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Progressive Rock DVD/Video Reviews

Marillion

Marbles On The Road DVD

Review by Greg Olma

There have been volumes written about Marillion and the debate of who is/was better, Steve Hogarth or Fish, stills goes on to this day.  While some will continue to bemoan the exit of Fish, most of us fans have given the “new” line-up a definite thumbs up.  While they no longer play the more traditional 70’s style progressive music, they have stayed true to form and continued to push the prog sound into the 2000’s.  While some of their releases with Hogarth don’t quite hit the mark, others, like Marbles, hit it square in the center.

This DVD Marbles On The Road is a great visual tourbook for the Marbles Tour.  With such a strong release, it’s easy to see why they would want to play the whole record for the audience.  Many bands have taken this idea and copied it to great success.  Iron Maiden just did that back in 2006 with their A Matter Of Life And Death tour.  The main show here consists of the whole Marbles record (single disc version) played in order except “Drilling Holes” has been replaced with “The Damage” which appears on the 2 CD special edition.  It should come as no surprise that the band performs the material flawlessly with additional props going to Steve Rothery who makes the whole thing look so easy.  For the encore, they pull out 6 additional tunes from the Hogarth-era starting with a couple from Brave, namely “Bridge” and “Living With The Big Lie”.  Surprisingly, Holiday In Eden gets an airing with “The Party” and “Cover My Eyes” (show closer).  The other encore tunes are “Uninvited Guest” and “Between You And Me” from Anoraknophobia.  I was surprised with the inclusion of that latter track as Anoraknophobia is kind of the “lost” Marillion album.

 

Well, I have pretty much detailed the music, but the visuals are what you are paying for here and you certainly get your money’s worth.  The whole concert, filmed at the Astoria in London, is beautifully shot with multiple camera angles.  One of the best elements of the visual is that they did not decide to bleach out the lighting and kept things just as if you were at the show.  Many times the director will want bright lights to capture the action but that ruins the true concert experience so when I popped this DVD in and saw that they kept things very dramatically dark, I realized that they were filming one of their shows, not “making a DVD.”  I wish more artists took this path and released visual product that was both dramatic and exciting.

The bonus material is very sparse with only 2 videos and the Electronic Press Kit for the Marbles CD.  I will admit, I like bonus material or “extras” but when the main event is so good, I will forgive a release that does not give much in the way of additional features.  Marillion have really become a band of the people with their fans basically covering the costs of recording new albums and supporting tour costs.  While some people may think this is an odd way to “run” a band, releases like Marbles On The Road show that it is money well spent.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

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