Album review: MARILLION – Live In Glasgow/Brave Live (reissues)

MARILLION - Live In Glasgow

earMUSIC [Release date 01.03.19]

Almost 25 years separates the final two releases in this series of ten limited and numbered Marillion live albums.

Recorded in 1989, Live In Glasgow captures the band at the very beginning of the Steve Hogarth era on their Seasons End promotional tour at Glasgow Barrowlands (and, for two tracks, at St Georges Hall Bradford).

A curious track listing is partially explained by the cassette tape linked to the mixing desk at Glasgow not ‘flipping’ at the end of Side A, leading to two tracks being added from the subsequent Bradford gig.

But even so, running out a just over an hour, the release still only captures part of the setlist, with ‘Hooks In You’, and ‘After Me’ from Seasons End missing and, with the exception of ‘Warm Wet Circles’ and ‘That Time Of The Night’, most of the Fish era material that was played on the night.

But it’s nevertheless an excellent listen, reflecting just how good the band were – even then, and how remarkably ‘at home’ Steve Hogarth sounded on his debut tour.

For those interested in seeing, and hearing, the full set – from a time when they were collectively leaner and sported dubious eighties haircuts – you’ll need to track down a copy of the From Stoke To Ipanema – A Year In The Life 2DVD set which captures the tour at the De Montford Hall, Leicester the following April 1990.   Highlights include ‘Easter’, ‘Seasons End’, and ‘Berlin’.

By contrast, Brave Live, recorded at the Marillion weekend at Port Zelande in March 2013 sees the band’s 1994 album played in its entirety, along with a second disc of encores (including three tracks that appear on Live In Glasgow) that itself runs out at over an hour.  That’s one of the pitfalls of investing in the vast Marillion live catalogue – duplication, of duplication, of duplication, soon becomes unavoidable.

Only performed in its entirety before in 1994 and the 2002 weekend, the 2013 performance saw all the stops being pulled out for what is probably the definitive performance of the album.- It’s an epic performance which sounds great, and looks even better (if you invest in Bluray or 2DVD set).

And in over 2 hours’ worth of material over the 2 discs there’s hardly a let up where you might even think about going to put the kettle on.  For Marillion fans, it’s a must.  And of course, going back to the theme of duplication, there’s now the Steven Wilson remixes to consider as well.  But in terms of value for money and sensory experience, the Bluray / DVD package must take the ultimate accolade.  *****

Review by Pete Whalley

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