Marillion   Lucky-Rijssen   Dec 09, 2007


After the extensive Somewhere Else tour, Marillion decided to travel Europe for their third so-called Christmas tour. Tonight`s Marillion gig was going to be my sixth this year: this deserves some explanation. One of the main reasons why it`s so much fun to go to a Marillion gig is the excitement about not knowing how the gig is going to turn out. For instance: if you`re going to a Porcupine Tree gig, you exactly know what you`re going to get. No matter what songs this band is going to play, no matter what venue, no matter the shape of the band is: a show solid as a rock yet hardly surprising. A Marillion gig can go three ways, much depending on the set list and the mood of the band. I`ve seen this band on occasion playing a two and a half hour show filled with the crappiest songs they`ve ever written (and they have written quite a few in the last decade). I`ve seen plenty of shows where the band hopped through their set from absolute highlight to utter disgrace. And then there are the shows where the band blows the crowd away with a supreme set, like they did earlier this year at the last night of the Marillion 2007 convention. Since Somewhere Else, the band`s latest release (without any doubt the weakest Marillion album ever) my expectations for this night weren`t too high.

Nevertheless, tonight`s gig in Rijssen proved to be one of the finest Marillion shows ever (and I`ve seen quite a few as you might have already noticed). I remember looking at the new T-shirts at the merchandise stand in anticipation of the show and asking my friend about who had put the humor into Marillion: the h-shirt ("The new singer . since 1989") and the mostly-shirt ("Ian Mostly for President") were spot-on and showed the band from a side I didn`t knew yet. During the show the band proved to be in great shape, especially h, joking around, jamming some Beatles tunes; as a matter of fact these guys seem to enjoy themselves more and more over the years. The set list was stunning and surprising to say the least. Who would have thought that the band would start the show with the first four tracks of Brave, one of their career highlights (Misplaced Childhood and Marbles being the others).Who would have guessed that the twenty minute epic `This Strange Engine` would be on the set list. It`s hard to keep your eyes dry when you experience the intensity of this autobiographical song. The last song of the encore was simply hilarious: Santa Clause replaced Steve Hogarth to perform the Christmas classic `Let It Snow`. Who would have thought that it actually started to snow in the hall.

It`s remarkable to see how much the Marillion live-experience has changed over the years. Ten years ago you would go to a Marillion gig to experience the music; in 2007 you visit their gigs for the show an excellent and enjoyable night out. Marillion have stopped taking themselves too serious and started to take pleasure in the things they do best. Ten years back the smallest mistake or a malfunction of the equipment caused a big stir on stage. Now the show is far from flawless, but even the clearest mistakes currently result in a frown of the eyebrow, a joke or at most a slightly cynical smile on the faces. Ten years ago, especially during the This Strange Engine Tour, you came to see five outstanding musicians, now you go see to exceptional band: friends and family.

Picture from the Rockezine archives (Marillion Bospop, (c) Geert Oldenmenger)

(Review: Geert Oldenmenger)


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