Royal Albert Hall, London On sale on Monday, 05 Dec 2016 at 12:00 PM
Rated 5 out of 5 by Stotty1975 from Pure Class! I've been a Marillion fan since 1985 and have been seeing them live since around 1989. They just get better and better in the live arena and this show at the Manchester Academy only served to re-confirm this. Being back in the UK top 10 album chart with 'FEAR' has obviously put a spring in their step as they were in strident form throughout this two and a half-hour show. The set list was built around some of their more epic pieces of music, with 'The Invisible Man' and 'This Strange Engine' along with 'Eldorado' and 'New Kings' from the new album all given their fifteen minutes plus airings. However, that's not to say there weren't any crowd pleasers on offer; the Simple Minds-esque 'Sounds That Can't Be Made' and 'Power' got the venue bouncing nicely. New track 'Living With Fear' was a highlight and received a glorious ovation from the sell-out crowd, whilst hearing the band dust off 'Easter' and 'Sugar Mice' after a few years' absence was a joy. The band were in pretty awesome form; Steve Hogarth continues to be a highly watchable and entertaining frontman and he was on fire on the night. Whether it's acting out his (at times), politically charged lyrics on stage or switching from a vast array of shakers and tambourines to keyboards and guitar, he's never idle on stage. He was learly enjoying himself and some of his banter with the audience was good value too. Steve Rothery, confirmed his status as one of the finest guitar players of his generation. Clad in black and solid as granite, he is the embodiment of concentration when he plays; squeezing out every last shred of emotion out of every note. It really is a privilege to watch him. Going off the size of his smiles between songs, he clearly enjoyed himself. Keyboard player, Mark Kelly has changed his playing style quite dramatically over the years. His Rick Wakeman influences were all over the early Marillion albums, with swirling Moogs dominating his sound. However, Kelly's style is a lot more textured and nuanced these days, often providing moody and dramatic backdrops for the rest of the music, but still capapble of wading in with a storming solo, when required. In many ways, he's the unsung hero of the band. The rhythm section of Pete Trewavas and Ian Mosley on bass and drums respectively is one of the slickest in modern day rock. Trewavas bounces around the stage with impish style, whilst keeping the music gliding along with silky, smooth basslines. Mosley is one of the most economical and melodic drummers around. Unshowy and unfussy; every fill and roll is measured to perfection, allowing the music to breathe and flow beautifully, only coming to the fore when absolutely necessary . There aren't many drummers out there who can do that and I would advise any up and coming tub-thumper to observe Mosley's style very closely. In terms of the stage set-up, the band went with minimalist lighting in order to get the maximum out of the visuals, which consisted of a giant screen with superb animations in support of the new material and a very poignant montage of 'fallen' rock and movie legends during 'King', the msuic and visuals were timed to perfection and really enhanced the show. Marillion will always have a special place in my heart. As cliched as it sounds, their music has formed the soundtrack to my life. To hear them sounding and performing so well and still recording exciting and vibrant music some thirty-five years down the line is quite something.
Date published: 2016-11-30