Marillion celebrated three decades with lead singer Steve Hogarth on Sunday night (8th April 2018), kicking off their U.K. and Ireland tour with their first date in Belfast in almost a decade and a half. Trawling through thirty years of neo-progressive sounds that can’t be made, the Aylesbury act thrilled with their emotion-heavy set.
Stepping on stage at the city’s Ulster Hall, Hogarth confessed; “It’s been way too long”, as the band kicked off proceedings with the “antique pomp” of ‘The Release’. Going on to surprise even the most diehard fan, the evening’s set saw Marillion weave their way through their catalogue, stopping off at some surprising junctures.
With a stunning light show and big screen projections augmenting throughout, the driving ‘Quartz’ and emotive ‘Real Tears For Sale’ were brought to life visually; with the latter proving particularly moving as images of both a young, and older Sinead O’Connor complimented the musical performance.
With a rare outing for ‘Season’s End’, as the show progressed, it was clear that this was going to be a radically different set to the earlier ‘F.E.A.R.’ shows of the past year and a half. Speaking about the first night nerves, Hogarth offered; “What we thought we’d do because this is the first night, is we’d experiment”, adding; “If the thing flies we'll leave it as it is. Is it flying?”
Of course it wasn’t all about the oldies, and as the standing ovation following an exhilarating ‘The Leavers’ proved, the band’s fans were as invested in the newer Mariliion material as that of the past.
However, there was one moment that both band, and fans had been waiting for; the song that Hogarth had written especially for the city and people of Belfast. Prefacing ‘Easter’, the singer said humbly; “If we may, we would like to play a song we wrote for your city, and we’d be very grateful if you possibly can sing along.” He didn’t need to ask twice, and as the entire Ulster Hall was filled with voices proclaiming; “Easter hear again, a time for the blind to see”, it was a true coming together for band and fans. Taking their bows, H proclaimed; “Thank you, Belfast. It’s an honour to sing that song here”.
Closing after a second encore with the illuminating ‘El Dorado’, the night proved a victory lap, celebrating both the recent triumphs of the top-ten ‘F.E.A.R.’ album and sell-out Royal Albert Hall show, as well as their thirty year tenure.
Click HERE to read our report from the Royal Albert Hall show.
Marillion’s U.K. and Ireland jaunt continues on Monday night, with a stop off ad Dublin’s Vicar Street. For a full list of dates, see below.
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Marillion 2018 UK Tour Dates:
Mon 9th April - Dublin, Vicar Street
Wed 11th April - Gateshead, The Sage
Fri 13th April - Cambridge, Corn Exchange
Sat 14th April - Birmingham, Symphony Hall
Mon 16th April - Brighton, Dome
Tue 17th April - Bristol, Colston Hall
Thu 19th April - Reading, Hexagon
Fri 20th April - Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall
Sun 22nd April - York, Barbican
Check out our gallery from the show below. All photos by Darren McLoughlin. Click on the image to enlarge.