Marillion – Happiness Is The Road Tour 2008 @ Rock City

This is going to be a hard blog to write…

Marillion were my first ‘favourite band’.  I lived near to Aylesbury and heard about them in their formative years before any of my friends at school.  I had a pre-order in for Market Square Heroes before its release, and I continue to pre-order their albums because I respect the way they now control their own destiny.  But I rarely listen to anything post-Afraid of Sunlight, and have not been to see them live since That Strange Engine.  But I had an opportunity to go along to Nottingham last night, so I took it.

I was pleased to see the venue packed out, even though I had been able to purchase a ticket on the morning of the gig.  A bit disappointed there was no support band, not least because I think it should almost be a duty of the ‘bigger’ bands to provide a platform to the up and coming ‘smaller’ bands – and Marillion always used to do that.  On the other hand, it does give an opportunity for a longer main set, and fair play to Marillion, they took it.  As for the gig itself, the band were as tight and professional as ever, and Steve Hogarth is a great frontman, even if I still cannot really come to ‘like’ his voice.  For me it sounds like he is stretching all the time – and it was probably not helped last night by someone saying he sounded a bit like Chris de Burgh, as if that was a compliment.  My impression of the gig is probably best summed up by saying that my favourite tracks were the parts from Brave, Afraid of Sunlight, and Out of This World.  There were parts of the other tracks which really grabbed me, but also parts within them which just did nothing for me – The Invisible Man is a good example of that.  There was nothing there which made me think I should go out and buy the album (if I did not already own them all), or rush off to listen to the album.  As you can see from what I am listening to below, I actually rushed off to listen to Clutching At Straws…and I have heard a lot of excellent Marillion material this week, but unfortunately most of it was at the Fish gig on Sunday.

Maybe I really just cannot still come to terms with the Hogarth-era…but it’s been 20 years now lol  I will keep buying the albums, I will keep trying with them – it’s impossible to just let go – but despite how brilliant (yes, brilliant) some parts of the gig were, I am not sure when I will go and see them live again.

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