It was a long time ago that I’ve heard Marillion for the first time, I was probably around 14 and most likely I didn’t even pay too much attention to them. But the fact that my older siblings paid attention to them did stir my interest so I started dragging along, like the annoying (sweet) little sister that I’ve always been and always will be.
Two years ago I saw Steve Hogarth live for the first time, here in Stockholm. I wrote about it here. Then about a month ago I saw Marillion live for the first time in Paris, an experience I shared with the persons mentioned above. I will not go through the details of the previous events again, but focus on the event that happened at Södra Latin in Stockholm this past Saturday. There aren’t many things to say about it, I am not a music critic, and definitely not a Marillion expert, but here is my best shot at saying how I lived it that afternoon. If there is one thing I am sure of is that I know good music when I hear it, and the afternoon was full of that. And a lot of chatting and laughing.
Steve seems like nothing of a rock-star, but his straight-forward warm way of being in front of the audience gets him the rock-star treatment especially in terms of appreciation from the crowd. Even before he opened his mouth to say hi everybody welcomed him with a frantic and long round of applause. The event started with some chit-chat and joking that brought a huge smile upon my face and made me remember the previous concert from Historiska Museet, but now I saw things with different eyes. I didn’t have the curiosity of a first-timer and I had more time to deepen my knowledge in Marillion. Still, I impatiently waited for the music to start. One after the other the songs started to flow. Nothing like the Marillion live setlist, with older songs, newer (Living in FEAR from the latest album), a stop to Brave (Hard as Love), a too short introduction to Beautiful and some reading from his diary. The man, besides having a beautiful voice that goes great alongside a piano, has this hypnotising charm that gets you to listen to him not only when he is singing, but also when he is reading out loud to you about his horrible experience of a flight to Mexico City.
It was unacceptable to miss the chance to go up and talk to him after the show and tell him how I stuck my nose in my older siblings’ business and ended up well… there talking to him because of that. And in Paris to see Marillion (which he said was his favourite concert from the tour and that he likes playing in Zénith). And I also ended up passing his regards to the, again, before-mentioned persons. I was absolutely impressed by his patience in signing autographs, taking photos and making faces for selfies, shaking hands and listening to everyone who wanted to share his or her story about how much they like Marillion or his shows.
So he didn’t play all the songs I wanted to hear, but that was expected, but he played beautifully. Amazingly beautiful! To a sold out auditorium of devoted fans that clapped and appreciated every sound and every word. A crowd that came with ornaments to decorate the tree, just as the tradition of the H concerts requires, a crowd that hit the floor with their feet to show how much they enjoy the event, a crowd of beautiful people really passionate about music.
It was the second sold-out show in Stockholm in two years. I am so surely going to help the third become sold out as well and I so wish he visited Stockholm with the whole band because, even if in a way the music is the same, the experience itself is totally different. Give him, and them, a chance if they come playing anywhere near you (says me with White Paper playing in my headphones).