Marillion - 'A Sunday Night Above The Rain'

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Marillion - 'A Sunday Night Above The Rain'

Visually this double DVD/Blu-ray set is a feast.

In an era when live releases are ten-a-penny, what would motivate a band such as Marillion, who have countless live recordings available from their renowned website, to decide that one particular performance should be available to the wider public? Simple, because it encapsulates everything that’s fantastic about this band in their current musical guise, while incorporating their past and being utterly fantastic in the process.

The release in question, ‘A Sunday Night Above The Rain’, comes from the final night of three from the band’s 2013 Port Zealande “weekend”, capturing a set that wrings every bead of sweaty emotion from all concerned. All eight tracks from the band’s most recent album, ‘Sounds That Can’t Be Made’, are included and while the jaw droppingly recounted ‘Gaza’ does open proceedings, the rest of the cuts don’t follow in sequence; ‘Waiting To Happen’, where the crowd take over the vocals from a visibly taken aback Steve Hogarth, fan favourite ‘Neverland’ and the hugely underrated ‘The King Of Sunset Town’ interspersing the newer cuts.

Visually this double DVD/Blu-ray set is a feast, the picture quality suggesting an elongated promo-video, rather than a full-length live release, while the sound is crystal clear. The setting is quite wonderful and with the band camped in the same venue for three nights running, they look and feel right at home, a light show that would be too costly to carry around the world given full scope to shine. However most dazzling is the guitar display from Steve Rothery, whose fretwork is always beefier and more in your face live, while the keyboards of Mark Kelly build, build and build again on some atmospherically enveloping themes. Visually, it’s Hogarth the camera loves, his enigmatic stagecraft ebbing and flowing as he loses himself in the show, extra keyboard fills and guitar licks being the mere icing on his peerless, if deeper than years gone by, vocal delivery. The only slight quibble coming when he “forgets” the lyrics to the only Fish era track included, the otherwise excellent show closing ‘Garden Party’; the singer encouraging the obliging crowd to pick up his slack. Honestly, after all these years you’d think Hogarth could attack his predecessor’s songs with the gusto they deserve.

That however is the one and only niggle on a live DVD/Blu-ray (and double CD if the mood takes you) that genuinely shows one of the U.K.’s most enduring bands in the most positive of lights. If you’ve been dismissing Marillion for many a year, it’s only you that’s missing out and ‘A Sunday Night Above The Rain’ proves as much.

Steven Reid      

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