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Marillion - Recital Of The Script  CD (album) cover





4.36 | 167 ratings

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2 stars I will preface this review by saying I am not a big one for concert videos. There is a huge gap between the video and a live performance - the energy and excitement of the crowd cannot be captured, nor can the tension of the band as they pour themselves out on stage in front of their fans. I also tend to get wrapped up in the filming, which distracts me from the performance. This video is no different for me than any others I have seen, despite the obvious enjoyment and excitement of the audience, the concentration of the band as they play, and the performance of Fish. It is only when I see videos or photos of this era of Marillion that I remember they were an 80s band. They had the look, but not the sound. If nothing else, this is a good document of the band's live show at the time.

Maybe they should have called it The Fish Show With Marillion. Yes, Fish as the front man should be watched, but not when he standing still waiting for Steve Rothery to do his guitar solo. I like this era of Marillion a great, and Fish as well, but his face makeup is as reminiscent of Peter Gabriel as is his voice. Would I dare call Fish a poor man's Peter Gabriel? Perhaps I might. Really, though, I think the comparisons between their voices derives from using a similar technique while singing. The sharp clear enunciation necessarily leads to a nasally sound. These two vocalists are not the only ones who do it. Both Cat Stevens and Dave Cousins do it as well. I have always enjoyed the rococo nature of Fish's vocals, but found his stage performance, as dramatic as it can be, to not quite stand up to that standard.

The band sounds great, almost too good. They are precise but cold. There is little true live energy. To be fair, the nature of the music doesn't allow it. This is another reason why the show can seem like a Fish concert with a backing band.

A sameness sets in after about half an hour. Every song has its own built in dynamics, but they are the same dynamics. It's as if by pouring all their tricks into every song, Marillion makes them all sound alike. Also, Script for a Jester's Tear is not my favorite Marillion album. Fortunately, Forgotten Sons changes everything. Yes, it is from Script, but this version rocks. It is my favorite song of the video, and also the most passionate with its dire lyrics and subject matter. Fish dons camo, making him look like Frankenstein, what with his makeup and height. They stretch this one out to thirteen minutes, giving Fish plenty of time to menace the audience. I also really enjoyed this version of Market Square Heroes, especially the instrumental section when Fish joins Mik Pointer on drums.

The encore is truly amazing as it last for almost half an hour, and includes an 18 minute version of Grendel. Fish dons a Viking helmet and eventually pulls an overwhelmed fan out of the audience and pretends to rip him apart. That kid either has the best concert memory from this or is scarred for life.

The performance is good, but I do wish less attention was paid to Fish during inopportune moments. Also, long songs, even when not stretched out, rarely make for a good viewing experience for me. As such, I will relegate Recital of the Script to two stars. Core fans will love it, but I only found it mildly entertaining.

Progosopher | 2/5 |


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