This isn’t really a review as such. Because by the end of each of the three nights there’s not much more you can say beyond “Wibble”. A total of seven hours of some of the most emotially moving and life-affirming music in rock, including the albums “Anoraknophobia” and “Marbles” played in full, and a remarkable greatest hits set on the last night.
One of the things that makes Marillion so special is their audience. There are few other bands who can inspire such loyalty over such a long period of time; there were people in Wolverhampton who’d travelled from all over the world to be there. The streets and pubs of the city were filled with Marillion t-shirts all weekend.
Marillion’s longevity is remarkable, and much if may well be down to Steve Hogarth replacing Fish around the point when they’d reached their commercial peak four albums into their career. It forced them to reinvent themselves, something they’ve continued to do ever since. They’re not a band to stick to a successful formula album after album,
Steve Rothery is the best guitarist of his generation, and his emotive and lyrical playing has always been the heart of the band’s sound. On Friday night we got a double helping; the support was The Steve Rothery Band, playing most of his solo album “The Ghosts of Pripyat”.
And many thanks to Mark Kelly for the photo pass for Friday night. He must have done something to upset the lighting engineer, because he ddn’t get much spotlight all night, and this was the only good photo I was able to take of him.
In an age where many of their contemporaries have long become little more than their own tribute acts, Marillion may well have hit their peak as a live band in the past two or three years. Freed from any need to chase contemporary trendsor or to play old hits on the nostalgia circuit, they’re comfortable in their own skins, are on the same page as their enthusiastic fanbase, and play material from right across their 35 year career.