compilations, then this one would be right up your alley. But if your the type who likes to be a completionist, then you might want to go for each of these packages individually. In the end, I feel that this is a strong package worthy of a purchase. It gets a solid 4/5 from me.

Review by sleeper
4 stars In '97, when EMI was remastering Marillion's early albums, they decided it would be a good idea to put the live album Real To Reel and the mini-album Brief Encounter into a single double CD release. I personally find this to have been a rather good idea.

This album was actually my introduction to Marillion and to be honest, this is what the double album does best, introduce you to some of the best of Fish era Marillion without giving away all that the band has to offer from that period. My previous reviews for Real To Reel and Brief Encounter will tell you what I think of the albums in more detail, but here I will say that RTR is a very strong live album made up of pre-Misplaced Childhood material well worth getting whilst BE has some very strong live tracks with one good and one poor studio track not really making it worth buying on its own. Together they are a collection of brilliant live performances with only a few niggles and a couple of studio tracks that are a bit hit-and-miss.

This is a double album that gives an incite into the world of Fish-era Marillion. As I said earlier, his was my introduction to Marillion and that is what it does best, it contains some of the most standout tracks of the band earlier career, namely Incubus, Forgotten Sons, Garden Party, Fugazi and Script for a Jester's Tear, without giving away everything that the band has to offer. A worthy 4 stars.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars In 1997 I was still looking for La Gazza Ladra in CD when a friend told me Real to Reel (Marillionīs first live album) was release in Brazil in a double CD package that included the Brief Encounter EP. I had to buy it right away, not only because Real to Reel was a favourite of mine (I had it on vinyl for years already) but because the EP was never released in Brazil. Better still: the new remastering CD had an extra track (Emerald Lies) not included on the LP (it was a bonus track for the cassette offering at the time). It was really a treat for a me, a fan at a time when progressive CDs were very expensive and quite hard to find.

The live album is, of course, a masterpiece, and you can read my review on it here on PA, under its own banner. I still listen to it frequently. This is the kind of record that only gets better with time. The EP is, of course, the typical cash in affair from the recording company, trying to get as much money as they could in America after the success of Keyleigh, mixing live tracks and studio stuff previously released: it has two studio tunes (both singles b-sides): Lady Nina and Freaks. Good stuff, but not very representative of their main work. The live tracks however, were the real thing: one each from their previous albums: Script For A Jesters Tear (from their debut), Fugazi (from their second LP of the same name) and Kayleigh (from Misplaced Childhood). It was though as a good introduction the band to the american audience who had only known them for Keyleigh and Lavender. The live sound quality is good, although not as good as the ones which were later released on the La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie) live album. On its own Brief Encounter is hardly essential, but as an extra for Real To Reel, it is really worth it. So I got the best combination. Try to get this one too if you donīt have it yet.

Rating: 4,5 stars. Only a double live CD of the same shows as recorded at the time and place of Real to Real would make this package better. Highly recommended!

Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nš 344

'Real To Reel ' Brief Encounter' is a very special compilation of Marillion. It's an economic package that includes their debut live album 'Real To Reel' released in 1984 and their EP 'Brief Encounter' released in 1986, on only one CD. This is a very interesting compilation because it includes two Marillion's works in Fish's era, what will be a very worth purchase. 'Real To Reel' is an indispensable album but I can't say the same of 'Brief Encounter', really. Still, 'Brief Encounter' has its high points too, the three live tracks. 'Brief Encounter' is the perfect companion to 'Real To Reel'.

Like Gatot, I was also totally in doubt to purchase this compilation because I had already 'Real To Reel'. However, because 'Brief Encounter' has never been released in CD format and due to initially it was aimed strictly at the American market and not officially released elsewhere, I decided to buy it. 'Brief Encounter' was also very demanded in Europe because Marillion's breakthrough, with the departure of Fish, and also because the band hadn't released any new material in 1986, the year when it was released in the U.S.A. market. So, 'Brief Encounter' became, in reality, their first work in terms of studio albums in that year. It was released to support the 'Power Windows' live tour of Rush.

As I've already reviewed these two albums previously on Progarchives, in a more extensive way, I'm not going to do it again. So, if you are interested to know, in more detail, what I wrote about them before, I invite you to read those my both reviews. However, in here, I'm going to write something about them in a more short way. So, of course, I'm not going to analyze them track by track, as I made before, but I'm only going to make a global appreciation of both albums.

'Real To Reel': 'Real To Reel' is a great debut live album of Marillion. The album includes two songs from their debut studio album, 'Forgotten Sons' and 'Garden Party', three songs of their second studio album 'Assassing', 'Incubus' and 'Emerald Lies', a song from their historical debut EP 'Market Square Heroes' and 'Forgotten Sons' which was only released as a singe. However, some of their best and most representative songs from their beginning like 'Script For A Jester's Tear', 'The Web', 'Fugazi' and specially 'Grendel' aren't included on this live album. The live performance is very competent, despite only few things can distinguish the live versions of these tracks from their studio original versions. In reality and in my opinion, to 'Real To Reel' lacks some live performance flame, to be considered a masterpiece. Nevertheless, 'Real To Reel' is still a great live album with a magnificent live performance of some of their most representative songs comprising their earlier musical material in their first musical period in Fish's era. Besides, the songs are played with conviction and energy. 'Real To Reel' isn't a perfect live album, but shows us why Marillion is the top progressive band in the 80's and also proves why Marillion is in generally considered one of the best, one of the most important and one of the greatest progressive groups in the progressive rock scene, even today.

'Brief Encounter': 'Brief Encounter' is an EP of Marillion that was released in 1986. It's a compilation with two studio tracks and three live tracks. The two studio tracks are 'Lady Nina', which is an extended version of the original track released on the single 'Kayleigh' as the B side, in 1985 and 'Freaks' which is a single version of the original track which was released on the single 'Lavender' as the B side, in 1985 too. The three live tracks were released by EMI, the American label of Capitol Records, in 1986, coinciding with the Marillion's live tour on U.S.A and Canada, on that year. So, we can see 'Brief Encounter' into two separated parts, the two studio tracks and the three live tracks. In relation to the two studio tracks, and although 'Freaks' and 'Lady Nina' be two nice songs, they aren't properly essential in Marillion's catalogue in Fish's era, and personally, I don't like particularly of this version of 'Lady Nina' too. In relation to the three live tracks, I think they're all excellent live versions of the original songs, but they don't add anything new, compared to other live versions on other live albums from the band. So, 'Brief Encounter' doesn't add anything important and new to Marillion's catalogue, and because of that, we may say that it isn't very important to buy it, really.

Conclusion: If you have already 'Real To Reel' you don't need to buy this compilation because it hasn't anything really important to offer. However, if you don't have yet 'Real To Reel' and you are interested in have 'Brief Encounter' too, this compilation is a good option for you because it's cheaper than to buy both individual works. So, it will be a very worth purchase and is a better option because you save on price and space. However and as I said before, 'Brief Encounter' isn't an indispensable document of Marillion in Fish's era. 'Brief Encounter' is a good EP, but quite dispensable. But with 'Real To Reel' is quite the contrary. 'Real To Reel' is an indispensable album, a great testimony of the band when they were in live shows in Fish's era. Besides, if you buy this compilation you can have both works as a complement. So, because of that and due to 'Real To Reel', I think this compilation deserves to be rated with 4 stars.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by Warthur
4 stars Real to Reel was a pretty solid Fish-era Marillion live album which has since been overshadowed by releases of full shows (like the Early Stages boxed set, or Recital of the Script, or Live From Loreley). Brief Encounter was an EP largely notable for having a few more live tracks, plus two Misplaced Childhood-era B-sides tacked onto it. This 2CD release is an affordable presentation of them. Is it a loving, deluxe reissue? No, but I am not wholly convinced this needs one; when you're looking at the Fish era you'll want the studio albums first, and then when you dive into live releases there's more tempting prospects you'll want to look at before you reach this. That said, you probably will want these eventually, and this is as good a way to get them as exists.

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