Marillion – Live from Cadogan Hall

Marillion-LiveCadoganHall

Marillion
Live from Cadogan Hall
(Eagle Rock Ent)
One of the icons of the progressive rock genre, Marillion has been at the forefront of the UK prog scene since its beginnings in the early 80s. With 30 years of material, the well-loved band took a risk in 2009 and reworked several of their fan favorites into an acoustic set featuring unique instrumentation such as dulcimer, autoharp, celeste, glockenspiel, xylophone, and pipe organ.

The result was the 2009 studio recording Less is More and a subsequent tour. Marillion now has just released a new 2CD and DVD/Blue Ray live set which was recorded in December 2009 on the last night of that tour in London’s historic Cadogan Hall.

Live at Cadogan Hall is a lush sounding recording. The first disc is the live performance of the entire Less is More album (with one track, “Cannibal Surf Babe,” excluded). Disc two is the real treat as more of the band’s material is given the intimate acoustic rework. The crowd is explosive as the band fires into “You’re Gone” from 2004’s Marbles, the band’s biggest European hit with their current vocalist Steve Hogarth. The band stays clear of the early material of its original lead singer Fish, but treats us to pieces as old as “The Space” and “Easter” off Season’s End, Hogarth’s debut with the band in 1989. All albums of the Hogarth era are represented through to the more recent “Wrapped up in Time” from 2008’s Happiness is the Road.

The recording does a wonderful job of archiving the intimate nature of the concert. Hogarth’s quiet explanations of the band’s admired material is endearing. The real beauty of these “stripped down” versions is the spotlight it puts on just how great of musicians these guys are. Guitarist Steve Rothery shines with his incredible string work, as does Mark Kelly on piano and a self-built auto-harp. Drummer Ian Mosley takes to a multitude of percussive instruments and we hear bassist Pete Trewavas polish off some fantastic bass runs.

This 127 minute double disc set is a huge treat for fans of the band and an opportunity to revisit the great Marillion catalog in a fresh light.