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Marillion, Park West, Chicago, IL – 6/23/12

A different concert in a couple of different ways.

But first, the set list:

  • The Invisible Man
  • Open My Eyes
  • Slainte Mhath
  • Out of This World
  • Afraid of Sunlight
  • Cannibal Surf Babe
  • The Great Escape
  • Estonia
  • Lucky Man
  • Between You and Me
  • Neverland
  • Encore 1:
  • This Strange Engine
  • Encore 2:
  • Kayleigh
  • No One Can
  • Three Minute Boy

Before the main event, a couple of words about the opening band, Sun Domingo.  They are a Georgia band, been around since 2004, yada yada yada.  Decent band.  Highlights from the first show were their cover of Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage/Eclipse” from Dark Side of the Moon, and a 10 minute instrumental that, at one point, featured three of the four members simultaneously playing drums (it sounds weird perhaps, but it was pulled off fairly well).  So, going into this show, it was curious to see what they would play, especially since probably 75% of the crowd had been present the previous evening (that number is totally unscientific, obviously).  They decided to play a cover of Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety (then ending with the single from their latest release).  In a sense, this was risking, especially if it wasn’t done well (imagine a crowd booing the entire length of the album), but it was fairly well received.  There was some foreshadowing of the main event, when the computer hooked up to the main keyboard rebooted, causing a slight delay (during which time the audience obliged and requested “Freebird”, a joke from the previous evening.

As you may note, there are two repeats in the evening’s set list from the previous show, which wasn’t supposed to happen, so when the opening sounds/notes of “The Invisible Man” started, there was momentary confusion in the crowd (at least in the people around me).  Since it’s my favorite song of theirs, and since they absolutely nailed it (again), I didn’t mind.  After the song, Hogarth noted the repeat, claiming that there had been a personal request to play the song that involved ‘the exchange of underwear and hard currency’, or something to that effect.  He made a similarly humorously intended comment when the main set was ended with ‘Neverland’.

Since more of my favorite songs were played the first night (since I more or less knew what songs were going to be played, just not in which order), I spent a little more time watching the band, and the thing that stood out, and stands out, is how much they truly enjoy performing, and how much their dedicated fans love them.  Trite as that sounds, there are moments of near unbridled joy coming from not just Hogarth, but most of the band.  I was center-stage about 5 people from the front, and caught a few moments where Kelly, in between playing something, would just look out and stare and the crowd with a huge smile on his face.  I think a large part of this was due to the fact that this was their first US tour since 2004.  Hogarth made mention a couple of times that they had stayed away too long (he’s a showman, so of course he would say it, but I’m pretty sure he meant it).

It was also fairly clear that Hogarth was sick (and possibly also just a little…too drink-y, if you know what I mean).  He had mentioned voice issues in passing the previous night, and it seemed he was straining at a few moments.  Kelly and Trewavas would exchange glances at certain moments as if they were wondering “is he going to make it?” and Hogarth sipped at something through the evening (which he hadn’t the night before).  I’m amazed he doesn’t shred his voice.

At one point in the middle of “This Strange Engine”, there is a point where a sound effect (like a bike bell) rings and then it moves onto a piano piece that Hogarth sings over.  Or at least, it is supposed to.  Instead, in this case, the bell would ring and Hogarth would inhale to start singing, and then the bell would ring again.  After 4 or 5 times, he turned and looked at Kelly, who at this point, was pressing buttons and keys and whatnot to get it to stop, but to no avail.  He turned and stared at Hogarth and just shrugged his shoulders, and then a few seconds later, the bell stopped.  The crowd gave him a mocking ovation.  It was a light moment.

Overall, it was a fantastic two nights, and I’m seriously considering going to their Marillion Weekend in Montreal in 2013 (an event they’ve been doing once a year, it is three straight nights of concerts), as it would kill three birds with one stone: getting to visit Montreal again, three nights of Marillion, and the opportunity to see something like 6 hockey games in 10 days in one of my extended road trips.

And now, I get to go back and take another (or in some cases, a first) listen to some of their older discography, knowing in advance that even if some of it still isn’t too my liking, there are some real gems in there.

posted on Sunday, June 24, 2012 7:10 PM Print
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