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Marillion - Curtain Call - A Live Archive 1983 - 1988 CD (album) cover

CURTAIN CALL - A LIVE ARCHIVE 1983 - 1988

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.50 | 57 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars For those of you who claim as early Marillion die-hard fans, you should visit www.marillion.com and order this boxed set of 6 CDs comprising live set from three different stages at different times during FISH era. Each live set is packaged in a double CD. I just got this boxed set 3 weeks ago through a friend of mine, Stephen Lindlay, who ordered it for me when he was in England last month. I had dreamt of having this set since it was announced in the web thru FRONT ROW issue no. 15. I did not want to risk by ordering directly from my country where it might have some slippage in delivery like when I got pre-order of Marbles very late. Finally .. I got it in my hands directly from Stephen who flew from England to Jakarta bringing my stuff. Yeah. I spin the CD right away at Stephen's house in Jakarta. It blew me!

I love live albums. I usually use a set of criteria to review a live album, ie: 1.) the extent to which the recorded live music is more dynamic than the studio album, 2.) the extent of communication between the band and the audience, 3.) audience participation (hand clapping, shouting, etc), 4.) mixing and sound quality (including is there any cut or edit from original performance), 5.)the extent of musicians emotional control to maintain the best delivery of the music. The sonic quality is not as good as "La Gazza Ladra" but it's better than bootleg version. Overall performance of the band was recorded continuously as per original concert order, with minimum cuts. It's natural.

Volume A - 2 CD (76:47) Live at Rundsporthalle, Baunatal, Germany (1 October 1983)

This was taken during "Script for a Jester's Tear" Tour. It was actually a mystery gig by the band but luckily it turned out to be a groundbreaking gig and was key calling card for the band's expansion to Germany. The band just hired a new guy to look after the drum stools, Jonathan Mover on limited rehearsals. (Well, one of my considerations to buy this set was actually I want to hear how Jonathan performed his duty. He played really well and different with Pointer or Mosley). So, the line up was: Fish (voc), Mark Kelly (keys), Pete Trewavas (bass), Jonathan Mover (drums), and Steve Rothery (gtr).

Overall, the live performance sounds dynamic and interactive. Almost all breaks between tracks were fulfilled by Fish humorous (about sex) communication with the audience. The live set opens with a bit of "Assassing" intro that continues to the intro of "He Knows You Know" with some words from Fish. Nice opening. Jonathan's drumming work is really cool before Fish sings "Problems! Problems" - it sounds more dynamic than Mosley's style in La Gazza Ladra. In some segments Fish changed the lyrics to Germany. Creative. At the end of the track he started the conversation with the audience "BTW .. we are extremely sorry that in the past year we did not actually manage to come over here. This will be rectified next year when the full European tour starts ..". It's a very warm opening. "Garden Party" was then performed with some technical problems with Trewavas's bass guitar that bit disappear at beginning part of the track.

One thing that I like with this live set is the inclusion of "Three Boats from a Candy" that has never been included in previous release (as far as my knowledge). The other thing is "Assassing" that by the time of this performance was not released under FUGAZI album even though Fish did already mention the name of the album. The dazzling drum beats at intro by Jonathan was performed excellently. This version is a little bit different with the album version, especially Mark Kelly's punchy keyboard sounds. The percussion interlude used the single version. It's probably by that time only this version was composed by the band prior to an album. The detail sounds of bass and guitar also different. I do enjoy listening to this version. COOL ..

The other part that really blew me is FORGOTTEN SONS. Before the track starts, Fish made a long conversation with the audience about the song. "The main part of the story is about our generation. This generation is supposedly an intelligent generation that has the rights and the know-how to say NO. .. This is our chance to say NO to the invasion of other people's land.". He continues :"This is a song that we as a band wrote about peace; especially peace. This is for peace of northern island. This is dedicated to us tonight. This is called FORGOTTEN SONS!" The music was performed excellently with great voice of Fish, stunning lead guitar and symphonic keyboard. Drumming style is different with other live versions of the band. The solo keyboard is really nice and different. Overall, this version is much more dynamic and more symphonic compared to other versions of Forgotten Sons, even better than "Real to Reel" version.

"Forgotten Sons" seemed to be the last track until the audience requesting "More! More!" (in Germany's) and the band backed on stage. Fish started again the conversation followed by "Market Square Heroes". This track was performed excellently with high energy by the band. The interlude is really amazing. One complaint that I have with this track is the backing vocal quality (Pete Trewavas) when he sings "..market square heroes" .. so bad voice. Otherwise is excellent. Rothery's guitar is really rocking, followed by nice keyboard solo by Mark Kelly. Bass line is excellent.

Volume B : 2CD (112:18) - Live at Hammersmith Odeon, London, England (3 February 1986)

This live set surprisingly starts with the intro of "Emerald Lies" and continues seamlessly to "Script for A Jester's Tear" which was performed at its best by the band. It seemed that Fish sung with his heart. This track has some problems with sound recording and technical glitches that make this live set much natural, with no overdubs. It seems the original master tape has damaged especially at the end of the track (minute 7:56). It flows to "Incubus" with different (and nice!) keyboard sound. At the completion of "Incubus" Fish starts his first conversation with the crowd; talking about Simon Le Bon (Duran-Duran ?). He talked, with his Scottish accent, about to whom the next track ("Jigsaw") was dedicated. As I expected, the crowd sung "stand straight!" following the song.

At the end of "Jigsaw" Fish continues his long conversation with the crowd and answering the crowd's request for "Grendel". "No .. no Grendel tonight. I'm extremely sorry, I'm very story" and some conversation (jokes). "This next song is dedicated for the people who were here four years ago. It's called .. the WEB!" and then the music starts with nice keyboard work of Mark Kelly. I like this intro of the web because the keyboard is different than the studio version; it's little bit mellow and simpler. Wonderful intro!

Having done with "The Web" the band continues with the main menu of the concert: The A side of "Misplaced Childhood" album until the end of Disc 1. The five songs in this set was performed excellently by the band. It's probably the band got used to the Hammy stage as stated by Pete Trewavas in the sleeve note: "It seemed in thosed days we played here all the time.". The climax of this part is my all-time favorite "Heart of Lothian"; a wonderfully crafted song with tasty melody and great lyrics .."It's getting late .." WOW . what a fantastic song! Unfortunately, Disc 1 is about to end so that the B side of Misplaced must be continued on Disc 2.

Disc 2 kicks off with "Waterhole". I like the vibes-like sound (played by keyboard, I think) than sounds so obvious in this version compared to studio or La Gazza Ladra version. There is a tendency that during this track the band almost lose control because of the fast tempo this track has. Fortunately, it continues with slower tempo track "Lords of Backstage" and "Blind Curve". What a great track this one is. "Last night you said I was cold. Untouchable ... I just want to be free. I'm happy to be free. I'm happy to be lonely. Can't you stay away! Just leave me alone with my thoughts. I'm just to runaway .. runaway" (drum shot in here is cool man .).

Having completed the whole "Misplaced" set Fish continues with his words "This is a song for a generation. It's for you and it's called Fugazi" and the intro starts "Vodka intimate ." (unfortunately there are technical glitches here that disturb the voice quality - but it's OK, it's natural isn't it?). This track is performed longer than the studio version. I like the exploration of bass line by Pete, guitar by Steve and keys by Mark. It's a very attractive live track. It's the best "Fugazi" the band has ever performed so far. (I have some bootleg versions of Fish era; but the one in this set is much better: it's dynamic, energetic and much more rocking!). I like the part where Fish introduced the band members to the audience during the "Where are the prophets?" part. It's very nice and I keep repeating this track. It's not just the way Fish sings to introduce each member, but the background music is really cool: symphonic in nature, stunning guitar, great keyboard and punchy bass line. The crowd then follows shouting "Where are the prophets?" repeatedly. Oh boy . what a great chunk of music here. So dynamic, so lively! It seems I was in the middle of the crowd!

The encore "Punch and Judy" - "Market Square Heroes" was performed seamlessly in lively style. As usual, the crowd shout together "I'm a market square heroes!!!!". Interlude was performed wonderfully (starting at minutes 2:50) where Fish invites the audience to dance together and giving instructions on what the audience should do. The background music is great, dominated by keyboard backed with dazzling bass guitar and guitar fills. The solo bass guitar during Fish invitation to audience to dance "Yeah twist again .!" is really nice. Great concluding track!

Volume C: 2CD (97:07) - Live at Palatrussardi, Milan, Italy (26 January 1988)

I don't expect much of this live set as it seems similar with "La Gazza Ladra" or "Live from Lorelei" version. The difference is that this live set has incomplete "Misplaced Childhood". Venue wise, it seems Marillion had loyal and fanatic fan base in Italy. I can sense it through the crowd participation even during the first track "Slainthe Mhath". The even react actively to Fish's conversation before "Assassing". Through this live set I can feel the soul of live performance where the audience actively participated with the band. I like Fish conversation just before "White Russian" where he talked about the political conditions in the world; nothing has changed - like in Nicaragua, South Africa, El Salvador. Where do we go from here, White Russian? What a great talks! It flows to the music of "White Russian". Personally, this is my favorite track of "Clutching at Straws" album. The ending part is really an ultimate climax: Racing the clouds home .. We place our faith in human rights.

It seems the crowd were die-hard fan of Marillion as they shout together the beginning part of "Fugazi". Vodka intimate on affair .Mosley did a short drum solo after Fish sings "of a Friday's night supper .". And again at the part when the lyric is "Where are the prophets?" all the crowd sung together with loud voice. It's very lively and I like it! After "Fugazi" all crowd shout loudly like in a football match. Great! The band continues with first three tracks of "Clutching At Straws" album: "Hotel Hobbie" - performed differently with longer and ambient intro followed by vibes sound intro. The crowd was really hot here where I can here clearly the hand clapping. "This pilgrimage to happy hour ..!!" uuugh I like this part man - rocking guitar, dazzling bass line, stunning guitar and great drumming. It flows to "Warm Wet Circle" and "That Time of The Night". Again, crowd participation is wonderful. The nice and touchy clavinet sound at the beginning of "That Time of The Night" was accompanied by "Ooooo" by the crowd. Nice. There is small technical problem here where the start of "That Time of The Night" was cut too early. But it's OK.

I don't know for what reason the band did the "Misplaced Childhood" part in a reverse way starting from Side 2 and continued with Side 1 without "Pseudo Silk Kimono" and "Bitter Suite". Regretful, actually because if I look at the CD duration, there are ample space and definitely can accommodate these 2 songs. Anyway, the crowd participation in "Kayleigh" is really amazing - the can sing the lyrics on top of their head and it happens to "lavender" as well. Wow! Fantastic! The other regret is that "Heart of Lothian" is not started from the end of "Bitter Suite".

The encore of the live set is "Incommunicado" and "Garden Party". During "Garden Party" the crowd voice even louder than other tracks. Almost all of them participated.

OVERALL it's an excellent live set. For me personally I give FIVE STAR as it is a masterpiece because I am an Early Marillion aficionado and I'm sure I must have been "bias" in reviewing this boxed set. But I don't want to be so na´ve, that's why I'd give 4 stars for this page. This rating applicable for those who have listened to the first four albums of the band. For those who are NEW to the band, you should start with the studio album "Script for a Jester's Tear" and don't buy this boxed set. GW, Indonesia.

Gatot | 4/5 |

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