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Marillion 9 September 2012

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lazland View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 11 2012 at 06:22

Marillion. Cardiff Students Union Great Hall

Sunday 9th September 2012

Mr Lazland, Mrs Lazland, and Lazland Junior (attending his first ever gig) went to see the first gig of the European leg of the Sounds That Can’t Be Made tour. The pre-ordered deluxe case CD & DVD had finally arrived in the post on the Saturday, leaving me only a day to obsess and get used to the new stuff prior to the gig.

On the Sunday morning, I had woken up with raging toothache, feeling utterly miserable. Thus a day of taking paracetamol, pro-codemol, and the special “happy pill” anti inflammatories had rendered me incapable of having any alcohol for the day. This was gearing up to be the most sober gig in history!

Anyhow, at least said happy pills enabled me to go to the gig feeling relatively normal, and we arrived to queue at about ten minutes prior to doors opening, greeted by a huge queue. This was also the focus of a fair bit of stress. Because, you see, crazy licensing laws in the dear old UK (introduced by the last government), meant that the venue was “strictly over-14’s only”. Lazland Junior is a mere 11 years old. We dressed him up in a 13-14 year old sweatshirt, told him to put on his best stroppy teenager pout (not difficult), and, above all, keep his trap shut. As it was, we got him in without any questions being asked by the burly security detail, and I even blagged a seat for my wife in the balcony.

The venue is a small one, perhaps holding a couple of thousand, and looked to be virtually sold out. The support act was The Reasoning, a Welsh band, and they were ten minutes into their set when we eventually got in. I like this band, and their set was a lively one promoting their brand of heavy classic rock and light prog.

Marillion haven’t played in Wales for some time. There was, therefore, a massive buzz around the venue when the equipment was being set up. The lights dimmed, and the band arrived to the sound of the opening passages of Gaza, the new seventeen minute epic, blasting out of the speakers. Hogarth was wearing a fetching white t-shirt with the old CND peace logo on it. Gaza is an incredible piece of music, intricate, complex, full of changing soundscapes, and yet you felt that it had been played live every night for the past ten years, it was that good. When Hogarth belted out the injustice of living like this “just ain’t right”, the hairs on the back of the neck stood up.

The one thing that was utterly clear from the outset was just how good the venue was acoustically. You could hear everything so clearly, and I swear that Ian Mosley has never sounded better on drums, he was belting the damned things in a glorious cacophony of noise. Also, from the start, you heard and saw just how well the others were playing. Rothery is back on imperious form, Kelly has probably never had a better album than this one, Trewavas is the glue holding it all together, whilst Hogarth is my hero, simple as. The crowd adored him, and there was barely a bum note at all.

You’re Gone followed, which was a rousing bit of fun. The next pleasant surprise was the exceptional playing of the This Town trio of tracks that formed the back of Holidays in Eden. Utterly brilliant, and, by this time, my lovely wife was wondering just why the hell she had never liked Marillion! There was the usual Marillion “start of tour glitch” when Kelly’s keys and various machines decided to pack in, so we were treated to the extremely funny, and successful, sight and sound of Trewavas improvising those parts on his bass!

The exceptional title track from the new album followed, which saw Kelly’s machines restored – a good job, because his swirling sounds are utterly at the heart of the track. Wonderfully performed, and very well received by an appreciative audience, which, I am glad to report, had a great mix of age and gender.

The Other Half was followed by H introducing the next track – “something we don’t normally do halfway through a show”. It was the colossal Neverland, and I swear I have never heard it sound so good. It was enough to leave us all speechless at the end. Rothery was simply exceptional, those guitar bursts making the hairs on the back of the neck stand up, with Hogarth acting the part for the entire world as if his life depended upon it.

How the hell do you follow this, the track generally accepted as being amongst the strongest ever produced  by this band? Well, with another very pleasant surprise, A Voice From The Past from Somewhere Else, an album which really suffered from following up Marbles, and is a sight better than a lot of fans give credit. As Hogarth explained, it is dedicated to the memory of John Lennon, and it was a joy to hear live for the first time in my case.

Power, the most overtly commercial track from the new album followed, and I can confirm that it is as good live as suggested by the YouTube videos posted suggested. I like the studio version, but live it takes on an altogether different hue.

The gorgeous, moving Fantastic Place followed. Recent live performances of this have left me a bit cold, almost as if the band were doing it “by numbers”. Not tonight. Hogarth virtually moved us to tears with his rendition, and Rothery’s solo was bang on the button.

The highlight of Happiness Is The Road, the sublime Real Tears For Sale followed, and this was a supreme performance of a powerful piece of music. At the start, H asked his colleagues whether he should be standing, or sitting at the piano for this track. Rothery wandered over to him and whispered in his ear, whereupon H said he had just been sacked and asked the audience what time the first bus back home was. Mrs Lazland remarked to me afterwards she never really, until this night, appreciated just how warm, funny, and emotional the band were, with the incredible connection they have with an audience. Her only previous experience of the band live was a poor seat at Wolverhampton Civic Hall, where the acoustics were also very bad. This venue suited the band, and her, a lot better.

Perhaps surprisingly, the highlight of the show was the final piece from the new album, the lovely, moving testimony of a relationship breakdown, The Sky Above The Rain. Beautifully performed, it is set, for me, to become a classic Marillion track, and this dripping emotion from the entire band put paid once and for all for my wife the myth that progressive rock has no emotion, and is suitable only for geeks and saddos.

The final track of the main set was the timeless The Great Escape. My son adores this track and he was going suitably bonkers. It was as good as it ever was.

The first encore really took me, and a lot of others, by surprise. It was the very thoughtful, underplayed, and sublime A Few Words For The Dead from the criminally underrated Radiation. It was the first time I had heard this live since that tour, and it really was a marvellous treat. How many other bands would play this as an encore?

The band returned after more entreaties, with the curfew of 11.00 p.m. fast approaching, to play two more tracks. The first was Sugar Mice – yes, that’s right, a Fish track, played brilliantly, without any apologies from Hogarth (as reported elsewhere), and welcomed with near frenzy by the crowd. We sang along to each word, and H, by the way, is better at singing this than the big man himself. I’ve also never seen Rothery smile so much in all my life.

Closer was the frenetic, and hugely enjoyable, romp that is Between You And Me. By this time, of course, H had the crowd wrapped around his little finger.

In closing, this was a great gig. We all had a fantastic time, and I hope it isn’t too long before the boys return to Wales. I would also make one last observation – the break between HITR and STCBM has done them a lot of good. Those creative juices are well and truly evident on the new material, and they look and sound as if they love playing with each other making great music.



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Horizons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2012 at 14:35
I was fortunate to start attending concerts at age 9. Hope your song had as much fun as you did. Great review too.



Edited by Horizons - September 11 2012 at 15:03
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Bearded Bard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2012 at 14:45
^He's 11, Austin. You didn't read the whole review did you?Wink

Edited by The Bearded Bard - September 11 2012 at 14:45
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Horizons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2012 at 15:02
You caught me, i skipped to the actual music. Ouch
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lazland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2012 at 15:23
Originally posted by Horizons

I was fortunate to start attending concerts at age 9. Hope your song had as much fun as you did. Great review too.


Thanks Austin. He had a great time, and threw himself into it. He also had the "joy" of seeing Dad go barmy for a couple of hours, and, to his great credit, didn't complain or get embarrassed. He is a good boy, and I was proud as punch to take him to such a great gig for his first live experience.

On the way back to the hotel, he said to me: "Dad, compare that to The X-Factor. That's pure crap!

That's my boy!ApproveCool


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Post Options Post Options   Quote rushfan4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2012 at 15:30
Good deal!  Thanks for the review Steve.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lazland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2012 at 15:40
Originally posted by rushfan4

Good deal!  Thanks for the review Steve.

You're welcome Scott. A pleasure to share.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Bearded Bard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2012 at 15:52

Yeah, thanks for the review, Steve. A great read! Makes me want to check out Hogarth-era Marillion too, and not just the Fish-era. 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Catcher10 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2012 at 16:44
Great review Steve!! A las I will have to jump on a plane one day and see them......I may talk the wife into a trip south to Mexico and catch them.
Worth a shot!
 
Album is not here yet, coming next month I think.
 
They did not allow you to take pics?
      
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Post Options Post Options   Quote yam yam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 11 2012 at 18:12
Been quite a while since I saw Marillion play...something I need to correct soon, I feel. Great review Steve - it makes me fully realise what I have been missing. Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Quote kenmartree Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 12 2012 at 00:22
a great review as usual steve, so glad you had the chance to take the whole family, I took mine to the san francisco show in june.  my daughter, age 5, loved it and had to meet hogarth so we did.  looking forward to seeing gaza performed. I imagine they'll play it at the montreal weekend next march. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lazland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 12 2012 at 08:52
Originally posted by Catcher10

Great review Steve!! A las I will have to jump on a plane one day and see them......I may talk the wife into a trip south to Mexico and catch them.
Worth a shot!
 
Album is not here yet, coming next month I think.
 
They did not allow you to take pics?

Cheers my friend.

Lazland Junior took some photos on his iPod, but I have been away on business. When I get home tonight, I'll start sifting through them and, hopefully, upload some photos tomorrow night.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 13 2012 at 20:42
In Lazland, concerts are more than concerts....they are transformational experiences!  Great review, Steve!  Hope the tooth is OK soon!  Cheers, Charles
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lazland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2012 at 09:13
Thanks Charles (and all) for the kind words.

If only I was transformed more often, but, to be honest, there is a dearth of good bands coming to Wales these days. I have no idea why.

The tooth is getting there, or at least the penicillin has stopped it aching.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote sleeper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2012 at 12:25
Saw them myself last night at the Wolverhamtpo Civic Hall, great sound so I think it might ahve been just a bad night the last time you saw them there. Stunning gig, 3rd time I've seen them and best set yet, Garza well and truly kicked our collective backsides, such a powerful and surprisingly aggressive song. All of the new material played last night was amongst the best of the set, up there with Neverland, Sugar Mice, Real Tears for Sale and The Great Escape, so of course I bought and am currently listening to it.

Jealous you had The Reasoning opening for you, I really like that band. I had to put up with DeeExpus, who are OK but distinctly average.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aapatsos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 08:46
Great review Steve - I, too, need to catch up with the Hogwarth era albums and, unfortunately, had to miss the gig on Friday in Sheffield Cry
I was just listening to Gaza on prog radio, great track Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Quote lazland Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 10:25
Originally posted by aapatsos

Great review Steve - I, too, need to catch up with the Hogwarth era albums and, unfortunately, had to miss the gig on Friday in Sheffield Cry
I was just listening to Gaza on prog radio, great track Thumbs Up

Cheers, Athenasios.

Actually, if you go to the Marillion fan forum, you will see that Sheffield was, by all accounts, a disaster. Crap venue, apparently.


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Post Options Post Options   Quote sleeper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 17 2012 at 15:28
Originally posted by lazland

Originally posted by aapatsos

Great review Steve - I, too, need to catch up with the Hogwarth era albums and, unfortunately, had to miss the gig on Friday in Sheffield Cry
I was just listening to Gaza on prog radio, great track Thumbs Up

Cheers, Athenasios.

Actually, if you go to the Marillion fan forum, you will see that Sheffield was, by all accounts, a disaster. Crap venue, apparently.

I have a friend that used to go to Uni in Sheffield, he doesnt have much good to say about the Corporation so this is no surprise.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote aapatsos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 13 2012 at 15:24
^ I have been in Corporation once to see Symphony X, the venue is appalling but the music made it up for them.

Maybe I was lucky not to go? Hope I get the chance to see them somewhere else
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Post Options Post Options   Quote the only sane man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 14 2012 at 06:37
Saw them The following week in Cambridge, and they were great there too.
 
The set did dip a little in the middle at times, and I don't have a couple of their more recent albums, or indeed the new one, so there were a few I was unfamiliar with, but once they got into their stride they were superb.
 
.......And 'Sugar Mice' AND 'Garden Party' in the encore???!!!! Holy sh*t!!!!!! 
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