At The Sage, Gateshead, U.K., November 13, 2019

MARILLION (Live at The Sage, Gateshead, U.K., November 13, 2019)
Photo: Mick Burgess

It all seems so recent, but Steve Hogarth has now been lead singer in Marillion for 30 years. How did that happen? It still feels like yesterday since he hit the ground running with the luscious soundscapes contained on Season’s End, his first album with Marillion.

It was only last year since they were least here but Marillion returned to The Sage to celebrate 30 years with Hogarth and what better way to open the show than with the mesmerising 20-minute epic, Gaza. Lyrically incisive, musically dramatic and visually captivating with Hogarth playing out the narrative in theatrical style. How many other bands would dare open their show in such an uncompromising way? But, Marillion are no ordinary band having opened their own webstore when Amazon was but a baby and ran crowd funding campaigns before the word was even invented.

Joined on this tour by a six-piece mini orchestra breathing new life into long established classics with Estonia and Season’s End benefitting from particularly luscious layers of orchestration that turned the already beautiful songs into wonderful 3D technicolour.

Steve Hogarth’s soulful, smooth voice soared and dripped with emotion during The Sky Above The Rain while he spat venom with twisted cynicism demanding that the peasant’s fall to their knees during the biting attack against the oligarchs during the shows centre piece, the sprawling four part The New Kings from their latest album F.E.A.R. With a huge projection to the rear of the stage and ghostly, atmospheric lighting, this was one impressive spectacle.

Marillion’s back catalogue is vast meaning that most of this evenings set was completely different from last years without any drop in quality. Of the few tracks that were performed on their last visit The Great Escape and Afraid Of Sunlight were majestic as Steve Rothery’s haunting guitar melodies and Mark Kelly’s layers of keyboards intertwined masterfully.

As they started, so they finished, with another nigh on 20-minute epic, This Strange Engine, but like the opener, its multifaceted moods and tempo changes made that time fly by.

For an evening of well crafted, beautifully performed music, it’s hard to beat a Marillion show and this was one of those nights where you could just sit back and let the music wash effortlessly over you.

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.

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