November 15, 2023 - TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht
The English progressive rock band Marillion, founded in 1979 and since 1989 featuring the fantastic line up Steve Hogarth - aka H -, Steve Rothery, Ian Mosley, Mark Kelly, and Pete Trewavas, already sold more than fifteen million albums. Last year they released their 16th studio album called An Hour Before It's Dark (2022, see review) and it turned out to be one of the best Marillion albums in years.
The tension is extremely high in the jam-packed TivoliVredenburg venue and the die-hard Marillion fans, also known as Freaks, can hardly wait for the first track of this evening. On a large screen, hanging behind the stage Steve Hogarth appears - with glasses - to sing the first lines of one of the best songs of the successful album Marbles (2004) and so the anticipating audience is treated to an impressive version of The Invisible Man; what a way to start this evening, indeed! The sound is loud, but also clear and lucid, although the drums of Mosley are maybe a bit too hard at certain times, so that you really feel that bass drum when Ian hits it.
One of the most, melodic Marillion songs, Easter, is next and the audience sings that one along right from the first word to the last. Especially Steve Rothery's guitar solo - one of the best of this evening - makes this classic track from the first Marillion album with Steve Hogarth almost immaculate. Then it is time for a 'new' song and the first song of Marillion's last album An Hour Before It's Dark tonight is Reprogram The Gene; a rather 'dark', sombre, socially-critical track and H - I don't want to be a boy, I don't want to be a girl - almost screams out the lyrics here....
Quartz from Anoraknophobia (2001) maybe is another surprising track this evening, but the die-hard fans really love this one and tonight Quartz is again a wonderful, atmospheric track, packed with lots of musical master ship from Trewavas, Rothery, Kelly, Mosley, and H. Then it's back to the latest album again with twee magnificent songs, being: The Crow And The Nightingale - an ode to Leonard Cohen - and Care (Part 1-4). Especially the latter is a 100% melodic prog rock song, and it features the most thrilling guitar solo - Part 3 Every Cell - of the entire evening; Steve Rothery really shines here, giving me goosebumps for the very first time here in Utrecht.
Of course the show is not over yet as Marillion treats the upbeat audience to two amazing encores. A rousing version of Splintering Heart from Holidays In Eden (1991) and a 'heavy' rocking version of Neverland (Marbles). The latter is, at least for me, one of the absolute highlights of this impressive Marillion evening. Still, there is more, as a third encore, being the epic track King (Afraid Of Sunlight) from their spectacular repertoire is played. But, as Hogarth finally sings: "You've Got What It Takes, To Be Spoilt To Death" the show is definitely over and done. Sad but true indeed.
Marillion can go on like this for years to come as their music is still relevant after forty-four years and the band is in better shape than ever.
Text & pictures Martien Koolen (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
The Invisible Man
Reprogram The Gene
Sounds That Can't Be Made
The Crow And The Nightingale
Steve Hogarth (Aka H):
lead and backing vocals, keyboards
bass guitar, background vocals
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