At The Sage, Gateshead, U.K., April 11, 2018

MARILLION (Live at The Sage, Gateshead, U.K., April 11, 2018)
Photo: Mick Burgess

First things first. No, Fish is not the lead singer of Marillion and hasn’t been for nearly 30 years and 14 studio albums and no, they are not an ’80s Scottish Heavy Metal band.

Now that those misconceptions are out of the way there’s the not so small matter of Marillion’s first show in the region for almost a decade in support of their Top 5 album F.E.A.R, which taps into the disillusionment resulting from the post-crash economy.

Opening with the epic five part El Dorado from F.E.A.R, a song that perfectly encapsulates the dynamics and majesty of modern Marillion. How many bands at this stage in their careers can pull out such an intense piece of melodrama and sound so relevant and contemporary? Part II: Gold was achingly beautiful, with Steve Hogarth’s delicate vocal and mournful melody swathed in layers of Mark Kelly’s velvet keyboards to provide a show stopping moment so early in the show before the crescendo peaked at Part IV: Fear as Steve Rothery’s guitar added some steely dynamics.

Marillion with Steve Hogarth have much more in common with the likes of Radiohead, Mercury Rev and latter period Talk Talk than their earlier Genesis influences and eschew many of the excesses of the old Prog Rock guard, instead crafting supremely constructed, intensely moving, atmospheric music. Those expecting a rerun of their freak hit Kayleigh may be pleasantly surprised at the direction they have forged since those Top of the Pops bothering days of the ’80s and would be well advised to investigate further.

With the mid-section taken up by a bunch of shorter, sharper cuts Marillion shifted gears between the staccato rhythms of Quartz featuring Hogarth on his magical cricket bat and the gloriously dreamy Seasons End where Hogarth’s mellow Soulful voice soared.

Marillion have an incredibly devoted fan base and when Living in FEAR’s Gospel like closing section came to an end, the crowd weren’t quite ready to let it go as one ring leader fired up the chorus again, getting the whole crowd singing which coaxed the band to join back in.

With a wonderfully atmospheric light show enhancing the many moods created by Marillion’s music along with a large video screen that really came into its own with the moving footage of Donald Campbell’s death on Lake Coniston during Out Of The World this was a very visual show further enhanced by Hogarth’s mesmerising theatrical delivery that peaked with his manic performance during Mad.

With the multi-faceted The Leavers drawing a standing ovation mid set, it’s clear that Marillion are in a real purple patch in their almost 40-year career, that a new song can illicit such a response was quite something.

The shimmering beauty of Afraid of Sunlight and the centrepiece of the classic Brave album, The Great Escape showed the versatility within Marillion’s music as the main set neared its finale.

With the band all geared up to deliver Easter for the encore, a fan dared Hogarth to do Garden Party instead. After a few furtive glances Mark Kelly’s signature synth sparked into life as that very song brought the whole of The Sage to their collective feet. This unscheduled encore, responding to a fan request in this way really symbolised the relationship between the band and their fans and was the perfect end to a scintillating show.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.