Every other year the British prog band Marillion assemble for a special weekend with their fans. During these weekends they can particularly enjoy songs from their back catalogue. Moreover, Marillion always play one of their albums in its entirety. In the past they performed Seasons End (1989), Brave (1994), Afraid Of Sunlight (1995) and This Strange Engine (1997). All these concerts were filmed and later on released on DVD.
In 2011 they once again were present during a weekend at Centre Parcs Port Zélande in The Netherlands. It was the best-visited Marillion-weekend to date. Almost three thousand fans from 42 countries all over the world came to see Marillion performing the album Holidays In Eden (1991) on Friday night. On Saturday they performed a special A-Z set list and on Sunday a set called The Glow Must Go On! Of course all performances were shot for a DVD-release. However, this time not all images were released simultaneously. They planned a new strategy to make their fans more curious than they already were. Holidays In Zélande, the new DVD-deluxe is a five-set presented in a high quality digipack with a slip case. You can obtain this digipack together with the first disc; fans can collect the other four CDs after they have been released. The first disc contains the entire show on Friday. This means the complete version of Holidays In Eden plus the usual encores. The ninety minutes of footage are a real treat to every true Marillion-fan, but also for people who love neo-progressive rock.
Many fans regarded Holidays In Eden as the worst Marillion-album recorded without singer Fish, but I always felt this isn't the case. The performance on this DVD strengthened my feelings since all of the eleven tracks are worthwhile listening to. These tracks are perfectly performed live and filmed with many close-ups and a very good sound quality. After a short intro movie the band started with Splintering Heart with a slightly different sequencer intro compared to the studio version. Lead singer Steve Hogarth welcomed the audience to the fifth Marillion Convention, not knowing that he made a mistake, because it was already the sixth. He was corrected by bass player Pete Trewavas. According to Hogarth the album includes a couple of love songs like No One Can and Waiting To Happen. However, the album contains some real progressive rock beauties as well, like The Party, Holidays In Eden and the triptych This Town/The Rakes Progress/100 Nights. On these songs Mark Kelly (keyboards) and Steve Rothery ( guitars) show their talents by playing some marvellous solos. It's impossible to review all the details of this performance, but I'll make an exception for the imaginary airplane that flew over the stage during the intro of Holidays In Eden. Hogarth was very convincing in trying to avoid it.
It was obvious that the encores should be used to perform songs that didn't make it to the album like the B-sides of the singles taken from this CD. So you can enjoy songs as How Can It Hurt (CD-single Cover My Eyes) and A Collection (CD-single No One Can) with a special introduction by Hogarth. However, I missed the single Sympathy and its B-side I Will Walk On Water. These songs were recorded during the same period, but instead fine versions of Man Of A Thousand Faces and The Invisible Man were done. While performing the latter Steve Hogarth was dressed in a suite, he wore a pair of glasses and carried a walking-stick. He probably wanted to visualize this song a bit more, but I guess a band as Marillion don't need any attributes to strengthen their performance. They're just capable enough to entertain the audience with their music only. This first disc just proved that and I'm sure that the other DVDs contain the same high quality level. To be continued...
For people who only want to play the soundtrack of this DVD it's good to know that the concert has been released on a double-CD as well, called Holidays In Eden Live.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013