“Live At Cadogan Hall” by Marillion

Artist: Marillion
Title: “Live At Cadogan Hall”
Label: Eagle Records
Release Date: 3/29/2011
Genre: Acoustic Rock
Rating: 4/5

I’m not going to lie to the readers and say that my two decade appreciation for Marillion music has been one of nothing but bliss because that would be wrong. Yes I began my journey with the band as a Fish fan but I also embraced the amazing vocal register and talents of Steve Hogarth when he replaced him in 1989. That being said I have ridden the roller coaster of musical output that the band has given us since H began his tenure. I loved what he brought to the band in the beginning but questioned a lot of the experimentation that was done on the whole as the later years came to pass. It seemed as though Marillion were opting to be the band that confused my musical palette the most or were actively choosing to vex those fans who wanted to clearly define what they were “all about” in terms of sound. To better explain what I mean let me say that while I loved “Marbles” when it came out, I was less than pleased with “Somewhere Else” and found myself bored to tears with their acoustic reworking on “Less Is More”. Oddly enough this “Live At Cadogan Hall” was filmed during the 2009 “Less Is More” tour which I did not manage to attend when it came through town and that fact alone had me curious. I was intrigued based on not enjoying “Somewhere Else” but loving their “Somewhere Over London” live film which brought that tour to your living room. Clearly Marillion seemed able to recapture ones interest with the solid live show if they somehow missed you on the studio recording.

The 2CD set is broken up into two unique sets of material with the first half being a song by song presentation of the “Less Is More” album minus the final track of “Cannibal Surf Babe”. I wonder why they did that since I love the tune. Anyways, as I listened to these tracks that were culled from “Anoraknophobia”, “Marillion.com”, “Season’s End” and more I found myself getting more wrapped up in their being delivered in this fashion. Needless to say I really liked it, and could not wait to get my hands on the companion DVD. Hogarth is in perhaps the finest form ever and this is a great thing to listen to since he has such an amazing voice. Just as we found on the studio versions the band is offering up the music played with dulcimer, vibraphone, xylophone and acoustic guitars and electric piano as well as bass and drums. “Quartz” is a highlight of this CD as is the new track we got from “Less Is More” with “It’s Not Your Fault”. The second CD finds the band using the same premise as they did with the “Less Is More” album and taking a number of other classics from their repertoire and giving them a similar treatment. Highlights for me from this part of the concert were “Beautiful”, “No One Can” and “The Answering Machine”. “Beautiful” has remained one of my very favorites of Hogarth penned tunes and the same applies for “Easter” as each of these was just made for the acoustic setting. Don’t expect any Fish material during this show as there is none to be found, but I can honestly say that you will not miss it. As I said, Marillion is a band that refuses to be forced into a genre corner and continually seeks to expand their musical exploration. I would have liked to see this CD packaged with the film but that seems to be a high hope that will never happen. If you only enjoy audio and appreciate the band then you should give this one a chance as I truly enjoyed it. Perhaps I will give the studio version of “Less Is More” another chance now that I have heard it in concert. Now onto the DVD. Stay tuned.

Track Listing:
1. Go!
2. Interior Lulu
3. Out Of This World
4. Wrapped Up In Time
5. The Space
6. Hard As Love
7. Quartz
8. If My Heart Were A Ball
9. It’s Not Your Fault
10. Memory Of Water
11. This Is The 21st Century
12. No One Can
13. Beautiful
14. This Train Is My Life
15. You’re Gone
16. 80 Days
17. Gazpacho
18. The Answering Machine
19. Estonia
20. Easter
21. Three Minute Boy

Official Website: http://www.marillion.com

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