February 10, 2018
Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse
Marillion is a band that I have been aware of for decades. They have always been one of those bands that I knew by name but knew very little about. I went to school with a kid who was a huge Marillion fan and all he could do was talk about how amazing their singer Fish was. I gave them a listen and I just didn’t get into it. I really did try. Marillion was just a name to me. Marillion was never a band that any of my close friends ever really talked about and there really was nobody to really nudge me into their direction in my later years to give them another listen.
A friend of mine that I’ve known for the past few years has very deep, personal connection to this band. Marillion just happened to be playing here in Atlanta for the first time in 28 years and upon her urging, I attended the show. My first impression upon walking into the sold out (or very close to sold out) Variety Playhouse was that I was walking into a whole new dimension.
Everyone had this common, electric excitement that seemed to emanate from them and fill the room. I over heard stories of past Marillion shows, I overheard two guys debating Fish vs. H (Marillion’s singer since 1989), and I even sat next to someone who was seeing their 27th Marillion show. I knew right away that I was about to see and hear something pretty fucking remarkable. The friendly, excited, and engaging vibe of the people around me gave me a sense of welcome and even more so when I told them that this was my first Marillion show. The common thing told me that night: “You picked an amazing time to take in your first Marillion show.”
Marillion has been doing shows supporting their 2016 release F.E.A.R (Fuck Everyone and Run) so I was told to expect a lot of material from that album. Honestly, this didn’t mean much to me as I was opting more for the element of surprise by not listening to this album before the show. No opening act, no fanfare, no nothing. Marillion took the stage at 8pm sharp to a roar that was so loud that it gave me chills. “Long Shadowed Sun” opened with it’s subtle, gentle, yet haunting ambience accompanied by some stellar cinematography on a media screen behind them. “The Gold” brought it all to life and immediately I felt completely swept away.
As corny as it sounds, Marillion was making magic right before my eyes. The connection they shared with each other and every song created an amazing listening experience and mixed with the visuals that went along with each song made it a full on journey of the senses. The fact that Marillion’s music contains elements of Pink Floyd, David Bowie, King Crimson, and the very few parts of U2 that I don’t find absolutely annoying made this such an amazing experience but it was lead vocalist Steve “H” Hogarth who captivated me the moment he took center stage.
H has a presence that is commanding but it’s not pompous or arrogant; it’s just purely magnetic and from the first song to when the band walked off stage I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. H embodied the spirit of charasmatic front men such as Bowie and Peter Gaberial yet posessed this humble character like that of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. H has this way of making you feel like you are the only person in the room. Some times I would even find myself closing my eyes and feeling as if I was transcending to this place where everyone else in the room seemed to be at. That, my friends, is a powerful fucking feeling.
I really could go on an on about how fucking amazing this show was. Hearing everyone sing along with “Kayleigh”, the amazing visuals that accompanied the song “King” of fallen icons such as Prince, Duane Allman, Bon Scott, Phil Lynott, Jerry Garcia, and Syd Barrett just to name a few, and the outstanding sensory overload encore of “The Invisible Man.” For a man who rarely finds himself at a loss for words at any given time, it was hard for me to actually write this review because sometimes its just too fucking hard to put to words an expeience that leaves you speechless.
My first Marillion concert was a life changing experience for me and anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows that this isn’t something I just say about any fucking band. Marillion struck a huge chord with me and I feel as if a door to my heart has been opened to let them in. Marillion embodies little bits of every fucking thing I love about music and this performance is something I will never forget. It’s also a feeling that I hope never goes away no matter how many times I see them in the future. This experience is right up there with the memories of moments that will remain with me for a lifetime: my first kiss, my first cigarette, my first joint, my first love, and my first Marillion concert.
For more on Marillion, head over to http://www.marillion.com/shop/