Marillion - 'Live From Cadogan Hall' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 11, 2011    
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A welcome addition to an already ridiculously impressive catalogue..

Many bands have reinterpreted their music into an acoustic setting and indeed it is something that Marillion have also done through the years on numerous occasions. Where the band's previous studio album 'Less Is More' differed from almost all of these other projects was with the level of deconstruction and then reconstruction that they put the songs through. Not content to simply use acoustic guitars, the band set about learning to play dulcimers, auto-harps, xylophones and glockenspiels among many other instruments and then used this eclectic and out dated equipment to record songs from their catalogue in different styles and time signatures. The album was a challenge to some of Marillion's long term fans to accept, but I have to say that I think the whole experiment worked extremely well. 

'Live From Cadogan Hall' is the CD and DVD (which is also reviewed elsewhere this issue) of the acoustic tour that followed the 'Less Is More' album and as such sees the five guys in the band play all of the fantastical contraptions on stage to produce an amazingly coherent acoustic extravaganza. Being the seasoned professionals they are the band move easily into this different situation, with the songs ranging from the gloriously percussive 'Quartz', to a strangely sedate 'Hard As Love', with this version of the song barely resembling the angry, angsty original. Disc one contains all the songs from 'LIM', minus the quirky 'Gazpacho', which does appear on disc two. As with the studio versions, things can get a little earnest at times (although the in between song banter is laugh out loud funny) and the pace does remain resolutely slow, although the first disc and the first set of the night closes with a stylish version of 'This Is The 21st Century' which transfers beautifully into this setting.

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The second half of this show sees the band cull some of the more obvious Marillion numbers such as 'Easter', 'Beautiful' and 'You're Gone' (which is stunning) into a more straight forward setting, and while the dulcimers and so on still make an appearance, on the whole this is an upbeat acoustic romp through some great songs. The crowd too seem to warm to the truer versions of the songs, with louder and longer ovations greetings the end of the renditions. That said the set begins with a much slower take on 'No One Can' and instead of the twee, trite pop song it was, this song suddenly becomes deeply meaningful and moving.

Never a band that have been afraid to push the envelope, Marillion have once again reinvented themselves and obviously have as a band put in a tremendous amount of work rearranging and rehearsing these songs into their new environment. Between official releases and website albums, there is a copious amount of Marillion live product out there, but 'Live At Cadogan Hall' offers a genuinely different take on this band, their music and their stage craft and as such is a welcome addition to an already ridiculously impressive catalogue.

Steven Reid

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