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Marillion - Happiness on the Road - Concorde 2 Brighton - 28 January 2009 CD (album) cover





4.04 | 5 ratings

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4 stars There are quite a few Marillion live albums from their website on PA now, so I was initially reticent about adding yet another one. However, I think that this one should be on the site, as it was the gig that was the subject of the Classic Rock Prog edition live review (this magazine is the subject of a thread on the forum). The reviewer (I wasn't there) gave it such a strong rating, that I decided I simply had to download it, the first I have from the present tour.

I would recommend this to all Marillion fans, and those who might wish to try them for the first time. The previous official live H era release, Made Again, was a disappointment to me. It sounded, certainly in the production, as it actually was - an attempt to cash in by EMI after the band had left the label. The Marbles on the Road DVD was the first genuine release by this lineup that, to me, captured the essence of them live. This release does exactly the same, because live they are almost unequalled.

The set list, as might be expected, relies heavily upon the latest studio release, Happiness is the Road, which I gave five stars to for my first ever review on this site - I have not changed my view since - it's a genuine classic.

Highlights of the set, to me, are an excellent This Train is my Life, where Hogarth sounds genuinely fragile, Woke Up featuring excellent guitar work from Rothery and a real treat is The Man from Planet Marzipan, which generates genuine excitement.

Out of this World is presaged by H telling the story of his performance at Donald Campbell's funeral, and it is a great live rendition of what I think is an underrated track from the Afraid of Sunlight album.

For those who were, like me, disappointed by the Brave CD on Made Again, the sequence of Mad and The Great Escape make up for this in spades. When THAT guitar solo comes, the hairs on the back of the neck stand up.

Real Tears for Sale is, for a track not performed much live, a huge standout. It fizzes along, and Hogarth is at the top of his game.

Marbles is well represented with a stunning rendition of Invisible Man, where you can almost touch the tension and melancholy inherent in the song, Fantastic Place, featuring one of the outstanding guitar solos ever, and, of course, Neverland, which, in my opinion, is simply the finest prog song of all time. Not only do you get H, Rothery, Kelly, and Mosley at the top of their game, especially the guitar sequences, but Trewavas introduces a killer of a bassline missing from previous live versions I have heard. Quite excellent.

The close is the title track of the new LP, and it is every bit as good as its studio equivalent.

The band, I think, can almost play a tight and exceptional set these days without really thinking about it. All are at the top of their game, the banter with the crowd is, as ever, really enjoyable, but I think that special mention for this performance has to go to Mark Kelly, who is in a really rich creative vein of form at the moment.

Happiness Is.......A genuine live Marillion performance. Easily four stars for this, in reality 4.5 stars. An excellent addition to any prog collection - it's as good as the original review in Classic Rock suggested.

Don't ask me why I'm doing this...You wouldn't understand..........

lazland | 4/5 |


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