It has been twenty years since Marillion released "Holidays in Eden," and so the first concert of the Marillion weekend was dedicated to a playing of the album from start to finish.
After joining the queue a bit later than we would the two subsequent nights, we ended up right in front of Rothers, about two or three deep from the stage. Definitely close enough to watch the master at work, not only with his fingers, but also with his feet, as he manipulated his technology to move from one style of playing to another, from one sonic texture to another. The extraordinary Steven Rothery!
The show got under way dramatically with the pulsating opening beats of "Splintering Heart", the first track off of Holidays in Eden. Out of the darkness, H appeared on a riser at center stage and kicked into the vocals, while the remaining band members came out to get ready for that moment when the song fully kicks in in all of its rocking power. "But not as much as this!"
At the conclusion of Splintering Heart, there was an ovation that just would not quit. I mean, it went on and on (in a good way!). The band members have since said that this was a welcome that they had never quite experienced in all of their long years of playing around the world. I don't know if this is literally true, or if it is just a case of the band recognizing a rousing welcome with some hyperbole of their own. Regardless, I can say that it was quite a spectacular start to the weekend!
A nice thing about unusual sets like this (i.e., playing an album in its entirety) is that you get deep tracks that aren't often played live. In the case of Holidays in Eden, it was great songs like "Dry Land" and "Holidays in Eden" itself.
After the main set, the band broke into a few pieces of music from the Holidays in Eden era that didn't make it onto the album, songs like "A Collection" that have become classic b-sides over the past two decades. And then, to close out the night, there were some all time Marillion greats, including "Man of a Thousand Faces" and "The Invisible Man."
Cover My Eyes
No One Can
Holidays in Eden
Waiting to Happen
The Rakes Progress
How Can it Hurt
Man of a Thousand Faces
Memory of Water
The Invisible Man