Marillion
October 27th, 1997
Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
By Bart Jan van der Vorst


Band of a 1000 gigs

Due to the cold and the day being a normal (working, for some) Monday we decided not to go to the Paradiso too early. Little did we know that the people who *were* there early got a chance to attend the soundcheck.:-(

At 8.30 John Wesley started playing. Although I thought he sang some beautiful songs, the music just didn't seem to work live. I could imagine listening to his music late at night, lights low, etc. However, *not* at a rock-concert. A lot of people thought about it the same way, because virtually almost *everybody* was talking during his performance. You could see John was very upset by this and he asked the crowd to shut up twice. After his performance he thanked the people that had the courtesy to stay quiet during the performance. Altogether not a good start for a gig that was meant to become the "best" of the tour.

At 9.20 Marillion entered the stage and they kicked off with.... Brave!! Speaking of brave openings. After John's performance I had already started fearing a second Melkweg experience, where the noise at the bar was almost louder than H, during his solo tour last February.
The crowd however shut up immediately after H started to sing and did not make a single sound until the last note of the second song, Great Escape, had faded.

The day before, Mark had told us that somewhere around this time the band would have it's 1000th gig. The band had decided to call this gig the 1000th Marillion gig and that, combined with this gig being the last of the tour, would promise a tremendous party. When H started to sing Brave, I saw my hope for a brilliant party dissolve almost immediately, because H's voice was in a really bad shape. I feared that the band would have to keep the show short, like they had done at the previous gig in Holland, in Tivoli. H however, had no intentions to save his voice at all, and as soon as he had told the crowd that about this gig being the band's thousandth, all hell broke lose.
Well, almost, because the set contained so many easy/mellow songs in the first part, that it was difficult for the crowd to really party.

The band had a great time however, fooling around with eachother and the crew constantly. The band was introduced as Steve Rothery, Ian Rothery, Mark Rothery and... Pete Rothery.

80 Days was dedicated to us, the fans.

Estonia was introduced as the "song which requires a little help" and John Wesley would play the acoustic guitar during the choruses. During the last chorus, two other roadies came on stage, both holding acoustic guitars and pretending to be playing them. This was absolutely hilarious and H could hardly continue singing without laughing. Not the best song for fooling around, but it was simply hilarious, seeing the four guitarists swinging their guitars up and down.
After the song H thanked "All the additional John Wesleys"

The day before, Mark had told us some things about the problems with the electricity the band had had in France. It was sort of inside joke to blame this on the French fuses. I guess there was one more french fuse stuck in his keyboard stack, because they broke down during the intro of the next song, One fine Day, which became an ultra-ultra short version :-)
Mark had to reload all the samples, so he couldn't play for at least 7 or 8 minutes. Pete, Ian and the two Steves picked up a Beatles cover, Act Naturally. After just one verse Ian pulled it off and Pete started playing the acoustic (bass-only) version of Bell in the Sea.

After the Bell the band played One Fine Day, this time a bit longer :-)
When Marillion played this song during the Tivoli gig in May, someone told me he had seen a roadie playing keyboards as well, carefully hidden behind Mark's stack. I did not believe this at the time, but this time, during the string part of the song, the roadie came standing next to Mark, with a portable keyboard, wearing a similar type of shirt and playing some of the string-sounds as well. I though it was really funny, but Mark didn't even seem to notice!

The technical problems seemed to have perched on Pete now. During the first verse of Man of a Thousand Faces the transmitter of Pete's bass broke down. Roadies came from everywhere and plugs were put in and out to get the sound back, after the piano-solo the bass-sound was back and the H started singing the first verse again. This resulted in a pretty extended version of 1000 Faces, which not many people even seem to notice. The bass-problems however, stayed.

After 1000 Faces H and Mark started fooling around, playing some carnival-music, which was absolutely hilarious. Easter was played afterwards, dedicated by Steve H to himself. Easter was mainly sung by the audience, with H just sitting there behind his keyboard, enjoying every single moment of it.

During the final part Pete's bass stopped producing sound completely, a second receiver had already been placed on, but it didn't work either and Pete got so upset that he threw his bass to the back and left stage. He was professional enough to come back and sing the backing vocals (Forgive, Forget etc) which was really sweet to see him standing there, without a bass, hands behind his back, singing like a choir-boy. H came standing next to him and together they finished the song.
At the end of the song his transmitter was replaced for the good old cord, which worked, but restricted Pete's movements to only the left hand side of the stage.

After the song had finished H said something to Steve Rothery who immediately started playing the notes of the final part of Easter again and H started singing again. The rest of the band joined in, but they al played it very quiet and mellow, so that the bass-guitar actually had the lead. They played a reprise of Easter for about 2 minutes.

The band enjoying themselves now, the crowd coming a bit loose and all the equipment finally working: All the ingredients for a *real* party. This Town kicked in and yes, the crowd even started moving. During a very extended Rakes Progress Ian gave a drum-solo and Mark demonstrated the full capabilities of his mini-Moog. All with the help of his technician, who kept on pressing buttons on the stack itself.

100 Nights was beautiful as ever. H had his hand full of a sort of silver glitter, which he threw in the air at some point during the song. I guess he had done this every night during the last part of the tour, because the two roadies in the back threw self-made paper balls at H at the very same time.
The first part of the set ended with a majestous version of King.

The first encore was This Strange Engine. Pete said a little prayer before he started his (pretty short this time) bass-solo. When the bass-line of the song had started, and the band had joined in, H fooled around a bit with his cricket-bat. The roadies and the audience threw the paper balls at H, while he tried to hit them with the crickett-bat (unsuccessful). With a loud cheer of the crowd Mark's keyboard-tech came on stage to throw a ball at H and this time he hit it. H also let the people in the audience play some tones on his modified bat. The whole turned into a very intimate atmospheric happening, which could have gone on and on. H smiled at one point and said "This is great..." and went on for a little while.
When the song "finally" started it was as if all problems of the night had been forgotton and they played an absolutely stunning version of the song. Before the finale H introduced the bandmembers who all gave a little solo. The band continued jamming and fooling around and H started singing a sort of reggae version of The Space (which was dropped of the set because of H's voice) after that I heard excerpts of One Love (Bob Marley), Spirits in a Material World (Police), Running up that Hill (Kate Bush) and a song I can't remember the name of. (Could also have been the second verse of Spirits) Then he sang a sort of complete TSE medley, including bits and pieces of 1000 faces, 80 Days and One Fine Day. Then the band played the ending of TSE, H really destroying his voice now. The band finished the song a little earlier than H expected, for he wasn't finished singing yet. Which resulted in an astonishing unaccompanied "Thiiiisss Trueeeeeeueeeeueeee".
Altogether this version must have lasted some 23 minutes or so. Absolutely brilliant.

The band came back for a second encore, which started of with Freaks. Even though the Dutch fan club changed its name 6 years ago, this is still 'our' song. Just great.
Cover my Eyes was played afterwards, I guess this song has been thrown in because people started singing it earlier during the gig. The second encore was called "TBA" on the setlist by the way, it could have been anything. They finished with a superb version of Garden Party. During the band introductions during TSE H had forgotten to introduce Pete. I guess Pete had said something about that to H, backstage, because H kept on introducing Pete during the "They say" and "Again" parts of Garden Party, yelling: "What's his name?" And the crowd: "Pete Trewavas!!!" "What's his name??" "PETE TREWAVAS!!!" "What's his name???" "PEEEETE TREWAVAS!!!!!"

Instead of climbing up the speakers H decided to climb all the way up to the balcony, singing the final part of the song while standing between the audience, which was a really cool sight. The way down was a bit more difficult, but with the help of John Wesley and Erik Nielsen, Mark's technician he came down safely.
The band kept on playing until H had finished his descent and during this bit Mark found even more sounds in his Moog, which continued to echo for about two more minutes after the song had ended.

And then it was really over. Too bad the Dutch audiences are so polite that they shut up immediately after a gig and leave for the exit or the bar, for I am sure that if we would have screamed hard enough they would have come back.

All together one hell of a gig. Marillion just never stops to amaze me. The technical problems made it actually even more special.
Because I moved to Scotland recently there won't be many of my Dutch friends coming to my birthday this year. Therefore my birthday was celebrated on the day of the gig, complete with songs, cake, candles, presents and Steve Rothery and Pete Trewaves signing my birthday card.

No invitation for the after-party though, unlike some (erm, a lot) lucky others :-(

Setlist:

Brave
The Great Escape
Alone Again In The Lap Of Luxury
80 Days
Warm Wet Circles
That Time Of The Night
Estonia
One Fine Day (ultra short version - equipment breakdown)
Act Naturally (acoustic)
The Bell In The Sea (acoustic)
One Fine Day
Man Of A Thousand Faces
Jam Between Mark and H
Easter
Easter (Reprise)
This Town
The Rakes Progress
100 Nights
Slàinte Mhath
King
---
This Strange Engine
(With excerpts of:
The Space
One Love (Bob Marley)
Spirits in a Material World (Police)
Running Up That Hill) (Kate Bush)
Man of 1000 Faces
80 Days and more...)
---
Freaks
Cover My Eyes
Garden Party

 

 

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