at Rockefeller, Oslo, Norway, May 11, 2004

Almost to the date, it has been ten years since Marillion did their memorable Brave show at Sentrum Scene in Oslo. The year was 1994 and Marillion visited Oslo for the second time with Steve Hogarth behind the microphone. We had to wait another 6 years to get them back for a fan club gig at Rockefeller in 2000, and that was a memorable night as well. That gig included all the best moments from the Marillion catalog, including many from the Fish-era too.

With the great reception of Marbles, the expectations were high for Marillion/s first real tour stop in Oslo in the last 10 years. But sadly enough, it didn’t take long to conclude that something was seriously wrong. Marillion played through Marbles for the ninth time in front of an audience, but to me, it sounded more like we were watching a Marillion practice session on an average day.

The first hour was a complete mess of stumbling through their fresh material, and real good songs like “Fantastic Place,” “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” and their first single, “You’re Gone,” were easily forgotten. We all were starting to look forward to the second set, containing Marillion classics from the Hogarth period. After a few tunes, Steve Hogarth greeted the crowd by saying, “Hello Oslo, are you ok!?” But after the first hour of the show, we really weren’t!!

Technical problems with the sound and monitoring might be the answers to some questions regarding the disappointing gig with Marillion. But, sure enough, Steve Hogarth/s singing was fantastic the whole evening; and Mark Kelly also deserves a high five. However, Ian Mosley and Pete Trewavas did not have a pleasant day at work.

The second set was supposed to be the savior of the night. It started okay, even though I would like a more jumpy start than the quiet “This Is The 21st Century.” Anoraknophobia is a great album, though, and it was a joy to hear both “Quartz” and “Between You And Me” live. Steve Hogarth sang unbelievably beautiful on Holidays In Eden’s “The Party,” and the brief visit to Brave with “Bridge” and “Living With The Big Lie” created a high point of the concert.

For the encore, Marillion took us through one of This Strange Engine’s finest moments, “Estonia,” before heading 15 years back in time to one of Steve Hogarth’s first singles with Marillion: “The Uninvited Guest.” But, all in all, this was clearly not Marillion on a high. I guess they were having a real bad day at work, because they are so much better than this performance … and when Steve Hogarth stumbled and actually fell on his back after destroying the first chorus of “Cover My Eyes (Pain And Heaven)” – it kind of appropriately wrapped up the night (sadly enough).


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