Marathon First Run Live
by ENorm

September 30, 2017 - Cultuurpodium Boerderij, Zoetermeer (NL)

In 2017 the Dutch band ENorm asked their fans if they were interested to hear a complete live version of The First Run during a special arranged concert. An album which they released as Marathon gained popularity in the 1990s. Well those fans, who had experienced the years when a couple of members of ENorm released progressive rock albums with Marathon, were certainly in for a real treat. Therefore a concert was arranged at Cultuurpodium Boerderij in Zoetermeer November 2016. Audio and video recordings were made to capture this whole musical event. In the end in turned out that only a live album of this show would be released. The filming was not what the band had wished for and a possible live DVD was put a aside. Too bad because lots of fans who had
L to R: Ronald and Erik ten Bos and Liejondo Nijhuis
witnessed everything and those who had missed it, certainly wanted to see everything on their TV screen. To release this live album, which they named very appropriately The First Run Live (see review), another concert was arranged at the same venue almost one year later. And of course a second run of a complete version of The First Run was promised.

Finally at 20:30 it was show time and an almost one hour long first set could be enjoyed. The band kicked off with Horizon. It was one of the three beautiful pieces of music taken from Finding My Way (2012, see review). The others were The Widow and the moving Zoe. A song that was included as part of a project to support parents who lost a child. With probably too many covers on last year's setlist, the band must have thought to do as few as possible this time around. So nothing from Saga, Marillion and Rush. Or from John Denver, U2 or Queen. Only 2 beautifully performed songs of Alan Parsons were included. Namely Old And Wise and Eye In The Sky. Songs which I certainly enjoyed even if they were covers. Of course the band couldn't end their first set without doing some Marathon compositions. No songs from the band's first album (The First Run) were to be expected but tracks from the second album (Norm) would be welcomed very much. Well the crowd loved it all the way when they did Ozone Layer, The Beauty Of Silence and the title track. I guess they got their fans in the right mood for the second set, in which even more Marathon songs were to be expected.

Golden record!
But before the audience could enjoy The First Run completely, the band treated them to a composition which had the title Don't Leave Me. Which of course nobody did, otherwise they would have missed the best thing of the evening! But we had to wait a little bit longer because first it was time to get some extra people on stage and to put the spotlight on the new live album. They started with a short speech from the venues artistic director and was followed by some die-hard fans. They had the framed artwork of The First Run Live and presented it to all members of the band. At the same time ENorm was also surprised by the announcement that The First Run Live had already reached the golden status! This was of course an excellent moment to do a second live rendition of Marathon's debut the album completely. Opener Beyond The Veil got an extra dimension as the original rhythm section was asked to step in for Ferry Bult (drums) and Liejondo Nijhuis (bass). Bassist Jacques Suurmond and drummer Willem van der Horst pushed the song to an absolute climax and this also inspired Ronald ten Bos to come up with a whirling guitar solo.
L to R: Ronald ten Bos, Jacques Suurmond, Erik ten Bos and Willem van der Horst
More beautiful musical things followed. Difficult to mention any highlights because this whole musical experience was one big musical highlight. So why choose between the Saga kind of songs such as Beyond The Veil, Man In The Mirror, Medicine Man, Voices and A Wall or the Marillion kind of tracks such as Open Field or Red Ride? Or what about a true classic Marathon piece such as The Patterns Of The Landscape? Everything was just top notch. I couldn't pick out any favourites and nor I guess could their fans in front of the band. Everyone had a blast!

It was obvious that after the final song, titled A Wall, their fans were shouting for an encore! Of course the musicians couldn't resist this call and entered the stage one more time. However not empty handed. They brought with them boxes which included CDs. Every one present was given by the musicians a free copy of the bands earlier mentioned charity single. Titled Zoe. It includes an audio and video disc of the song. It was an unexpected and beautiful gesture. Very much appreciate by everyone! After that the band came back into action and treated the audience to three more extra songs. The first one was a special one with the title Reach For Roses. They ended the concert with two more songs taken from Marathon's second and final studio album. Heart Of Another One and Casanovas. The last title was mentioned on the setlist as Je Suis Trés Lubrique. Just like years ago before it was recorded for their second release. It was a perfect ending to a perfect concert. Hopefully next year a third run of The First Run. Or maybe a complete live version of Norm. Why not!

Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

Setlist Marathon:

Set 1
Once Upon A Schoolyard
The Widow
Old And Wise
Eye In The Sky
Don’t You Want Me
Ozone Layer
Beauty Of Silence
Set 2
Don’t Leave Me
Beyond The Veil
Man In The Mirror
The Seventh Dimension
Medicine Man
I'll Be There
Open Field
The Patterns Of The Landscape
Red Ride
A Wall
Reach For Roses
Heart Of Another One
Je Suis Trés Lubrique (Casanovas)

Pictures Marathon by Arthur Haggenburg

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Line up Marathon:

(left to right)
Martin Platenkamp:
Ronald ten Bos:
guitars, backing vocals
Ferry Bult:
Eric ten Bos:
lead vocals
Liejondo Nijhuis:

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