Marillion Weekend Montreal 2013 Blog - Spoilers

Just got back from the Marillion weekend in Montreal with my wife and as always it was a great time. Took Via Rail which was really relaxing as always. We stayed in our favorite hotel on St. Denis called Le Relais Lyonnais which I highly recommend to any one staying in Downtown Montreal. (Just not on the same dates as the Marillion Conventions).

What is special about these Convention shows is that for $150 can you get 3 nights of Marillion music with each night being a totally different set, and that's in addition to any opening bands. The 1st night is always an album night where the band play an entire album along with additional material. The other 2 nights sometimes consist of some sort of theme such as, a song from every year, an audience vote, a song from each letter of the alphabet, long songs only. Previously I have had a preference for one night over the other due to song selections, however this time around I can honestly say that I enjoyed all 3 nights equally. I really can't choose a favorite.

The 1st night consisted of the whole Radiation album. Now any one who is a fan will know that this was a surprise as it is arguably the bands weakest release mainly due to trying too hard to sound relevant for the time in 1998. The songs are poppy, a little edgy, and simplistic. But like many things, over time you begin to appreciate the things you once disliked and sometimes even grow to like them.
Live, the material was smoking. Lead off album track Under the Sun just rocked and the band looked like they were having a blast. Even their shortest song The Answering Machine was rockin. While some of the material played was not my favorite, the band redeemed themselves in the 2nd set with what was probably one of my favorite string of songs ever played. Hooks in You, Cover My Eyes, Slainte Mhath, Lavender, Heart of Lothian, King. And the encore caused me to lose my bowels as they played Script for a Jesters Tear. The evening finished off with Happiness is the Road with the audience singing the chorus a cappella.

The 2nd night featured the Brave album in it's entirety. For many fans this was a very special evening as many consider this a favorite, although not mine. Nevertheless it is a concept album and I looked forward to seeing the whole thing as they didn't tour it in North America in 1994. It was FANTASTIC. They played and sang excellently and the visuals helped to add the appropriate mood.
The 2nd set consisted of a few songs which don't sit well with me such as Rich and Genie, but that's just me. Following that they redeemed themselves again by playing Warm Wet Circles/That Time of the Night, Drilling Holes closing with the atmospheric Out of This World. Totally amazing. The encore consisted of Seasons End and The Space.

The 3rd night was all of the current album Sounds That Can't be Made. Thankfully they didn't play it in album order but spread the songs throughout the set. Notable stands out were the 20 minute opener Gaza which was amazing. I don't think I've ever heard Marillion sound so HUGE. The song Sounds That Can't be Made had a real nice groove going throughout. The ending section is one Marillions most beautiful, melodic, and moving pieces ever and almost had me in tears. And it to was HUGE sounding. They surprised the audience with another long song This Strange Engine. Guitarist Steve Rothery executed 2 brilliant guitar solos which had the audience giving him a standing ovation. Included in the set were Neverland, again HUGE sounding and the incredibly emotional Sky Above Rain. There were also some more oldies thrown in such as King of Sunset Town (proving that Steve Rothery is human after all due to his mistake during the guitar solo). Ending the set and the whole convention was another Fish era tune Garden Party.

What is notable about these sets was the amount of Fish era material played, 7 songs in total. In the past the band has made a point to either discount material from this era or play very little of it. But it appears the band have gotten over this and have realized that good songs are good songs no matter who wrote or originally sang them. Saying that, vocalist Steve Hogarth (H) did a fantastic job on all songs, F era and later.

It should be noted that the band did play the song Montreal, twice. Once as an opener on the 1st night and then again as one of the encores on the 3rd night.

Over all a fantastic 3 days of eclectic Marillion material. I just wonder how they'll top it in 2 years time.

Wilton


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