“Marillion: Somewhere in London” DVD Review

4 stars (out of 5)

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Marillion Live in London DVD 2007The problem with concert DVDs is that they never really compare with the ‘real thing’. And if you’ve ever seen Marillion live, you’ll know where I’m coming from. I caught them (and they caught me) on their ‘Snowhere Else’ tour just a month or so ago (see the earlier review on this site). This DVD arrived on my doorstep for me to review just a few days later.

I tried, I really did, but I couldn’t do it. The screen just looked like a screen with some colours and sound added, and I had to switch it off before the end of the first track. I cherished my last memory of Marillion, almost like a close friend who had died – and I didn’t want it sullied by some flat electronic signals dancing on a lifeless silver box.

So now, after much urging from the webmaster (is that what you call those people who run websites?), I’ve revisited it. A bit late, maybe, but at least now I can do it some justice…

Recorded at the Forum in London last summer, this film captures the band on top form. It kicks off with the dramatic ‘Splintering Heart’, with vocalist Steve Hogarth delivering a powerful performance – and just gets better as the bond between the musicians and audience develops.

It showcases several tracks from their latest album, ‘Somewhere Else’, and the live performances add a whole new dimension to songs such as ‘The Wound’ and ‘A Voice From the Past’.

Guitarist Steve Rothery pulls off some truly gorgeous solos, and Pete Trewavas (bass), Mark Kelly (keyboards) and Ian Mosely (drums) all have an opportunity to shine, which they duly do. But it’s Hogarth who’s the real star of the show. He almost glows with undeniable charisma and has a commanding stage presence, and – more so than his predecessor – he has a voice to match.

The filming, directing and editing by Tim Sidwell are all excellent and the use of two smooth camera jibs almost fool you into believing this is a high-budget production. But then it’s difficult to go wrong when you’re dealing with a show of this standard.

The extras are also all worth a look (and a listen), particularly the awesome ‘Ocean Cloud’ and ‘Estonia’ and a cover version of ‘Sugar Mice’, originally performed by a band with a remarkably similar name (sic). Mike Hunter’s sumptuous 5.1 mixes of four tracks are also great, if you have the kit to listen to them.

All in all, it’s a great package. Although it will never match actually being there. Or Somewhere Else.