Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography




From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Marillion Real to Reel album cover
3.88 | 358 ratings | 24 reviews | 29% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Live, released in 1984

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Assassing (7:28)
2. Incubus (8:45)
3. Cinderella search (5:46)
4. Emerald lies (5:26)
5. Forgotten sons (10:36)
6. Garden party (6:32)
7. Market Square heroes (7:31)

Total Time: 52:06

Line-up / Musicians

- Fish / vocals
- Mark Kelly / keyboards
- Ian Mosley / drums
- Steve Rothery / guitars
- Pete Trewavas / bass, backing vocals

Releases information

Toshiba-EMI 2005 TOCP-67792 includes 2 Bonus Tracks
8. Charting The Single (6:37)
9. Margaret (12:22)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Tarcisio Moura for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy MARILLION Real to Reel Music

MARILLION Real to Reel ratings distribution

(358 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(29%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

MARILLION Real to Reel reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I was still in a full enjoyment of the band's second album "Fugazi" when this album was released in 1984. I still remember how I was able to sing almost all Marillion's lyrics on top of my head. "Emerald Lies" was my favorite at that time. I kept repeating this track over and over especially I like the dazzling percussion style and also Fish's voice in a piece of lyrics " a gallery of ....contempt!" - great man!

To my surprise that the band released their first live album with excellent title "REAL to REEL". So innovative! I love live albums because it is alive and able to create an atmosphere of rock concert. Even the intro of "Assassing" with a background of audience's hand clapping and shouting had set a "real" nuances. This track was performed much more dynamic than its original studio track. Marvelous!

But of course, the most interesting track for me is the song for peace and it's called ..."Forgotten Sons!" Wooowwwww ......!! So lively! So stunning! So great! Fish sung emotionally in this track and I know why he did that. When I listened to this track I imagined that I watched the "Recital of the Script" DVD where he sung with a gun in his arms and pretending to shoot his enemies. What a nice shot, Fish!

"Garden Party" and "Market Square Heroes" were performed seamlessly with great energy and serve the purpose of being the concert's encore. Well, this album is as great as "Genesis Live", "Yessongs", "Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends", "Yesshows". Rating 5/5 for sure. - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia


Review by frenchie
2 stars I've heard lots of good things about marillion and i found this album for 50p at a vinyl store the other day. I have been quite eager to hear this band ever since i've been using this site and this was the first album i have heard by them and quite frankly i wasn't impressed. This is not to say i wont like them, i just generally believe i picked up one of their stinkers.

This is a live album from 1984 (quite early into their career, it seems) and the recording quality is good but i found side 1 very tedious and repetitive but the music was ok, it was just the vocals were absolutely diabolical. There was no sense of emotion, it just sounded like a big dull mess. I was very disapointed to hear a band let down by their vocalist and it sounds like a terrible live piece. The only interesting part of side 1 was the guitar work on "Cinderalla Search". For some reason my version did not have "Emerald Lies" on it so this might be a big loss.

Side 2 showed some definite improvement. Market Square Heroes and Forgotten Sons were good songs and i found vast improvement on the vocals and musician work. I will have to get into some of marillions studio work to enjoy this album more i expect but as it is, this album is distinctly average.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Sing along now, "I'm a M_____ ______ ____"

An early retrospective live album featuring seven tracks by the Fish era version of the band. Of these, two are from their first album, three from their second, one non-album B-side, plus the final track, the non-album single "Market Square heroes".

The performance is competent if a bit mundane, with little to distinguish the tracks from their studio album originals. Certainly Steve Rothery's guitar work is superb, but Fish's vocals at times sound over dramatic at the expense of the melody. There are moments such as the closing section of "Forgotten sons" which give a clear indication of what was to come not only from Marillion, but from bands such as Arena and other "Neo-prog" outfits too.

I'm sure the rendition of "Market Square heroes" was enjoyable for those who attended the performance. I do find however that audience participation does not transfer well to audio only recordings. In this case, Fish stops singing each time the words of the title come around, to allow the audience to fill the gap. This causes the track to have a stop and start effect which completely spoils it.

"The thieving Magpie" album gave a much better representation of Fish era Marillion in a live environment. With the superior studio versions of these tracks being widely available on their original albums or compilations, "Reel to reel" is only really essential for band historians, and Marillion completists.

Review by erik neuteboom
5 stars This is Marilion in their heyday (I prefer "Real to reel" far above the lacklustre double live album "The thieving magpie") after they had convinced the musical press by delivering the outstanding "Fugazi". This live-CD is the world tour from that album, it's partly recorded in Canada, the craddle of Prog Archives. If you listen to "Real to reel" you will be carried away by the distinctive vocals and emotional lyrics from Fish ("Forgotton sons" is such a very moving anti-war song), the varied and compelling guitarwork from Steve Rothery (the guitarsoli in "Incubus" is at the level of the best Latimer and Gilmour), the pleasant and lush keyboards from Mark Kelly (he's more than Tony Banks his twin-brother) and the dynamic rhythm-section from Ian Mosley (ex-Trace, the Dutch keyboard treat) and Pete Trawavas. To me this is still the best progrock after The Seventies but I have to admit that some overkill has entered the scene after all those years. Nonetheless, ESSENTIAL!!!
Review by Bob Greece
5 stars 20 years ago, this was the second LP that I bought. Listening to it now, it still sounds fantastic so clearly it's a masterpiece. The album contains live songs from the first 2 Marillion albums. It starts with Marillion's first hit (Assassing), which is a great hard rocking song and a lot less commercial than their subsequent hits (Kayleigh and Lavender). The album progresses with Incubus, Cinderella Search and Emerald Lies which have passionate singing by Fish that fits in perfectly with the playing of the band.

The last three songs on the album are where Marillion really go for it. There's Forgotten Sons and then Garden Party, which merges seamlessly into Market Square Heroes. It's fast, energetic, exciting hard rocking prog.

Thanks to Marillion for keeping prog alive in the eighties. This album shows why Marillion were the top prog band of the decade.

Review by ClemofNazareth
3 stars This is an odd little live album from the earliest days of the Fish era. Marillion are certainly a band that has an affinity for live albums, having released more of them than they have studio albums over the twenty-five years or so of their existence, and even now offering their 'Front Row Club' where fans sign up for a subscription service and eventually receive a couple dozen additional live CDs from various shows over the years.

And why not? In general Marillion's live recordings are pretty well-engineered, and the band appears able to reproduce their studio sound quite well on the stage. And as far as this early recording, Fish was frankly born to be on stage, so the energy of the shows that provided these tracks is fairly evident.

That being said, there are enough minor annoyances with this collection that they are a bit of a distraction from what is otherwise a very good early look at the band on stage. First is the song selection, and particularly "Cinderella Search", which was originally the backside of several of the various "Assassing" singles and/or pictures discs that were released surrounding Fugazi. Not only is this kind of an obscure inclusion, but this was left in on the original British LP release of Real to Reel, from which the wonderful "Emerald Lies" has been cut ("Emerald Lies" appears on both the cassette and CD versions of this album). Considering vinyl albums far outsold either cassette or CD up until about a decade after this first released, it would have made for a much better album had "Cinderella Search" been cut instead.

Another irritant is that the cassette version lists each song as being anywhere from ten to forty-eight seconds longer than they are listed on the album. I'm not sure which is right, although I timed "Cinderella Search" and it played out at 5:46 which is what is listed on the cassette, although the album lists it at 5:24. All the other songs on the vinyl are listed with shorter times than they are on cassette as well. This probably means nothing, but one has to wonder exactly how much attention was really paid to the engineering and packaging of this thing. Marillion came largely out of nowhere in 1982, and this was clearly a promotional album aimed at both taking advantage of their fast-rising popularity, and trying to spur more interest in the group I suppose, but it would have been nice for the label to get it right the first time.

And speaking of getting it right, this album was re-released a few years later and packaged with a 'bonus' disc which was actually the Brief Encounter combination live/studio album that was released a couple years after this. If you can find that version, it's much better than this one because "Emerald Lies" is on it, as well as "Fugazi" and five other tracks from the first couple of albums. This one is actually a good deal, and since some of those recordings are from the same concerts as Real to Reel drew from, one has to feel a bit screwed in shelling out for the two live 'EPs' separately on their initial release.

Other than that, the production is quite good on Real to Reel, particularly on "Forgotten Sons" and "Incubus", which are near perfect execution by the band.

On "Market Square Heroes" Ian Mosley doesn't quite pull off the intoxicating rhythms he laid down in the studio when this was recorded, and as a result the song doesn't have near the biting impact as the original recording of it does. Also, Fish spends a bit of time introducing band members to the audience, and does that little thing on some of the choruses where he holds out the mic and lets the crowd song. I've always hated that on live albums - I want to here the performers, not the drunks in the near rows.

So all in all this is a good snapshot of the early days of Marillion on the road, with about half the tracks being very good, and the others just so-so. There are better live collections from Marillion, and unless you're intent on hearing what they sound like in their first couple of years, I would look toward picking up Script, Fugazi, and the Market Square Heroes original studio releases instead. If you're determined to have this just because it's live, at least pick up the remastered CD and get the Brief Encounter tracks as well. I give the original British vinyl release two stars, but since you're more likely to be able to get the much better value re-release with Brief Encounters today, I'll bump that to three stars.


Review by Tristan Mulders
4 stars Marillion - Real to reel

As I already mentioned in my reviews for the other Fish-era live album, "The Thieving Magpie/La Gazza Ladra," this is a well-produced live disc. The songs included here are taken from the Fugazi tour in early 1984. Unlike the "The thieving Magpie" album, all songs on this release crossover into one another, giving the listener the impression that they are listening to one complete show, whereas the songs are actually taken from three separate gigs.

On this live release, the various songs are well played by a noticeably enthusiastic band. Several songs are even better when performed live than on the studio albums. For instance: I normally do not like the first half of Incubus, but it just feels right on this release. Perhaps because the keyboards sound different in the intro?!

Another song that I like a lot more live than studio is the happiness that is Garden Party. I used to love this song, but I think I overplayed it a little. Live however it is far more energetic and therefore very enjoyable to listen to.

The other songs are either Marillion classics, or they are simply great rock songs to get the audience going. Especially the closing track Market Square Heroes is one of these songs, alongside Cinderella Search, in which the band (i.e. FISH) is 'playing' with the crowd. 'Market Square Heroes' is also the improvisation song on this disc in which all the band members have a solo spot.

If someone considers buying a live disc from the Fish-era, I would definitely recommend this one, because it feels like an integral concert recording, unlike a collection of barely linked live tracks as on the "The thieving Magpie" album.

Review by sleeper
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.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars I think that, marketing wise, Marillion is one of the first band to have undersood the use the marketing power of live albums and their subsequent sales. Marillion was already huge in 86. Two studio albums, and two live efforts (one video, one album). This live album is not as brilliant as their concert filmed for their "Recital Of The Script" performance at the Hammersmith in April 1983.

In the meantime, they have released "Fugazzi" their second album. Far behind the brilliance of their first and unmatched "Script". This recording was part of the supporting tour for "Fugazzi" and accordingly features four numbers out of it. The best one (the title track) not being included here (which is an a mistake IMO).

There are of course no weak tracks on this album : Marillion did not produce weak numbers those days. Still, the songs from their first album are still my faves. As I have mentioned in y review for "Fugazzi", "Cinderalla Search" was, and still is one of my preferred song from the "Fugazzi" sessions (although not featured on the original album).

The original numbers from "Fugazzi" being rather hard, won't sound harder here. Hopefully. Quiet faithful to the original. The combination of both albums sounds pretty nice. The best live album from Marillion (Fish era, but there won't be better ones - with Steve Hogarth). This is a good Marillion live album (even the audience participation during "Market Square" is not too boring.

I usualy can't stand those "moments" (being in the audience or not). But I have to say that in this case, we are far from these useless "audience solo" like featured on some live albums. What we get here is just some pleasant "Market Square Heroes" in full symbiosis with the band. The audience will also take a real pleasure while singing "I'm f.cking" during "Garden Party". Isn't it strange ?

Highlights are "Forgotten Songs" and "Cinderella".

This album will be released much much later on a double CD format called "Real To Reel - Brief Encounter". I highly recommend you to buy this one (as I did) to get the second CD which is of great value. It really sells for cheap. I'll describe it in my review of this second CD in the according section.

Four stars for this very good live Marillion moments.

Review by obiter
4 stars I am not a great fan of live albums. it's always difficult to recreate the atmosphere of the occasion on disk. A fabulous concert to attend may produce an unremarkable recording and vice versa. This album was recorded over 3 nights (side 1 over a couple of nights in Montreal and side 2 on a Monday night in Leicester) so we get an idea of different perfromances.

The song selection is strong: Assassing is an excellent opener and Forgotten Sons is superb. This is by no means the polished article: the Thieving Magpie takes that accolade, but I much prefer the inadequacies and flaws of Real to Reel. They seem to add up to a better recreation of the live experience. There is a great deal of crowd noise and it reminds me of the times I saw Marillion.

What more can you ask from a live album?

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Real to Reel" is a live album release by UK progressive rock act Marillion. The album was released through EMI Records in November 1984 and bridges the gap between the bandīs second- and third full-length studio albums "Fugazi" (1984) and "Misplaced Childhood" (1985). The material on "Real to Reel" was recorded on the 5th of March 1984 at De Montfort Hall in Leicester, England and on the 19th?20th of June 1984 at the Spectrum in Montreal, Canada, during the tour supporting "Fugazi" (1984). The album features material from the bandīs first two studio albums and the two single tracks "Cinderella Search" (B-side track to the April 1984 "Assassing" single) and "Market Square heroes" (A-side to the October 1982 "Market Square heroes" single).

"Real to Reel" is a relatively short live album only featuring 7 tracks (the vinyl version excludes "Emerald Lies") and a total playing time of 52:05 minutes. Well...maybe not short in terms of playing time, but 7 tracks arenīt much. On the other hand Marillion didnīt really have enough material at this point to release a double live album, as such a release would include almost every song they had ever created.

The track selection on live albums is always a subject of discussion, but "Real to Reel" arguably includes some great tracks. In addition to the two single tracks mentioned above the album includes "Forgotten Sons" and "Garden Party" from "Script for a Jester's Tear" (1983) and "Assassing", "Incubus", and "Emerald Lies" from "Fugazi" (1984). Marillion are not an act who changes on or experiments with their tracks on stage, and most of the tracks on "Real to Reel" are true to the original studio versions albeit with a slightly more unpolished sound and lead vocalist Fish changing how he sings a few words here and there. "Garden Party" features a bit of audience participation as they sing the "[%*!#]ing" part of the lyrics and the band close "Market Square heroes" with a couple of minutes of jamming. But thatīs about it in terms of differences from the studio versions of the tracks.

"Real to Reel" features a well sounding production job, which suits the material well, and although itīs a relatively polished live production, it still provides the material with a live sound, that the studio versions donīt have. Upon conclusion "Real to Reel" is a high quality live album by Marillion and a great representation of how great they were in a live environment even this early on in their career. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
5 stars Fish era Marillion is a band that seems to glow even more as time goes by. Everytime I hear their work of the 80īs it appears to be better than I thought before. Far from a Genesis clone they were a brilliant outfit that defied a decade that considered the whole progressive ethos as a dead, rotting corpse, to be heard only by maybe old hippies, nerds or losers. You had to be special to face such insalubrious enviroment and survive, let alone have success. And Marillion did just that.

Part of this success, I believe, was the fact that marillion was primary a live band. They built their following with constant touring. Even though I appreciated their studio works very much, it was only when Real to Reel came out was I aware of how good they were. All the live tracks are, at least a little bit, superior to their originally recorded form. Some are too evident (Assassing, Incubus, Emerald Lies), but none as much as the single b-side Cinderella Search. This hymn to idealistic love, with its shifting moods and striking grand finale is filled with so much guts, feelings and beauty it makes you think the original version is a poor, incomplete demo. This track alone is worth the CD price.

But if you want to see how good they were at winning an audience you should listen to the last three songs: Forgotten Sons, Garden party and Market Square Heroes. Fish leads the band with the public at the palm of his hand. I remebered how I was amazed that a prog band - and a prog band in the 80īs! - could be so overwhelming powerful live. It makes you want to be there with the crowd singing with them the last songīs chorus at the top of your lungs!

Some people claim Real To Reel came a little too early (the band had released only two full albums by then). But it still stands as their best live record ever. A time when Marillion was a welcome sign to anyone who loved prog and felt alone in his musical taste. I loved it then, I love it now. Here you can have the band at its peak and before the international phenomenon they would become with the next release, the classic Misplaced Childhood.

My CD is the EMI 1997 release that includes the Brief Encounter EP as an extra CD. It was released in the USA in 1986 and contains two studio singles b sides (Lady Nina and Freaks) plus three live tracks: Kayleigh, Fugazi and Script For A Jester Tear. A nice touch.

Review by progkidjoel
4 stars Marillion - Real To Reel

Review by ProgKidJoel

Marillion's REAL TO REEL is the band's first ever live album, and although recorded at seperate shows, the audience's applause is carried between tracks in a manner in which it makes the album sound like one full recording. This was recorded during the FUGAZI tour, and as such, only contains tracks from their first two records, SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR and FUGAZI.

This great live set contains some of the band's best ever, including the definitive version of FORGOTTEN SONS, and an incredibly energizing live version of the B-Side, CINDERELLA SEARCH.

The sonic quality on this recording isn't the best (I have a copy of the original 1984 CD release) although I can't speak for the Vinyl/Remastered CD copies. The recording is good, and the band is really rocking hard on each show, which is evident in the massive enthusiasm and energy with which this five-piece from the UK approach each track.

The obvious standout is FORGOTTEN SONS, although GARDEN PARTY is also played with a much higher tempo than the original recording, giving it much more life, aswell as some nice vocal improvisation to mix things up a little. The only dissapointment of a live performance is INCUBUS, only as doesn't differ much from the studio version on FUGAZI.

An unnesential release, however, this is great fun for a Marillion fan.



Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I'm not the biggest live album enthusiast in the world. There are obvious exceptions like King Crimson, Magma or Deep Purple, but generally live albums don't seem to add much but an occasional live ambience and reduced production values. I've seen both incarnations of Marillion in the flesh, Clutching at Strawsand Marbles tours respectively, and while I have only a slight preference for the Fish over the Hogarth-era, the live experience was quite a difference. In the 80's, Marillion concerts were a powerful experience with high adrenaline levels. The Real to Reel album has captured that live energy more then adequately.

The songs from the then most recent album Fugazi album bear no remarkable difference to their originals, but then, that studio album was perfect already. Script For A Jester's Tear however lacked a bit of punch. Here, the strenuous live renditions of Forgotten Sons and Garden Party reveal those song's true potential. Especially Forgotten Sons is an essential live track with improved drumming, extended guitar solos and Fish spitting out his soul. Also Garden Party is more convincing then its original, even though I prefer Fish's vocals over fans chanting the lyrics, but it's not off-putting. Market Square Heroes is powerful and is extended with a bit of soloing. I'm no very impressed by Trewavas background vocals, which makes me generally prefer the studio takes.

Due to the limitations of vinyl the original album didn't even have Emerald Lies. Had this been released today it would probably have been a 5 star double CD featuring a complete set. Still, this is worth a good 3.5 stars, upped for sentimental reasons.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Real to Reel must have been a big deal back in the day since it showed the pre-Misplaced Childhood era Marillion in action and gave the audience their first real live recording of the band.

By today's standards this album might not be the ultimate must-have Marillion live release that I expected it to be since it lacks in the track-list department. Where are Fugazi, She Chameleon or how about big live favorites like Punch And Judy or Jigsaw? The future live releases, most notably Curtain Call - A Live Archive 1983-1988, would be a whole lot better in that department making this recording feel very outdated and unnecessary for anyone but the fan base and collectors.

I'm very confused about this set-list that, in my opinion, only has Forgotten Sons as an essential part for any Marillion performance but even this number lacks when compared to an even earlier performance on Recital Of The Script. I realize that there are quite a few fans to whom this album is dear but even they would hopefully realize that it has more to do with nostalgia and sentimentality than anything particularly memorable about this performance.

If you're interested in the essential Marillion live material the I suggest looking elsewhere. Why not try the 1988 release The Thieving Magpie - La Gazza Ladra or even Early Stages: The Official Bootlegs 1982-1987 which might not have been recorded in high quality but will ultimately give a much more accurate representation of the band and their live performances.

**** star songs: Emerald Lies (5:26) Forgotten Sons (10:36) Market Square Heroes (7:31)

*** star songs: Assassing (7:28) Incubus (8:45) Cinderella Search (5:46) Garden Party (6:32)

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars It was in the early 80s that one of my friends went back from London with a tape of a new band. I didn't know the track's titles on that tape so I started buying any Marillion's album released hoping to find what later I discovered was Grendel.

Real to Reel is the second Marillion album that I have bought, just after Fugazi and one thing that the two albums had in common (I'm speaking of vinyl editions) is that they don't contain any information about the band and the lineup. I had to wait for Misplaced Childhood to learn their names.

So I had to enjoy this live without knowing anthing else that the fact that the band's name wos inspired by Tolkien's Silmarillion.

The album is opened by Assassing that was the hit-single from Fugazi, or at least I remember so. The production is excellent and the song has the same emotional impact on both the studio and the live versions. I have to add that we were already in the 80s and the lack of good music (not only prog) was huge so i was more than happy to hear a band of this kind, before the neo-prog label was invented.

Still from Fugazi, Incubus has just a little defect: the initial "ooh-wah" that Fish sings is too clear in this live version so it sounds a little ridiculous. Apart of this little thing, the song is not too different from the studio version and in the second half of the song Fish cries his "ooh-wah" better. I just have to add that this is one of the best songs of the Fish era.

"Cinderella Search" was actually unreleased. It's in line with the previous songs. It's possible that it was discarded by Fugazi because of vinyl limitations, or it was written just after the album was ready to be printed. However it sounds like it was a Fugazi's song.

Let's jump "Emerald Lies" that was not included in the vinyl edition and go to the B-side that's opened by what I consider the best song ever released by Marillion. Forgotten Sons is for me their masterpiece even if the final guitar riff is "stolen" from Grendel. Using the same riff in two different songs is quite immoral....

However the album is closed by two unforgettable songs: Garden Party was the first commercial success of the band, released as a single and on Script. So important for the band that "The Uninvited Guest" on the first Hogarth's era album sounds to me like a copy. The improvement is that on the final notes of the song, instead of closing it they start "Market Square Heroes". This song was not released on an album but was in the tape that I've mentioned before so I already knew it. It's an excellent closer for a live performance, with a rhythm that can make people dance and a chorus that can be sung by the crowd. This is exactly what seems to have happened when the live has been recorded.

This live represents the best of the first half of the Fish era. Things started to change with Misplaced Childhood, that was a more mature album, more pretentious but less spontaneous. On Real to Reel we have a young band and their enthusiasm can be felt. Surely one of the few great albums of the first half of the 80s and still one of my favorite.

Review by Warthur
3 stars A brief live album with tracks drawn from the Fugazi tour - split more or less evenly between Fugazi-era material in the first half and Script-era stuff in the second - Marillion's Real to Reel is entertaining but doesn't quite capture the live Marillion experience quite as well. Part of this might be due to the songs being sourced from two separate shows, and it's certainly exacerbated that aside from a small amount of patter at the start of Forgotten Sons almost all of Fish's banter between songs is excised. When so many high-quality live releases offer complete Fish-era shows - Recital of the Script, Live at Loreley, Early Stages and Curtain Call - Real to Reel is at best a taster, something to nibble at to see if live Fish-period material is your thing.
Review by VianaProghead
4 stars Review Nš 318

'Real To Reel' is the debut live album of Marillion and was released in 1984. The live performances on this album were recorded from two distinct places and in two completely different countries in two different Continents. The four first tracks were taken from a live show at the Spectrum in Montreal, Canada and the last three tracks where taken from a live show at the Montfort Hall, Leicester, England. Both concerts were performed in the same year. The year was 1984.

This live album was released after the release of their second studio album 'Fugazi', wich was released in the same year, the year of 1984. It was released after the departure of their original drummer and founding member Mick Pointer, who left the group to join to another new neo-prog band, at the time 'Arena'. So, the drummer on this album is their current drummer, Ian Mosley. So, the line up on 'Real To Reel' is Derek Dick, 'Fish' (vocals), Steve Rothery (guitars), Mark Kelly (keyboards), Pete Trewavas (bass) and Ian Mosley (drums).

'Real To Reel' was re-leased in 1997, as two disc set, with 'Brief Encounter', an EP originally released in 1986 to promote the band on their U.S.A. live tour, in 1986. That EP has five tracks. It has an extended version of 'Lady Nina', the single version of 'Freaks' and also the live versions of 'Kayleigh', 'Fugazi' and 'Script For A Jester's Tears'. The original standard vinyl version from 'Real To Reel' has only six tracks, two songs each from their first two studio albums and two songs which were released only as singles. However, the CD version, which is mine and that I'm going to review, has another track which was only originally released as a bonus track on the CD and the cassette versions.

So, my CD has seven tracks. The first track 'Assassing' and the second track 'Incubus' were originally released on their second studio album 'Fugazi', in 1984. The third track 'Cinderella Surch' was originally released as the B side of their single 'Assassing' originally released on 'Fugazi'. The fourth track 'Emerald Lies' was also originally released on 'Fugazi'. The fifth track 'Forgotten Sons' and the sixth track 'Garden Party' were originally released on their debut studio album 'Script For A Jester's Tears', in 1983. The seventh track 'Market Square Heroes' was originally released on their debut EP 'Market Square Heroes', in 1982. It was the first track on that EP, as the A side. It was also originally released as the A side of their debut single with the same name 'Market Square Heroes', also released in 1982.

About the tracks chosen to be part of this live album, 'Assassing' is a very energetic track with a touch of an Islamic music, with a beautiful interlude, a good bass line and a very dynamic drumming. It became one of their classic tracks. 'Incubus' is a track with a strong structure, a melodic composition and a different tempo. Its music moves dynamically all over the song with smooth musical transitions from one melody to another. 'Cinderella Search' remains, for me, as one of my preferred songs from the 'Fugazzi' sessions, though not featured on the original album. 'Emerald Lies' is a good track but it isn't one of their best. It sounds a bit na've when compared with some of the others. Still, it has a good bass line, great guitar melody, the vocal dynamics are very good and the lyrics are simple and clever. 'Forgotten Sons' is a song with very powerful lyrics and with a clear political message. This is, in my opinion, one of their best pieces of music. 'Garden Party' is a great track. The lyrics are absolutely fantastic, very satiric, and it represents perhaps Fish's best lyrical performance on the entire album. This song reminds me strongly the very personal and unique style of Peter Gabriel in Genesis. 'Market Square Heroes' is a pleasant song with a good melody. Despite be a bit commercial and not very progressive, it's a compelling track that shows their superior song writing skills, even in those times.

About the live performance, there are some powerful moments on 'Real To Reel'. It's a trip to hear Fish stop singing during 'Garden Party' and 'Market Square Heroes' to let the audience take over the job, and they don't miss a single beat. But what surprises me is that the material from the 'Script For A Jester's Tear' period is just as strong as the great material from 'Fugazi'. Yes, 'Forgotten Sons' is still a bit overblown, but 'Garden Party' really shines, especially when paired up with 'Market Square Heroes'. It's as powerful as 'Assassing' and 'Incubus' that open this live album.

Conclusion: 'Real To Reel' is a great debut live album. They were careful with the inclusion of two songs from their debut studio album, two songs from their second studio album, three on the CD version, a song from their historical debut EP and a song only released as a single. However, some of their best and most representative material of their beginning aren't present here, like 'Script For A Jester's Tear', 'The Web', 'Fugazi' and especially 'Grendel'. By the other hand, despite the live performance be very competent, very few things distinguish the live tracks from the studio versions. Nevertheless, 'Real To Reel' still is a great album and a magnificent live performance of some of their best and most representative songs comprising their earlier musical period, played with fantastic and conviction energy.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Latest members reviews

4 stars I did not know any of the songs from this album when I acquired, and it was not easy to digest, musically speaking. The prominence of Fish here, takes some of the luster to the rest of the band, except Cinderella Search, in which plays a great role and is a great track excellently executed. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1008254) | Posted by sinslice | Monday, July 29, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Deliverance... There are Live-Albums and Live-Albums... I'd like to divide them into two categories, really, although there are more... but mainly you get either those that, as an act of duty, have been put out to give the listener a "best of" performed in concert - and therefore please the ... (read more)

Report this review (#610432) | Posted by rupert | Sunday, January 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The first live album from Marillion just before they got really going. That's both artistic and commercially. With material from their first two albums plus a non album single and a B side, this is a bit of an oddity in Marillion's very long list of live albums. The sound is unmistaken 1980s. ... (read more)

Report this review (#597542) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, December 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I believe this dates from about the same time period that I saw Fish and Marillion opening for Todd Rungren and Utopia at the Lowell Showboat in Michigan. Great show! This is, by no means, meant to be the be-all and end-all of Fish-era live records by the band but it is a good record of songs ... (read more)

Report this review (#442246) | Posted by mohaveman | Tuesday, May 3, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Real to Reel - Marillion's first album was kept at an extra low price when it was released back in 1984, so I got the vinyl at once. The CD version gives us an extra Emarald Lies. The first two tracks are much the same as the studio versions, a little more aggressive, though. Back then Cinderell ... (read more)

Report this review (#162658) | Posted by strayfromatlantis | Monday, February 25, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great heavy album. it features all qualities present in the band. Dynamic drumming, great bassplaying, sublime guitars, atmospheric melodic keyboards and of course Fish, with great diction and power in his vocals. Marillion showed that they could reproduce the sounds they created in the studio ... (read more)

Report this review (#12142) | Posted by tuxon | Wednesday, February 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of MARILLION "Real to Reel"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.