A Sunday Night Above The Rain (2CD)

"A Sunday Night Above the Rain is a two-disc live set recorded by modern pro giants Marillion last year in March at Center Parcs in Port Zelande, the Netherlands.

Disc 1 opens with “Gaza” from the album of the same name. It’s typical Marillion high drama informed by a good chunky beat, spiky middle eastern-sounding synth lines and lilting choruses. Right from the beginning, the crowd comprised of thousands come from over 44 countries this night, is clapping along hot and heavy before Steve Rothery’s wailing guitar solo (one of the most underrated guitar players in rock and roll) and singing along as Steve Hogarth (lead vocalist) will welcome from them often here on the balled “Waiting To Happen,” where, sorry to say, not much really does happen.

We get lots of Mark Kelly’s beautiful piano on “This Strange Engine,” though I’m not thrilled by Hogarth’s swallowing words in an over-affected vocal. The tune rocks in its last minutes though as the band and Hogarth rise to an anthem-like ending!

The highlight of this first disc though is “Neverland” where Kelly, bassist Peter Trewavas and Hogarth are especially inspired, but again what Steve Rothery slips in are truly spine-chilling moments. What he seemingly just throws away in flips during the vocal are full feasts, his leads perfect from wailing moments to sweet and clean ones, not mere seconds from one another. Not since David Gilmour have I felt a guitarist say so much doing so little.

Lots of Disc 2 are from the Gaza album. “Montreal,” with its mid-song Floydian moments, is more a Mark Kelly song really, with especially effective tom work from drummer Ian Mosley behind him and Peter Trewavas poppin’ on the “Power” (good lyric here especially). Mosely and Trewavas are kicking on the opening of what becomes a plinky “The King of Sunset Town,” a tune that showcases a solid Hogarth vocal. A truly beautiful once again piano-led tune, “The Sky Above the Rain” like “Neverland” on the first is the linchpin of this second disc. Hogarth is very good here as are the subtleties of the drum and bass duo once again.

The band does give one quick nod to its past (when they were fronted by lead singer/enigmatic frontman Fish) ending with “Garden Party.” Hogarth doesn’t especially sell this tune, but he doesn’t have to as pretty much the audience sings the song for him.

If you want to know what modern-day Marillion are all about, grab it." - Short And Sweet NYC

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