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Marillion - Real to Reel CD (album) cover





3.84 | 304 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Real To Reel is the first live album released by the leading lights of the Neo prog seen, Marillion, after their second album, Fugazi.

This is one of my personal favourites amongst the live albums that I have as I find that the album contains a very strong line up of tracks and the band themselves were clearly firing on all cylinders the night they recorded this. Though many of the songs here are performed pretty faithfully to their studio counterparts, there's little things here and there that really give the album extra character and make the songs come alive.

As you would expect from a live album of theirs released in '84, this is dominated with tracks from that years album Fugazi, with three of the first four tracks taken from the album and the other one a none-album B-side recorded at the same time. This doesn't bother me as some of the strongest tracks from that album were chosen for inclusion here, including the really impressive Incubus, but strangely not the albums title track, Fugazi.

The airy, atmospheric intro to Assassing was always going to make this the perfect song to open up a live show and the band dutifully perform it to perfection setting a strong tone for the rest of the album. This followed by a really emotional performances of Incubus, complete with a stunning solo from Rothery, and Cinderella Search. The first half of the album is closed out with the paranoid Emerald Lies, a song that has had its character strengthened in this live performance.

The remaining three songs are all from either the debut album Script for a Jester's Tear or from the EP Market Square Heroes. The first of these is the powerful anti-war song Forgotten Sons. For the most part this song is performed pretty faithfully to the studio version with only a different guitar part before the prayer section and drawn out, poignant silence after it. However, the end of this song is vastly superior to the end of the studio version, which was pretty good already, with Fish adding extra lyrics and singing the "Ring-a-ring-a-roses" lines himself. This is followed by Marillion's break through song in the mainstream market, Garden Party, which segues into Market Square Heroes, two songs that are both performed excellently.

Though all of the band members are performing brilliantly there is one part of the album that I don't like. I am not fond of the way that Fish gets the audience to sing some of the lines in certain songs, such as the "I'm a market square hero" line. If I was at the concert I probably wouldn't mind and even join in, but on the CD I want to hear Fish not the audience. I'm also rather surprised at the inclusion of Cinderella Search on here, surely Punch and Judy, the first single from Fugazi, would have been a better choice as well as being a better song.

Frankly this is a rather good live album with no real weak songs and filled with strong performances by all the band members. However, because of those small nigles that I mentioned above I cant give this album a 5 star rating as its not a masterpiece, but it does get 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4. Well worth getting.

sleeper | 4/5 |


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