Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Marillion Weekend in Port Zelande, 2015

Marillion weekend in Port Zelande, 2015

How in the world do you put in words the feelings a weekend of so much more than normal rock concerts set in motion? It is a close to impossible task. Sitting at Schiphol airport with Marbles on my ears, I have a caramel frappe (a Dutch creative version of my name on the glass), and five hours to kill, so I might as well give it a go.

Marillion have followed me through many hard times during the last year and a half, so to come to Port Zelande with a smile in my suitcase, my heart on my sleeve, and my soul’s twin holding his arms around me, was just amazing; I was pretty excited to experience the dense emotional dance the weekend is said to be. In hindsight, I understand now, and feel completely in awe, both over the people making the whole arrangement possible, and over Marillion who clearly and without a doubt seem to enjoy themselves so much. Amazing.
So there we were, in chalet 738, the cake chalet; we made the beds, said a quick hello and had a quick beer in the chalet, before we were off. We had 17,5 tokens in our pockets; the first night could begin.

For a non-Marillion fan, it might be hard to understand the dynamics within a group like this. We are like a big family. But I got a strange image in my head whenever we walked from our chalets to the gig tent, that we were like zombies, or like aliens being called home to the mother ship…when 3000 people move in the same direction, almost at the same time (apart from the hard core fans who queue up for hours in the freezing March air, obviously), it might look a bit religious…but honestly, I don’t care. 
For us it really is like being called home.
            We made sure we were there for Steven Rothery and his instrumental support act to the main event. He even spoke up, and that was very nice to both see and hear. He should do that more often in Marillion as well. I am not particularly a guitar connesseur, but even I get that it’s good stuff, and I really enjoyed listening to the floating, swaying, almost dreaming music that let the mind wander.
            We found a brilliant little place in the front on the left side, and we stood there with our friends. Bring on Anoraknophobia. This was one of the first h-era albums I got to know, so this was a big deal for me. I think I used the term ‘musical orgasm’ for when I heard The Fruit Of The Wild Rose for the first time, when it changes from straight up blues to keyboard magic; and the gig confirmed my theory, it is a song that gives a musical orgasm.
This Is The 21st Century always blew my mind away, and standing in the gig with my other half’s strong arms around me, knowing that it’s him and me, makes that song particularly powerful. I would sing along, in the same theatrical manner as h on Separated Out, and I certainly did. ‘Am I enough of a freak to be worth paying to see?’ Between You And Me was the closing number on the first gig I ever went to, so that is always special for me…I still see music in the sky, and I certainly have A Map Of The World… And I have no number of how many times I have had to endure my brother’s monologues of how much better clockwork is to quarts, and how you want clockwork, and not Quarts…Obviously I thought about that during this song as well. If My Heart Were A Ball is just amazing. The only ones who could turn a lovesong into a scary song are Marillion. But When I Meet God made my other half break down in tears, completely, and he said so beautifully, ‘it’s one of those moments when things can no longer stay on the inside.’ A beautiful man with a beautiful soul, I will gladly kiss away his tears when the music of our souls moves him. 
They did the album in a playing order, so me breaking this up for this blog, is purely for dramatic reasons. They played it from Between You And Me to If My Heart Were A Ball. But then, the encores….
            Both Trevor and I have had a rough year and a half, we both lost partners on each our side, and found each other in grief…and when grief turned to love, we found our home, so even though we are happy, we are still in a rather emotional place. My feel good song, the song I put on repeat to balance out the hard days is This Strange Engine; I normally update Facebook with ‘TSE on repeat’ on those occasions, so when h brought his cricket bat (it is a cricket bat, right? Well, you know the one…), it was my turn to break down, and boy did I break down. I even missed h standing right in front of me (I mentioned I was in front row…). I got hugs from my friends the next day as they had seen me totally lose it. The thing is, all of us cried, but it took ‘There was a boy who came into this world…’ and I was completely crushed. I didn’t need it on repeat, because as far as I’m concerned, it was the best I have ever heard TSE. H’s voice was on fire, he reached the horizon and everything, and it was just musical bliss, musical genius, musical magic… And for me it was cathartic. I was emotionally drained after TSE, I couldn’t cope with anything else, so when they started up Gaza and finished with 3 Minute Boy, I was almost catatonic, as TSE will follow me for weeks… For me, personally, that version of that song was worth the whole weekend…

After the gig we went over to the market dome to listen to Stephanie’s specially selected prog rock songs, and we were not disappointed. Genesis, Pink Floyd, Rush, more Genesis, and it was just brilliant. We even danced, though at this point my feet were killing me… so we found our chalet mates, and got back for a bacon sarnie, a bit more music, and just enjoyed being with great friends. I had to crawl up the lethal stairs, stairs for which there should be a safety harness, but in the end I managed to calm down enough to close my eyes. With the arms of my wonderful man around me, I found some hours of sleep. But not many, as the first gig was buzzing in my mind. I still, as I am writing this, feel overwhelmed by the gig on Friday night. It was a musical master piece.

So, waking up to the Saturday was a day with expectations. Trevor and I had been picked to go to the signing at three, and we both felt quite nervous.
Make up on, check… weird hairdo, check…Vinyl of Marbles and Anoraknophobia, check… and pens, you know, just in case Lucy and Stephanie hadn’t thought of that… as if ;) I brought one more thing , a fantasy novel that I wrote. It is a fantasy about creativity, and what our world would be if this was taken away from humanity. And one of the key characters is loosely based on someone we all know. So I put my creative visualisation to work, and told Trevor that I’m going to be the first one in, and I’m going to give h his signed copy of my book. It really works, people, don’t be afraid to believe in your own abilities. Now I’ll visualise that he reads it, and hopefully likes it.
I got my Marbles vinyl signed by all the band members, thank you. And I had a nice little chat about writing with h. Thank you so much to Stephanie and Lucy for letting us do this. Even though we were nervous…meeting our heroes and all…it was an honour. 
            Ok, as a sort of come down from the emotional and almost spiritual high, we headed over to the Fun Factory for the last moments of the quiz, and our friends won. How great is that? We now had a clear mission on Sunday, cheering them on. I must admit, Paul, Adrian, Brett, Neil and Joanne, that on the Sunday I cheered for the band, I felt a bit sorry for them… You kicked their butts anyway 
            The Swap the band – session, still on Sunday, was just so much fun, and I’m pleased we forced our feet to have an extra couple of hours standing, jumping, cheering, as it felt relaxed and awesome. BUT, it was Marillion doing their Marillion magic, and to miss out on that, would be wrong indeed. Martin totally rocked the place with his version of Assassin…just there as a fan…yeah, right…
The same Martin told us that it would be wise for us to stay in the back for Marbles night, and we took his advice. The only problem is that we’re both very short (though, Trevor is taller than me), and people around us seemed to be over two meters tall…a human wall from a shorter perspective you might say, so we ended up seeing a bit of light, and nothing else. We didn’t even see the screen with the new beginning to Invisible Man, so we felt the gig hadn’t really started. We decided to move to where we were last night, and managed a bit of a view…but the gig didn’t really start until Fiona Trewavas and her friends let us in front of them. I even missed out on one of my favourite songs of all times, The Only Unforgiveable Thing (I’ll plan ahead, and catch it properly in Wolverhampton). But after Ocean Cloud, we had a great spot, at the front, to the left. And the gig could start for us as well. I’m one of the ones who always thought Angelina was a fantastic song, and that it shows off h’s voice brilliantly. And I’m pleased to say that live it’s even better.
I think the high point of Marbles night was the story about how Drilling Holes came into this world. How Marillion didn’t wrote the book about Alice and her adventures in Wonderland, I’ll never know, because that was basically it…
Neverland is never anything but a success, and I must say that as musicians and performers they impress me. Even though we understood things weren’t quite right…and h had to run off stage to get ‘his medication’, as he put it, they just played on, and gave us all an amazing show. King was Out of This World (see what I did there?) and Sounds That Can’t Be Made is a very powerful ending to a powerful show.  

After Saturday night, we couldn’t take any rocking, so we went to bed… And we woke up ready for the final night, a night we at this point knew nothing about. The theories were many, far fetched, and full of wishful thinking. But we now know that Chris came the closest with his singles theory.
            All the wiser from last night, we showed up early, and got amazing spots, much thanks to Chris again, who kept a place at the front for a short person, and then we came along. We had a little glass of wine, can’t drink too much, no time for loo breaks…
            They started off with eight Fish-songs, and the tent could almost take off from the excitement. I still remember a certain stunt in Wolverhampton two years ago, during Garden Party, so I wasn’t sure I dared to look, but they are all fine, and the tent rocked without anyone falling from the sky...
            The beautiful version of Sympathy was particularly moving, and again a proof of just how good h’s voice is now (I know a bit about singing…not to blow my own horn or anything, but I’m classically trained, and I’ve always been amazed at how great his voice truly is…my ticket in to the Marillion way of seeing the world, to the better way of life…). But the best moment for me from Sunday night was when they did A Man Of A Thousand Faces. I had never heard it live before, and of course it is one of my favourite songs. It was magic. And this time I didn’t break down like I did when they played TSE on Friday, this time I just felt so incredibly happy. I am truly blessed to be a part of musical bliss like this. And when the crowd continued to sing, they started to play again…and the untrained ear might not have noticed that the crowd had dropped a few notes, but the band certainly did. This is true musicians, people, they followed us, and not the other way around. And the ending of the show with Hocus Pocus by Focus, did again confirm how an amazing singer h is, and just how great his voice was this weekend. That’s some high notes in there, and they were spot on…(I have a musical condition called allergy of notes out of pitch). So like I said in a Facebook update after the signing, cloud nine is in sight from cloud ten. To say we felt elevated and amazing is an understatement.
            We headed, buzzing with post gig joy and smiles, over to the Rockaoke, and just danced our asses off. Felicity has a rather good voice, most of the rockaoke performers had. It was such a blast. H turned up and rocked the rockaoke and did three songs, but by then we had danced over the market place
J on to the chill zone in the Marked Dome where we got hugs and kisses from friends form around the world, plus a burger, which was not wrong at all.

So, how in the world do you put in words the feelings a weekend of so much more than normal rock concerts set in motion?
I don’t know if I did, but I gave it a good go. I am a lucky woman who gets to be a part of this. I owe Marillion so much, I can’t even start to list everything…But one thing is certain, this is so much more than just a weekend with three gigs. This is a better way of life.

Silje Haarr


Anoraknophobia (the full album)

3 Minute Boy (with the longest scream ever)


Marbles (The full double album)

Out Of This World
Sounds That Can’t Be Made


Market Square Heroes
Garden Party Kayleigh
Heart Of Lothian
Warm Wet Circles
Sugar Mice
Hooks In You
Uninvited Guest
No One an
Dry Land
Great Escape
Lap of Luxury
Man Of A Thousand Faces
80 Days
These Chains
See It Like A Baby
Thank You Whoever You Are
Whatever Is Wrong With You
Hocus Pocus

Some images from our amazing weekend x


  1. Hi Silje, Great article. Words often don't really convey the atmosphere of a 'regular' Marillion gig, but the Port Zélande weekends go WAY beyond that! Now you know what you've been missing - so it's time to start looking forward to 2017!

    It's not just you; one of my friends was chatting to a Center Parcs person in the supermarket, and was told that they all look forward to the Marillion weekends - in fact, she had volunteered. She said that they do similar weekends, but things can get quite... tense when they've had some beer. The CP person said by contrast, it doesn't seem to matter how much the Marillion fans drink: everyone is there to have a good time, and is really happy and friendly.

    Very definitely a better way of life - long may it continue. Oh, and you did a pretty good job of putting into words! One final tip, for next time: on the left side, a little way in front of the bar, you should be able to get a fine view - it's just quite a way back from the stage.

    All the best freaks...

  2. Beautifully written and expressed Silje! Very much enjoyed. :)