This release is one of a series of planned reissues of recordings taken from the various Marillion weekends that have been held over the years. These live CDs have previously been available from the band's online shop but are now available, in limited quantities, through mainstream outlets.
This particular live set, again on 2 CDs like the concurrently reissued ‘Size Matters’, is taken from the weekend held in 2011 at Centerparcs Port Zelande in the Netherlands with the familiar line-up of Steve Hogarth, Steve Rothery, Pete Trewavas (watch this space for a review of the new Kino album in due course!), Ian Mosley and Mark Kelly.
The first of the discs contains a performance of 1991's ‘Holidays in Eden’, played in order of its original tracklisting. The second release of Hogarth's tenure as lead singer, ‘Holidays’ is probably the most commercial of the band's efforts, with plenty of radio friendly material.
First up is 'Splintering Heart, the intro to which is protracted to heighten the anticipation of the start of the show, which is one of the more rocky tracks and features some excellent and relatively aggressive guitar work. 'Cover My Eyes' follows, an upbeat slice of commercial rock which barely dented the top 40 in the UK but did rather better in the Netherlands. 'The Party' is next, telling the story of a young girl's experiences at her first, as the song title suggests, party. This song follows the template of several on the album, with quieter vocal passages, coexisting with louder, more up tempo instrumental sections.
'No One Can' is the next track in the running order, and is another unashamedly commercial and gentle song with a romantic theme. The second track to be released as a single, it again failed to make a major impact on the UK charts. 'Waiting To Happen' closes side 1 of the studio album, with some heartfelt lyrics and the aforementioned quiet/loud formula.
The title track is next in sequence, telling the story of what happens when you go abroad and immerse yourself in the local culture to such an extent that you have trouble readjusting when returning home. This is one of the more rocky and up tempo cuts on the album. 'Dry Land' follows and is a track that was actually written by Hogarth prior to joining Marillion. The third single to be taken from the album, it was another effort to make a commercial breakthrough and recapture the levels of popularity the band experienced at the time of ‘Misplaced Childhood’ and ‘Clutching At Straws’, but again had little success.
Next up is a trilogy of songs which end the first disc, 'This Town', 'The Rake's Progress' (perhaps a little joke from the band here, given that this is the title of a famous painting by Hogarth's namesake, William) and '100 Nights'. This grouping tells the story of the deleterious effect moving to a big city has on a couple's relationship and is quite rocky and less commercial than other tracks on the album, featuring some superb guitar, courtesy of Rothery.
The second CD is quite short at just over half an hour and contains 4 tracks. The first two, 'How Can It Hurt' and 'The Collection' are b-sides to the single versions of 'Cover My Eyes' and 'No One Can' respectively. Both are relatively simple songs, although the latter has quite sinister lyrical content.
The following track, 'Man Of A Thousand Faces', is taken from 1997's ‘This Strange Engine’. It's quite an even paced song and, to paraphrase Hogarth himself, it's about Freud, Jung and man's need to function on a tribal or mystical level. The disc closes with 'The Invisible Man', a fan favourite and much closer, with its twists and turns and changes of time and tempo (and length at around 13 minutes) to classic Marillion than the commercially tinged ‘Holidays...’.
This is another excellent release with high quality sound. The enthusiasm shown and noise generated by the audience illustrate the near fervour with which Marillion fans support the band and, given the quality of the songwriting and musicianship and the genuine warmth the band have for their fanbase, it is with some justification.
HOLIDAYS IN EDEN
Review by Dave Uphill
56:04 & 32:17
19th January 2018
DISC ONE: 1) Splintering Heart; 2) Cover My Eyes; 3) The Party; 4) No One Can; 5) Waiting to Happen; 6) Holidays in Eden; 7) Dry Land; 8) This Town; 9) The Rake's Progress; 10) 100 Nights
DISC TWO:1) How Can It Hurt; 2) A Collection; 3) Man of a Thousand Faces; 4) The Invisible Man
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"The enthusiasm shown and noise generated by the audience illustrate the near fervour with which Marillion fans support the band and, given the quality of the songwriting and musicianship and the genuine warmth the band have for their fanbase, it is with some justification."