Album review: MARILLION – Holidays In Eden Live/Size Matters (reissues)

MARILLION - Holidays In Eden Live/Size Matters (reissues)

earMUSIC [Release date 19.01.18]

Curious ‘mainstream’ releases for these two double CD sets, that fans will know were originally released on the band’s own Racket Records label (in fact, Size Matters is still currently available, albeit with a different sleeve), and you may want to check out the comparative cost if thinking of investing).

Culled from the band’s legendary bi-annual, 3 night, Weekend conventions, Holidays In Eden captures the band’s 1991 album performed live, in full, on the Friday night of the 2011 Weekend in Holland, while Size Matters is the Sunday night set from the 2009 Weekend (again in Holland) themed on the band’s more ‘epic’ pieces.

The first thing to say is that these releases are the soundtrack to DVD releases which give you the whole audio/visual experience, superbly captured by Tim Sidwell’s Toward Infinity team.

Holidays In Eden Live forms part of the 5 DVD Holidays in Zelande release (the other 2 nights having been released on Racket Records as The Glow Must Go On and A-Z), and Size Matters as part of the 3 DVD Out Of Season release (the other nights spawning Out Of Season Live and Tumbling Down The Years Racket Records CD releases).

Personally, I’d say these performances are so good, that the first port of call should be the DVD (or Bluray) releases.  But if you want audio only, these CDs are still worth every penny.  Marillion are a band who don’t believe in going through motions when performing live, and these recordings capture both their energy, and the special bond that exists with the fans, who regard participation as a requisite.

Holidays In Eden is, of course, very much of its time -  perhaps Marillion at their most succinct, mainstream crossover best – with the encores, captured on the, it has to be said relatively short, second CD.

This neatly incorporaties the contemporaneous ‘How Can It Hurt’ (the B-side from the ‘Cover My Eyes’ single), and ‘A Collection’ (the B-side to the ‘No One Can’ single), appended by staple crowd pleasers ‘Man Of A Thousand Faces’, and ‘The Invisible Man’.

The latter also features on Size Matters, as the first of a closing triumvirate, alongside ‘This Strange Engine’ and ‘Neverland’  that together add up to 50 minutes of the most stirring rock you’ll hear from any stage.  Frankly, that’s worth the admission price alone, but is merely the icing on an extremely appetising set incorporating amongst others, notable performances of ‘This Is The 21st Century’, ‘Ocean Cloud’ and ‘Interior Lulu’.

Apparently eight more live albums will get this treatment during 2018. But be quick, they’re numbered and limited to 5000 copies.  Asked to pick one of these two and I’d say Size Matters maybe just edges it.  But frankly both are very worthy of  *****

Review by Pete Whalley

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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