Review MARILLION ‘With Friends At St. David’s’

It was in November 2019 when Marillion played a concert at St. David’s Hall in Cardiff, being part of the ‘Marillion With Friends from the Orchestra Live 2019’ tour. What paved the way for such an undertaking had its beginning in a collaboration of the rock veterans with the ‘In Praise of Folly’ string quartet, joining the band for the recording of the ‘With Friends From The Orchestra’ album in 2019. This longplayer includes Marillion classics, newly interpreted in such a new setup. Touring with such a tremendous record in the back-pocket was a logical consequence and a couple of extra songs have been added for the live performance.

‘Gaza’, one of these tunes, has been placed in pole position, opening the concert. Furthermore it’s ‘Zeparated Out’ that has been played that November night in Cardiff, a track that is surrounded by lot of Marillion classics.

With ‘Season’s End’ the band takes fans back to 1989 while the centerpiece of the show is certainly the four chapter of ‘The New Kings’.  Taken from the ‘F.E.A.R. (Fuck Everyone and Run)’ album, the song is 17 minutes epos that shines brightly in this band/orchestra set-up. Excellently crafted music and a story-telling vibe acts as a treat for ears, mind, and soul.

I mentioned already ‘Zeparated Out’ and you might have wondered if this is a typo since the song originally is called ‘Separated Out’. But it’s not a typo. The ‘Z’ in the beginning is a hint that the song contains an extra. Marillion embedded a snippet of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ and suddenly, the ‘Z’ has a meaning.

Not only musically, but also visually, this live release is a well-made one. Captured by numerous cameras from various angles, the songs shine in bright spotlight as well as they are supported by a digital backdrop that goes hand in hand with a great light show, both not taking away focus of the music.

The Blu-Ray includes an appr. 35 minutes documentary too. ‘Marillion Making Fans’ provides an interesting view behind the scenes and gives context to the idea, that slowly and successfully grew.

All in all, we can conclude that this live album is a special one that will be a delight for fans of the band, and it is also a great release for friends of well-crafted progressive music. Marillion stays true to themselves and at the same time never stand still, this what this album is all about.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Gaza
  2. Beyond You
  3. Seasons End
  4. Estonia
  5. The Hollow Man
  6. The New Kings
  7. The Sky Above The Rain
  8. Zeperated Out
  9. Ocean Cloud
  10. Fantastic Place
  11. This Strange Engine

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Progressive Rock

Release Date EU: May 28th, 2021

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