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Music DVD Review: Marillion – Out Of Season

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I check in on Marillion’s website every so often, and last fall I noticed this intriguing new concert DVD being promoted. As far as I can tell, their website is the only place where you can purchase it from, which is a shame since most of their other DVDs are also available from places like Amazon.com. It was a bit expensive after converting the British Pounds price to U.S. dollars, but considering that this is a three-DVD deluxe box set, exploding with nearly seven hours worth of live music, it was well worth the price. It also didn’t hurt that my British in-laws bought it for me for my birthday.

Out Of Season was recorded over three nights, 20-22 March, during the Marillion Weekend 2009 convention. Marillion is one of the most fan-connected bands in the business and, in return, their fans are amongst the most loyal. Marillion’s most recent albums have been completely fan-funded via special-edition, pre-orders, and their US fans have even gone as far as to sponsor an entire US tour. Their annual Marillion Weekend conventions, which they started back in 2002, are the essence of this intimate fan relationship, featuring a completely unique setlist during each of the three nights, some of which are voted on by the fans.

Disc 1 includes the entire Friday night show, which featured an entire performance of their acclaimed 1989 Seasons End album, which was the first album to feature new lead vocalist Steve Hogarth, after Fish quit the band the previous year. They even throw in the two bonus tracks, “The Release,” and “The Bell In The Sea,” that were included on the special edition of this album, for good measure. This was one of Marillion’s most important albums in that it introduced their new frontman to the world, and assured fans that the band was in excellent hands with Mr. Hogarth. Seasons End is one of Marillion’s best albums, and it was a real pleasure the see the entire thing performed live. They closed out the show with five tracks from their most recent Happiness Is The Road double CD.

Disc 2 includes the entire Saturday night show, where they performed a chronological overview of their entire career, performing one song from each year between 2008 and 1990, before finishing the show off with “Slainte Mhath” from 1987’s Fish-led Clutching at Straws, and “Garden Party” from their 1983 debut album, Script For A Jesters Tear. At the start of each song they would display the year the song was written on the two big screens flanking each side of the stage. I can only assume it was the year the song was written, because many of them didn’t match the year the song/album was released. This disc provides an excellent career overview along with the chance to see a few rarely performed live songs. The audio from this concert is also available on the band’s Racket Records CD Tumbling Down The Years.

Disc 3 includes the entire Sunday night show, which featured many of the band’s longest and proggiest songs, and this one was definitely the biggest treat for me. They began the show with a stunning performance of “A Few Words For The Dead,” from 1988’s Radiation album, and then held me captivated for the next two hours. Anoraknophobia‘s “This Is The 21st Century” has never sounded more epic, building from a melancholy, electronic drum-driven dreamscape, up to a propulsive climax guided by the magnificent lead guitar work of Steve Rothery. Anoraknophobia fans are also going to be tickled pink to see a killer performance of the quirky rocker “If My Heart Were A Ball It Would Roll Uphill” unleashed here too.

Speaking of quirky songs, this may be the only place you will ever get to witness the jazzy Marillion.com track “Interior Lulu” played live. They really went for broke with this strange number, and when it ends 15 minutes later you’ll probably find yourself mumbling, “wow!,” and “what the hell was that?,” all in the same breath. Old-school Marillion fans will be pleased to find a medley of the Misplaced Childhood gems, “Kayleigh,” “Lavender,” and “Heart of Lothian,” although Hogarth’s vocal style doesn’t really suite these Fish-era classics all that well. If you happened to read my Marbles On The Road DVD review, you will know what a big fan I am of that album, and the three standout Marbles’ tracks they perform this night, “Ocean Cloud,” “The Invisible Man,” and “Neverland,” really put this disk over the top. The audio from this night is also available on their Racket Records CD Size Matters.

Out Of Season was filmed by the same crew that did their Somewhere In London concert DVD, and the results are just as impressive. Director/Editor Tim Sidwell had 14 cameras at his disposal and he does an excellent job presenting these three amazing Marillion shows. The picture was certainly not reference quality, but the vast array of colors unleashed during the band’s magnificent light show were presented beautifully. The DTS soundtrack provided a well balanced mix and made excellent use of the rear surround speakers. The PCM stereo track was also superb.

Everything is nicely packaged in a quad-fold digipak with slip case, and a six-page color booklet. The only special feature included was a short “Postcard From PZ” which takes you behind the scenes of the Marillion Weekend 2009 at Port Zelande, The Netherlands. For those of us who were not fortunate enough to be at one of these amazing events, the Out of Season DVD is certainly the next best thing to being there.

Set Lists:
Disc 1:
01. The King Of Sunset Town
02. Easter
03. The Uninvited Guest
04. Seasons End
05. Holloway Girl
06. Berlin
07. After Me
08. Hooks In You
09. The Space…
10. The Release
11. The Bell In The Sea
12. The Man From The Planet Marzipan
13. Essence
14. Asylum Satellite #1
15. Whatever Is Wrong With You
16. Happiness Is The Road

Disc 2:
01. This Train Is My Life
02. Somewhere Else
03. Real Tears For Sale
04. A State Of Mind

05. The Damage
06. Genie
07. Drilling Holes
08. When I Meet God
09. Map Of The World
10. A Legacy
11. Cathedral Wall
12. Estonia
13. An Accidental Man
14. Out Of This World
15. The Lap Of Luxury
16. Hard As Love
17. No One Can
18. The Party
19. Cover My Eyes
20. Slainte Mhath
21. Garden Party

Disc 3:
01. A Few Words For The Dead
02. This Town/The Rakes Progress/100 Nights
03. This Is The 21st Century
04. Ocean Cloud
05. If My Heart Were A Ball It Would Roll Uphill
06. Interior Lulu
07. Kayleigh/ Lavender/Heart of Lothian
08. The Invisible Man
09. This Strange Engine
10. Neverland

Performance – 8/10
Production – 9/10

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