CD Review: Marillion - A Sunday Night Above The Rain

Legendary prog-rockers return with a new live set.
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During their long career, Marillion has amassed a very devoted fan base. So much so that twice a year, there is a Marillion Weekend with this one taking place at Center Parcs in Port Zelande, Netherlands. In a March 2013 performance, fans from 44 different countries got to witness the band perform its latest album, Sounds That Can't Be Made, in its entirety, as well as a number of classic cuts. That performance makes up the groups latest live offering, A Sunday Night Above The Rain.

The show opens with "Gaza," from the Sounds That Can't Be Made album. One can sense the crowd's anticipation as they are clapping along during the song's moody intro and their enthusiasm only builds as the song launches into its powerful riff. Mixing atmospheric keyboards over Middle Eastern themes, heavy guitars and a melodic chorus, the song is a challenging, yet potent opener.

"Waiting To Happen," from 1991's Holidays In Eden, follows. A power ballad with a heartfelt vocal from Steve Hogarth and equally potent vocals from the crowd, the song shows the band isn't just about 20-minute epic prog-rock tracks. The chiming intro to "Lucky Man" signals a return to the new album and the song mixes Beatlesque elements with a harder-edged chorus.

The band slows down the pace on "Pour My Love," a pleasant, if mellow, piano ballad with an understated vocal from Hogarth. The song's choruses are drenched in keyboard orchestration, giving a dreamy feel to the track. A potent "Neverland" follows, with some killer melodic guitar work from Steve Rothery.

The regular set closes with a pretty "The Sky Above The Rain," with Hogarth delivering a gentle vocal over the song's lush backdrop. "Garden Party," from the band's debut album, Script For A Jester's Tear, brings a raucous close to the proceedings. The crowd sings along enthusiastically to this somewhat Genesis-influenced, keyboard-driven track.

Three decades in, Marillion still delivers live and on record with a passionate fan base to show for it. A Sunday Night Above The Rain shows a band at the height of its prog-rock powers.