Following the release of their eighteenth studio album ‘FEAR’, Marillion found themselves somewhere near the top of their game. The recording had gained them a vast amount of praise, and the subsequent tour saw the band sell out London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall. Not a bad result for a band that some quarters of the press had previously written off. Although a rather dense listen, ‘FEAR’ covered a lot of musical ground, and had plenty of moments that suggested the band were in a more creative space than they’d been for some time. Between some dark arrangements, politically charged lyrics and a desire to make their listeners think, it felt like Marillion’s most complete sounding work for some time. Not necessarily their “best”, but arguably their most coherent.
In September 2021, Marillion will continue their reissue programme with a multi-disc version of 1984’s ‘Fugazi’. Something of a fan favourite, this second album saw a huge leap in musical confidence – something certainly helped by the arrival of drummer Ian Mosley – and take a much darker lyrical slant. Despite not having much commercial potential, at least on the face of things, the album became a top ten smash in the UK and even scored the band two top 40 singles and their first appearance on Top of The Pops.
For many years, Marillion fans had to make do with the ‘Recital of The Script’ and ‘Grendel/Web’ VHS tapes for their fix of early Marillion live footage. Thanks to the internet, further footage promoting ‘Script For A Jester’s Tear’ later surfaced, including a brief clip from The Marquee, but this footage from the Danish Roskilde Festival might just be the most exciting yet.
It captures Camel drummer Andy Ward’s brief time occupying the drum stool, making this a vital historical document. Ward automatically gives the performance(s) a little more energy than Mick Pointer was able (though still not quite enough if Steve Rothery’s expressions are anything to go by on occasion), but anything lacking musically is more than made up for by a ridiculously boisterous audience being tackled by Fish in a fearless mood.
Over the past two years, Marillion have revisited their back-catalogue with the release of several box sets, pairing some much loved albums with live material, demos and much-celebrated 5.1 mixes. Following the release of the ‘Afraid of Sunlight’ box set in 2019, the next installment comes in March 2020 with a lavish reissue of the debut album, ‘Script For A Jester’s Tear’.
A long held fan favourite, the five disc set will include a new stereo mix of the album by Andy Bradfield and Avril Macintosh, a brand new 5.1 mix, a documentary on the making of the album – now heralded as a prog rock classic – and a wealth of early live material.
A full rundown of the contents can be explored below.
Here at Real Gone, we’ve been big fans of Marillion for longer than we’d care to remember. Unlike some fans, though, we accept that not everything the band has recorded resembles pure gold. Last year, we shared our “ten best” with you – an article that generated a lot of discussion. In the interest of balance and in the wake of the 2019 UK fan weekend, here are ten Marillion songs we think should have been consigned to the dustbin of history…