Live From Cadogan Hall

January 01, 1970

(Eagle Rock Entertainment; 125 mins)

 

www.eaglerockent.com

 

BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

 

It would seem a formidable task to encapsulate two decades’
worth of music into a pair of discs and two dozen tracks. Yet, Marillion’s
latest live entry makes the case that at least it’s a worthy ambition. In
summing up Marillion’s progress following the transition from original singer
Fish to the recordings chaired by current front man Steve Hogarth, Live From Cadogan Hall holds together
remarkably well, each track segueing seamlessly into the next with a consistent
tone and tempo.  Although the songs often
begin with little more than a pluck on a keyboard or the simple strum of an
acoustic guitar, they still manage to accentuate the anthemic tension rippling
just below the surface. 

 

Ironically, when original singer Fish sang with the band
during their formative years, Marillion’s prog-rock ambitions were stunted by
the widely held perception they were little more than a poor man’s Genesis,
thanks to the confluence of keyboards, the soaring platitudes and the singer’s
striking similarity in style to Peter Gabriel. These days, the band lacks those
previous pretensions, but their sprawling arrangements and stirring sentiments
remain intact.  Songs like “Interior
Lulu,” “The Space,” “This is the 21st Century,” “Beautiful” and
“You’re Gone” translate remarkably well from the studio to the stage, with
melodies that maintain their dramatic impact while still striking a visceral
connection with the audience. The DVD makes this all too clear; with its
striking lighting effects and the inherent grandeur of the venue, sights and sounds
meld to maximum effect. Fortunately for the novice, each entry is given an
affusive introduction, including the identification of the album where the
track initially appeared.

 

If this was the Marillion of old, the accessibility factor
might not have been as clearly defined. Yet, given the lithe touch applied to
their musical musings, Marillion proves they can tone down the grandeur and go
for the gut. (Note: the concert is also available from Eagle as a standalone
two-disc CD set.)

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