When Marillion originally announced The Light at the End of the Tunnel tour a real live in-person gig still seemed a long way off and all we could do was hope for the best. Thankfully, the second half of 2021 has seen the live music industry (at least in the UK) start to recover and nights like this can be experienced once again. Not that anyone was taking anything for granted of course, least of all the band themselves. A call to arms to their devoted fanbase resulted in the costs being underwritten should the tour have to be cancelled, in exchange for various Marillion goodies and with monies refunded should all go as planned.
This was their third appearance at Symphony Hall, the others being in 2018 and 2019, and they really are a band that deserve to be heard in venues such as this with its near perfect acoustics and wonderful opulence. With their twentieth studio album, An Hour Before It’s Dark, not scheduled for release until 2022, the current setlist finds the band dropping the needle at various points from across the last thirty-odd years, kicking off with ‘Sounds That Can’t Be Made’, the purposeful title track from 2012. Enjoying something of a unique position amongst artists with long back catalogues, there is no one song that Marillion feel they simply must play every night. They can be assured their audience will be with them whether they roll out deeper cuts such as ‘Splintering Heart’ and ‘The Release’ as they are on show-stopping moments ‘Afraid of Sunlight’ and ‘Neverland’.
Not only does he remain in superb voice but Steve Hogarth is as quirky and unconventional as ever; using his guitar as little more than a prop during ‘King’ and fidgeting relentlessly through ‘The Leavers’, truly a front man that has the crowd hanging on his every word, nod and grin. He promises us that the upcoming album is “cracking” and on the evidence of the stirring ‘Be Hard on Yourself’ no one doubts him. A celebratory ‘Made Again’ closes the two hour show and Marillion have proven once again that they remain firmly at the top of their game. Simply sensational.
Sounds That Can’t Be Made
Living With the Big Lie
Be Hard On Yourself
Afraid of Sunlight
The Leavers: I. Wake Up in Music
The Leavers: II. The Remainers
The Leavers: III. Vapour Trails in the Sky
The Leavers: IV. The Jumble of Days
The Leavers: V. One Tonight