Album review: MARILLION – Smoke/Mirrors (reissues)

MARILLION - Smoke/Mirrors (reissues)

earMUSIC [Release date 25.05.18]

You need deep pockets in 2018 to keep up with the almost constant Marillion ‘product’ output.  As well as the single CD Steven Wilson-Brave stereo remix, this month sees the release of Part 3 of the limited edition live album series.  This time, delving deep into the band’s back catalogue to the 2005 weekend convention, the last to be held at Butlins, Minehead.

That weekend kicked off on the Friday night with a canter through the band’s then current album Marbles.  That performance, although not available as part of this series, was originally made available on CD as Marbles By The Sea.   And although long out of print, completists can still purchase a 256kbps download from the band’s website.

The weekend also, naturally, spawned a DVD – Bootleg Butlins, filmed using just 3 cameras, and also long out of print, with second hand copies now selling at a premium.  That DVD ‘mirrored’ these two releases, capturing the up-tempo ‘Smoke’ set on the Saturday night, and the relatively quiet and mellow ‘Mirrors’ set on the Sunday.  The Friday performance was presumably omitted because of the release of Marbles On The Road DVD, recorded in London the previous year.

The quality of the performance here, and the recordings, just go to underline that while form can be temporary, class is permanent.

But even within this limited edition live album series, significant overlap of material is beginning to appear.  So, the question is, do you indulge?  Is it possible, for even Marillion die-hards to get too much of a good thing?

Well, there are some lesser spotted highlights, like ‘Separated Out’ from Anoraknophopia, and ‘Deserve’, ‘Rich’, and ‘House’ from Marillion.com (which will form the centrepiece of the 2019 conventions).  The latter gets a beautifully relaxed outing with some exquisite playing / singing and it makes you wonder why it doesn’t feature in set lists more often.  And Rothery’s sublime bluesy guitar lines on ‘Born To Run’ from Radiation also merit a special mention.

But as my wife succinctly put it, as I was listening to these two releases, ‘Is that another Marillion live recording (as she rolled her eyes skywards)??  Indeed, a Marillion obsession can be bad not only for your bank balance, but the stability of your marriage.

But what can you do?  The quality of these live recordings is second to none.  Resistance is useless.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley

Album review (Holidays In Eden Live/ Size Matters)
Album review (Unplugged At The Walls/Tumbling Down The Years)
Album review (All One Tonight, CD/DVD)


Throughout September 2018 Get Ready to ROCK! Radio celebrated the station’s 10th anniversary and a two-hour special reflected a decade of broadcasting. “10 years in the making” features archive interviews with Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Todd Rundgren, Graham Bonnet, David Coverdale, John Wetton and Bob Catley.

More information
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Power Plays w/c 12 November 2018

STEPHEN PEARCY U Only Live Twice Frontiers)
NORTHWARD Timebomb (Nuclear Blast)
MASON HILL Hold On (indie)
RAINLIGHT Field Of Souls (indie)
EDEN’S CURSE Forever (AFM Records)

Featured Albums w/c 12 November (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 TEN Illuminati (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 NORDIC UNION Second Coming (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 LARKIN POE Venom & Faith (Proper Music)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

18:00-19:00 MAGGIE REILLY Heaven Sent (2013)



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