Marillion at the Royal Albert Hall
British band Marillion rocked the gloriously decadent, sold-out Royal Albert Hall in London on their live 2017 tour promoting their 2016 FEAR album. The five-member, genre-defying prog-rock-pop group played in front of a massive screen with surreal visuals projected throughout the set to a sea of the bobbing heads of mainly middle-aged husband and wife duos. Spectacular lead vocalist Steve Hogarth transcended styles with his unique Billie Joe Armstrong-esque voice, and each thought-provoking song contained fragments of different types of music.
The spotlights pulsated in proportion to the ever-evolving tracks, with people adorned in black tour shirts and rainbow leis illuminated in a kaleidoscope of lights, waving hands in time to the beat of the emotionally charged, politically fuelled set. Living in FEAR, a hit from their latest album, felt especially relevant to today’s world. Hogarth’s vulnerably fragile yet powerful voice propelled lyrics like “We’ve decided to risk melting our guns as a show of strength”. The group – joined by a small symphony after the intermission – was loud enough to grip the audience’s attention and feel sharp against their ears, but not deafening to the point many rock bands inevitably reach where the music is so loud it’s almost inaudible. Transitions between songs were so smooth, if one wasn’t familiar with Marillion’s music, it would be nearly impossible to know where one tune ends and another begins. Similarly, each bop transitioned between classic rock, prog, neo-punk, pop, and acoustic melodrama within itself, which, in conjunction with the stunning visuals, created a cinematic feel.
Hogarth is beyond talented, although his goofy, endearing, and awkward hand motions betrayed his humility. Bandmates Steve Rothery and Pete Trewavas shone with killer solos, while drummer Ian Mosley and keyboardist Mark Kelly expertly maintained the groove, despite the audience’s enthusiastic but failed attempts at clapping on beat. Marillion played hits such as White Paper and We Are the New Kings. Paper reminded the crowd that Hogarth injects so much emotion into his singing that he could bellow in a completely different language and still be understood, and the venue glowed black-and-white alongside the noir imagery on the screen. Kings is one of those tracks that every band aspires to have: an unforgettable piece of art that capture the anti-capitalist spirit of many alternative music connoisseurs. Marillion really came together in this number, realising their full potential.
An eclectic group of musicians known as Marillion lit up the Royal Albert Hall brighter than their strobe lights ever could and with that, combined with the audience, the night of Friday the 13th became something more eerily incredible than ever imaginable.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
For further information and future events visit the Marillion website here.
Listen to The New Kings here: