Sunday, July 1, 2012

Music Review: Marillion at The Fillmore, SF

 I was blessed growing up with young parents who had amazing tastes in music. While other kids my age were listening to pop music, I was doused in artists such as Tim Buckley and Michael Chapman, Bob Dylan, T-Rex, The Sisters of Mercy, Joy Division, The Clash, David Bowie, The Jam, to name a few. We never really had that much money so I just have to assume that record shopping for my mum was just the same as CD shopping was for me in my teens - a lot of browsing and choosing very carefully; saving up just to buy that one coveted album, sometimes making a mistake and sometimes being blown away by something new and amazing.

In 1985 my mother was looking for a new record and came across Misplaced Childhood by a band called Marillion. The record artwork inspired her to buy the album, and that started a 27  year love story that is most likely to continue until they decide to retire from music. I think I see Marillion somewhat as part of the background music of my childhood, a band that I would never really listen to as a personal choice, but would enjoy whenever my mum played them. About 6 months ago they finally decided to tour the US again, after 12 years of not touring here, so my mum decided to buy us all tickets, and also to fly me over from NYC for a vacation that coincided with the show. She also managed to win meet and greet passes, as well as a couple of photo passes for myself and her. Bear in mind that she has waited about 27 years to see them live as she was never able to see them before for multiple different reasons, so this was all pretty huge for her.

Not only was I blown away by an absolutely tremendous live show, with a setlist that spanned their entire catalogue of 17 albums, but seeing the anticipation and happiness on my mother's face all through-out the night was totally priceless. She is still grinning today while uploading her photos, and I am trying to write this so that I can not only do the band, but her, justice as well. There really is something special about going to a show where you really don't know what to expect, and walking away feeling like you have been pulled and tossed through a musical magic house. Magical just because for nearly 3 hours I felt like I was hearing an old friend play for me, while simultaneously it was as if I was seeing a band with completely new ears and eyes. H (Steve Hogarth)'s voice rips over the crowd and soars through the air - from the moment he appeared on one of the side balconies for the first song, til the end of the third encore, where finally he let the audience do most of the singing. While H is a purely natural performer, at times reminding me of Peter Murphy in the way that he is so expressive with his whole body, the rest of the band are just as energetic and expressive in their own ways. Guitar tunes that are emotional, going from light melodies to incessant screams, pounding drum beats, eerie keys and beautiful bass lines, surrounded by that voice that fills the entire venue = Jade music heaven. And the rest of the audience seemed to think the same way too!!

In addition to all of the above - it was my first time at The Fillmore in San Francisco - what an awesome venue! I want to work there (although that would mean moving to San Francisco, and I don't think I could leave NYC just for a concert venue). There are original concert posters framed all around the walls of the upstairs auditorium - from the 60's to today's date. I wanted to take a load of them home with me and hang them in my apartment. Gorgeous psychedelic artwork. I don't know if they do it anymore, but apparently there was a tradition where they would give the audience free copies of the posters when they left the show. Really cool idea.

All in all a really wonderful experience. You can see the rest of my photos HERE, but for a lot more, and much, much better photos (as my mother also happens to be one of the best photographers I know), check out my mum's gallery HERE (link also below). Now I'm going to get her to listen to Spiritualized so that she can join me next time I see them, and experience them live in the same way that I experienced Marillion last night.

Splintering Heart
Cover My Eyes
Slàinte Mhath
The Other Half
Fantastic Place
The Great Escape
Afraid of Sunlight
Sugar Mice
Man of a Thousand Faces
The Invisible Man
Encore 2:
This Strange Engine/Ocean Cloud
Encore 3:
Happiness Is the Road

More information:
Alison Toon - Marillion at The Fillmore photo gallery
The Fillmore

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