The Apotheosis of Passion: Marillion, ALL ONE TONIGHT

A brief review of Marillion, ALL ONE TONIGHT: LIVE AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL (Racket Records, 2018). Blu-ray.

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The version I should’ve bought.

I stupidly violated two of my own rules recently, and, not unpredictably, I regretted both “indiscretions” immediately. First, whenever a band I love releases a new album and it’s available on blu-ray, I always buy the blu-ray.  The sound quality of blu-ray done properly is just extraordinary, at least to my untrained ear.  Second, whenever Marillion offers a deluxe version of a new release, I buy the deluxe edition.  Stupid, stupid me.  When Marillion announced its release of ALL ONE TONIGHT, I unthinkingly ordered the CD version.  I feel so deeply in love with it that I decided to order the blu-ray version of it, only to realize that had I originally just ordered the deluxe version of ALL ONE TONIGHT, I would’ve had the CD and the blu-ray in one gorgeous package.

Bless me, Father Prog, for I have sinned. . . . Ok, confession over.

And, for what it’s worth, I don’t have the words or the ability to describe my joy in and with this album. Yes, yes, you’re thinking—why on God’s Green Earth are you reading a review when the reviewer admits he can’t do justice to the release?  If you fade out at this point in the review, I won’t blame you in the least.

Still here. . . ?

Really?  Cool.

Ok, let me just state that I can’t get over how great this live album is.  The CDs blew me away.  Watching the blu-ray blows me over all again by a magnitude of 10.  This band has been extraordinary since it released BRAVE way back in 1994, but it is, currently, at the absolute height of its powers.  Indeed, watching this concert is somewhat akin to a religious experience (hence, the confession above!).

The band performs the entire FEAR album in set one of the .  To my mind, the band has produced four masterpieces in its career: BRAVE, AFRAID SUNLIGHT, MARBLES, and, now, FEAR.  An excellent studio album.  But, what about performed live.  Well, all I can write, is that the live version of FEAR is even better than the studio album.

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Each of the members of Marillion plays his heart out.  No one here disappoints in any way.  Hogarth is in top form—at times hilarious, at times self-deprecating, but always earnest and charismatic.  Trewavas plays bass with restrained intensity.  Rothery is avuncular, rock steady.  Kelly, of course, looks like some GQ god of the keyboards, knowing exactly when a moment demands outrage and when demands delicacy.  But, my highest praise goes to drummer Ian Mosley.  The guy is 64, and he drums so precisely and with the stamina of a 20 year old.  I can’t even imagine what kind of mental and physical shape a three-hour concert takes from a drummer, but I know this 50-year-old gets tired air drumming! Kudos to every member of the band.

For the second set, the band welcomes on a stage, In Praise of Folly, a classical string quartet, along with a French horn player and a flautist.  Stunning. Having the eleven performers on stage only makes me realize how artistic Marillion’s music really is.  Just imagine for a moment–“Afraid of Sunlight” performed by six classical musicians.  Imagine no more–it’s as great as what you imagined it would be.  When Hogarth introduces the guests, he notes that it’s good to have “proper musicians” on stage.  Amen.

[It doesn’t hurt that the members of the quartet are as attractive as they are talented!]

So, what else to write? If you like rock at all, you can’t pass up buying a copy of Marillion’s ALL ONE TONIGHT.  It ranks up there with Rush’s Exit Stage Left and Pink Floyd’s Live from Pompei.  Live rock just doesn’t get better.

So, let me end with this. Steve, Steve, Mark, Ian, and Pete—thank you.  Thank you. Thank you.  And, again, thank you.

Thoughts?

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