Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sunday 14th of April

The last night of Marillion weekend 2013 was a fact. I remember thinking when I arrived on Thursday, checking in to the hotel, that in a few days the entire weekend will be in the past. How strange it felt to have been looking forwards for so long and then to have barely blinked finding the weekend was over... The two previous nights were deeply emotional. And though I knew this night would involve my three absolute favorite songs, I decided just before Marillion came on stage: Tonight I'm gonna have fun. I'm gonna smile, I'm gonna laugh, I'm gonna take everything in and fill up with all the good feelings in the world. And I'm a pretty stubborn woman, so when I say something, that's usually the way it is :-)

This was the night of Sounds That Can't Be Made. And if you want an in depth analysis of Sounds That Can't Be Made, or STCBM as we call it, look to the right on this blog. It's one of my most popular entires, where I go in depth of my own emotions when hearing this wonderful and important album.

Steve Hogarth came on stage wearing a shirt with a big peace sign on it. And when singing their song, Gaza, the peace sign serves as a dichotomy to the theme of the song. Last night of the weekend had started...

1. Gaza - "Like a nightmare rose up on this small strip of land, slouching towards Bethlehem" It is hard to know how to write something here, because for too long this poor land suffered war and devastation. And taking the suffering of innocent people, children in particular, into consideration when hearing, and watching them perform this song, keeping my promise to myself of having only fun, became challenged. But that's ok. I can, along with being stubborn, change my mind in the blink of an eye...
2. Waiting To Happen - Something waiting to happen, I chose that these words cannot be the driving force behind my future endeavors, as they will continue to push the magnificent ahead of me, I need to make magic happen NOW!!! All the strange thoughts that enter my mind when in presence of true inspiration. WOW!
3. Lucky Man
4. This Strange Engine - One of my top three favorite song, and I can't rate it closer. Because one day this is at the top, another day it's Neverland, and another day it's Montréal... and even top three changes. But this will be at the top all the time, I think. TSE, as we abbreviate it... is just sheer Marillion magic. 18 minutes of blissful escape. And this performance was awesome!
5. Pour My Love
6. Montréal - I love the personal almost stream of consciousness feel in the lyrics of this song. Steve Hogarth is giving us a sneak peek into his mind, and many of my fellow Marillionaires didn't like this song because of the bluntness of the lyrics. But this song is a strike of genius, in my mind. Hearing it live just made me love the song even more. Definitely top three.
7. Invisible Ink
8. Power - The power of the song lifted the roof. This is an absolutely amazing song :-)
9. Sounds That Can't Be Made

10. The King Of Sunset Town

11. Sky Above The Rain - During the emotional brilliance of SATR we were covered in golden rain. The confetti just kept pouring and pouring and stuck to every piece of exposed sweaty skin... and it was just amazing :)

12. Neverland - The third top three song for me, all of them performed in one night, wow, I truly am a lucky woman :-) When ever I feel down, this song is therapy. And live they bring the deep sounds in the bass and the keyboards, making it completely shake the core of the audience. And the emotions is h's performance is enigmatic and sublime.

13. Garden Party - Ok, end the weekend with a BANG! This song is from the age of Fish, but the song became strangely irrelevant when the crazy part of Steve Hogarth decided to climb the balcony. Not an easy task... and he almost fell...The gasps from the crowds could be heard from London, I'm sure. He almost fell!!! But he didn't, and thank the good powers of the world, and quick thinking from the ones on the balcony grabbing him and dragging him over. And, just to prove a point, he bloody kept on singing!!! NOW THAT'S ROCK!!! 

After the gig the lights were switched on and merry music made all of us just dance, and pick up the confetti and throw it in the air...reliving every dazzling moment. In the end it was to go, after photo sessions and hugs and tears, but the party wasn't over. Many of us ended up in the pub just next to the venue. All the thirsty Marillion fans just kept coming like a tidal wave of happy people, high on Marillion and brilliance. They played mostly Marillion, and we danced as if in a trance for hours...

A night to remember, also this in the bank of precious memories. Thank you to all the people who made the weekend possible. Thank you for the best memories of my life. Thank you to my friends. And Marillion, you remain the leaders of inspiration to me. You are AMAZING

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Saturday 13th of April

"It all began with a bright light"
Second night at the Marillion weekend in Wolverhampton.
I have seen Pink Floyd perform, I have seen U2 and Muse, I have seen Sting, I have seen Nirvana (among others), I have seen the best orchestra in the world, the Philharmonia in Royal Festival Hall, performing Bruckner's Fourth symphony brilliantly, I have seen John Nettles as the king in A Winter's Tale, I have witnessed some pretty weighty cultural performances during my life, even been performing some of them myself... and the gig on Saturday in Wolverhampton is the biggest most pivotal cultural experience I have ever been be a part of. To be in the audience this night was nothing short of the biggest honor bestowed upon me.

In the beginning, being at the front (yeah, I have to brag a bit about the fact that I managed front row three nights in a row...) we could see that things weren't all perfect. The hectic looks, the subtle glance...but it didn't matter, because like I said in the last entry, they are so professional and they sorted it out and got properly into it. And this gig was of such a magnitude that the first 10 songs were performed without talking in between. We could all feel the serene seriousness of it. And now, if you find yourself not knowing the Brave album, which was the album for the night, then I strongly suggest you buy it. Marillion fan or not, this is one of the best albums of the world. I can't go into detail of every song, because we would be here until next century... But I'll try to say a few words. The first five songs had me in awe... I was looking at the stage with wide eyes, completely if entering a Neverland where only music and brilliance existed.

1. Bridge
2. Living The Big Lie
3. Runaway
4. Goodbye To All That
5. Hard As Love
6. Hollow Man - If any of you have knowledge of T. S. Eliot, you will know that he wrote a poem called The Hollow Men. And though only the title is similar, I think both poets had an idea uniting them across time. One of the strongest lyrics Marillion have. And beautifully performed.
7. Alone Again In The Lap Of Luxury
8. Paper Lies - h in a golden suit, reason enough to be at this gig ;) But the message was strong enough,, printed words, internet...lies and lies and lies...
9. Brave - This is a fantastic song, leading up to one of the biggest emotional highs of my entire life.
10. The Great Escape/ Falling From The Moon - "They shower you with flowers when they bury you" This song, sad though the lyrics are, represent positive and life altering change for me. And the song is so powerful that I can hardly hear the studio version without finding myself in tears. So imagine standing there, feeling all the emotions rushing through my body, watching sheer magic happening on stage, I stood no chance.

Five minute least. Give this a big thought, the longest ovation you've ever been a part of, either as a performer or as a spectator. Have you got that in your mind? If it's more than one minute, it's amazing. We cheered for five minutes... And the band were humble in their cute bowing and smiling and trying to calm us down. H told us he had seen loads of band in the same venue as the one we were in, among them Genesis, and none of them ever got quite as big of a cheer as the one on Saturday!

11. Made Again - The mood in the room was elevated. I felt this was a cathartic experience.

12. Rich - "Reality, is something that we rise above, we don't see things as they are, we see them as we are..." what an absolute spot on take of reality. :)
13. The Damage - Another brilliant song from Marbles.
14. Trap The Spark
15. Warm Wet Circles - Well, an oldie, but a goodie. And among us at the front...a bit of a rude conversation followed, to be perfectly honest.
16. That Time Of The Night
17. Drilling Holes
18. Out Of This World.

19. Seasons End
20. Space - I am so happy they played the Space, from Seasons End. This song is so powerful, and not just the song and the music. But the lyrics. "Everyone is only everyone else" How true indeed.

And now we could breathe.
The biggest musical and cultural experience of my entire life is now a memory. A memory I will cherish and look back on with joy and a bit of sadness. Because something so grand is not only making us think of both the good and the bad of the world, it's also making the world "Made Again".

Friday 12th of April

A month an a half ago I went to Wolverhampton, UK, to attend my first ever Marillion weekend. It has taken me this long to digest the fact that I witnessed both a world record and the biggest cultural expression I've ever attended in my entire life. The fact that I would die for Marillion is not at all relevant ;) Well, it is a little bit. But to be there with fellow fans, and just be surrounded by love and understanding is a big thing.
Now, Marillion gathers their fans for their weekends once every second year. First in the Netherlands, then in Montreal and then in the UK. Three gigs in three nights. Marillion overdose??? No way, we want more!

I won't give you a song by song review, because I was so into the whole thing, at the front row all three nights, so I kind of got lost in the magnitude of it all. But I have the set-lists, and will highlight a few of the songs. Friday's gig was the Radiation gig. Radiation is an album that was released in 1998. And when Marillion invite us to a Radiation gig, it is the entire album. What we didn't know before (unless we peeked at the set-lists from the other weekends, and of course I did...) were the encores.

I mentioned world record, didn't i? Well, the first gig of the weekend, the one I'm telling you about right now, was a world record. They filmed it and had the DVD ready for sale before morning. I'm thinking someone didn't sleep that night ;)
And we were all dressed up in our summer wear, our glasses and had brought our flowers for A Few Words For The Dead. The gig could start.

1. Under The Sun
2. The Answering Machine 
3. Three Minute Boy - One of Marillion's many anthems. People will always join in :-)
4. Now She'll Never Know
5. These Chains
6. Born To Run 
7. Cathedral Wall
8. A Few Words For The Dead - When the lead singer comes on stage with a machine gun, it makes a rather harsh statement. One of the lines of the lyrics towards the end is "or you could love", and this is where the flowers came in, about 2000 people waving their flowers as mr. h raises the machine gun with a flower in the barrel. It felt like the moment lasted for ever, just standing there, smiling, waving the flowers, feeling part of something incredible and important. But when I watched the DVD it was over in a flash. Strange, huh? But... I have the DVD, and so can you if you go on

9. 80 Days
10. Genie - A lovely tune from Marbles. One of my favorite songs. And their performance didn't fail. I was very happy.
11. Somewhere Else
12. Hooks In You
13. Cover My Eyes (Pain and Heaven) - when they play Cover My Eyes, another anthem btw, we can kind of expect it to be followed by...
14. Sláinte Mhath - and it was, an anthem as well. One of my favorite early days Marillion tune. And then followed a lot of older Marillion, and by older and early days I mean pre-Steve Hogarth. So I felt a bit lost, as I do not know these songs as well as some of my friends feel I should. But the other concert viewers knew the lyrics well enough and loud enough, so I suppose it's ok. I know the lyrics of most Hogarth songs, so there ;) Anyway, Hogarth raised a glass for Fish, the previous lead singer. And the crowds went wild...
15. Lavender
16. Heart Of Lothian
17. King - This song is the closing cut from Afraid of Sunlight, and it is supposedly about Elvis. This is one of those songs that just builds up, builds up, builds up and then stops at the top... amazing. One of the many enigmatic and enticing elements with Marillion. And watching this particular performance of King, it was brilliant to be at the front, because Steve Hogarth ended up almost lying on the floor playing his guitar at the end... phew!!!!!

18. Script For A Jester's Tear - This concert's biggest surprise for me. This is a Fish-song, and I had never heard it before... But I can guarantee you I know it by heart now. This version of this song is absolutely amazing, and a big explanation to why I really really love Marillion. They are so intense and present in every performance they do. And they are incredibly professional.
19. Happiness Is The Road. - This song is just poetic and it encourages the listener to think. It's not really anthem material, this song, but the chorus is screamed out in the end by an overly enthusiastic audience...for a long time, egged on by the sneaky lead singer " Ten more minutes!!! Keep singing" :) A great high, and a great ending to the first of the three gigs.