Marillion: a name that instantly polarizes fans of progressive rock all over the world. Some love them, some hate them; but rarely is anyone left indifferent by them. This band has always held a special place in my heart because I had the chance to see them on numerous occasions during the Fish reign. However, I only had a chance to see them when they started embarking on world tours following the release of Fugazi in 1984. Therefore, discovering that the band had released a full length show on DVD of their 1983 concert at London's prestigious Hammersmith Odeon was indeed a treat. The real treat however, was sitting down with a cold pint and experiencing this show " from the safety of my living room chair " ( and I only remained seated until the end of the opening Script For A Jester's Tear).
Marillion present the entire Script For A Jester's Tear , in it's originally recorded order in front of a very enthusiastic crowd which never fails to croon along on queue.Donning a greasepaint mask,
a thinner, less folically-challenged Fish, rips through the tracks with the voice we originally fell in love with. Although he seemed to take himself much more seriously in his younger days, he stills takes the time to relate a comical anecdote about the release of " He Knows, You Know" as a single and his family impatiently awaiting to see the band perform on TV on a popular music show of the day. The other band members also flawlessly run through the set; playing it much closer to the vest than in the live shows I've seen. The tracks almost sound as if they were lifted directly from the album.
As a bonus, we are treated , as an encore, to the crowd pleasing "Market Square Heroes" as well as the epic ( and rarely if ever performed live after this tour) "Grendel". Add these tracks to the already fantastic versions of "Forgotten Sons" and "The Web" and you get a killer set of Prime Time Marillion.
The extras on the DVD, although short, are still worth checking out. We're served up a snippet from a 1982 show at London's famous Marquee . "He Knows You Know" is performed in it's entirety before we're whisked backstage with the band ( in one of the grungiest looking rooms I've ever seen) while the crowd screams for an encore. The band then reemerges on stage and we get to see only a segment of "Market Square Heroes". Then, as the band is celebrating in that same dingy room, Fish sits outside and gives a brief interview where he relates the band's first serious steps to stardom and the adrenaline rush which accompanies the realization that their little club band was making some serious ripples in the musical ocean .
I guess the only drawback ( for you audiophiles) may be in the fact that there's only 1 audio option : 2.0 stereo. I would not let that deter you from picking this one up as the camera work is superb ( if only a little too Fish oriented). Truly a no-brainer for every Marillion fan out there. Cheers !