Update: what the hell, the user pulled the video. I have no idea why (I mean, I know Marillion is going to release a DVD in the fall of their Brave performances, but I find it hard to imagine they complained). That sucks. Oh, well, it was pretty cool, to say the least. The Porcupine Tree show at Radio City Music Hall was special in many ways, but still, in many other ways, couldn’t hold a candle to this.
I was there.
The sound quality isn’t very good (the sound from the floor was phenomenal), and the video quality isn’t great either. But, it vividly brings to mind what it was like to be there.
As I mentioned previously, for many fans of Marillion, Brave is up there as one of the most popular releases of the group, the one that definitively established Hogarth as the singer of the band. Except for their tour in 1994 (I think, too lazy to google it), they’d never performed this piece live in its entirety, so for most in attendance, it was a seminal event. The energy in the room was palpable and overwhelming (in a good way). Marillion is not, and has never been, like Peter Gabriel-era Genesis in terms of theatrics, but for what they do, it was up there.
The ‘story’ of Brave is Hogarth’s fictional account of the real life story of a woman found about to jump off of a bridge to her death. “The Great Escape” is the ‘downer’ ending of the concept album, her death, though it is important to remember that “Made Again”, the ‘happy’ ending matches the real life events (she didn’t jump). In any event, it is nevertheless something like the ‘real’ ending.
When the performance ends, the crowd begins to applaud, but unlike a previous loud round of applause earlier in the evening which was ‘shushed’ by Mark Kelly, no one in the band tries to stop it. Rothery gets his acoustic, but Hogarth takes a step back to acknowledge the crowd response and it starts to build. Recognizing their accomplishment, Hogarth begins to shake hands with the rest of the band (even though there’s still a song to be played), and the crowd responds. Hogarth and Trewavas lean against each other and soak it in. You can’t quite make out Hogarth’s facial expressions, but you can sense how he is ‘blown back’ a couple of times as he steps up to the mike and then back again. As one commenter mentioned, if he hadn’t spoken, I bet we could have continue quite longer. As Hogarth said the next day, it was a sound unlike any he’d experienced in his entire career.
I’m somewhere to Hogarth’s right. I haven’t quite found myself in the video, though if I could, you would see me looking back at the crowd, soaking in the overwhelming energy of the night.
I’ve mentioned repeatedly that I don’t look to popular music for meaning (not much, anyway), since I find that in Shakespeare or the Bible, and for me, Brave is probably 5th in my top 5 of Marillion’s work. Nevertheless, I don’t think I ever have, or ever will, experience anything quite like it again. For everyone who is a music lover with a favorite band (Marillion is probably tied for third for me, but whatever), I hope that you have a chance to experience something like that night in your life.
It was an honor and a privilege to be there. It felt like coming home.
For those interested, other videos from the weekend can be found here.