Gateshead Sage: 11th April
Well, if you can have Pineapple Trees & Porcupine Thieves, then I’m sure we can make room for Marillion.
Seem like ages since I last saw Marillion live, and that’s no hyperbole as I’m reckoning at least 25 years. Still, the guys seem to be enjoying a purple patch since the release of their f.e.a.r album, so I thought why not drop by; it’s not as if they’ve been regular visitors over the years.
Glad to see nothing much has changed, h (Steve Hogarth is celebrating 30 years with the band (and still the “new guy”) and prowls the stage like some hybrid of Peter Gabriel & Alice Cooper; have to say though, the voice is still mightly impressive and retains that peculiar “catch” on the long notes. Pete Trewavas has hardly changed on bass, still powerfully chugging away, united with Ian Mosley behind the drums - at least I think he’s still there, all you see is arms. Mark Kelly is another one who looks like he got to his mid 30s and stopped aging, but still providing great symphonic sweeps on the keys for Steve Rothery to lay his effortless fluidity on guitar.
So, umpteen years on from the Holidays In Eden tour, and what are they doing now? Well, the started the evening with with the 5 movement from new song El Dorado from f.e.a.r; with no audience cheer until the very end. (“They must have heard this s**t before” says h) and then started turning the clock back for Power (Sounds… album), Quartz, The Party, Season’s End (to make h’s 30 years with the band); back up to date with Living In Fear; the fade out of this saw the Gateshead audience pick up the refrain and caused h to return to his low piano and do a reprise to complete the song. Then round the doors to Out of This World and next new 5-parter, The Leavers.. Then onto Wave; Mad; and Afraid of Sunlight. That led to a huge cheer when The Great Escape from Brave started and closed the main set.
Finally, the encore; from the acoustic around Steve Rothery’s neck, was it going to be Easter or Estonia, until a call from the front, followed by a “dare”. before it could escalate into a “double dare” or even “double dog dare”, Mark Kelly had found the appropriate setting on his hard-drive and Steve R did a quick swap to is black Fender and the Sage bounced as City Hall used to back in the 1980s to Garden Party.
In all, still a great band by any standard. In these days where “prog” icons like Tull, Yes & BJH are celebrating 50 years, Marillion, the band who all but invented "crowd funding" as we know it, will be celebrating 40 years in 2019 and surely deserve to be hailed as “venerable”.