Chas Cronk may best be known as the long-term bassist for the Strawbs. He was initially with the band between 1973 -1980, after which he worked with Steve Hackett and Rick Wakeman before forming his own group Cry No More, upon the dissolution of which he re-joined the Strawbs, where he has remained ever since.
‘Liberty’ is his second solo album after ‘Mystic Mountain Music’ in 2002 and his album with Dave Lambert, ‘Touch The Earth’, in 2007.
Reviewing this album is different in that it has no noticeable progressive tendencies and, whilst that may be true, what is also noticeable is just what a fabulous album of songs this is. The album is mostly self-penned and performed by Chas with help from Dave Lambert on the track A Splash Of Blue, Dave Bainbridge on SlippingDownstream and also Major Baldini, who provides drums for the title track. Everything else is handled by Chas who also produces the album. It’s not a particularly long album as it was originally going to be an EP but Dave enjoyed the task so much that he decided to keep going and make a full album of songs.
The album opens with the title track, Liberty, which is a quite jangly, guitar led song. This actually reminds me of Rush for some reason, maybe it’s the jangle in the guitar? It’s is quite a strident track with a short but well constructed solo appearing after the second chorus. I really like this song it has good drive and dynamics to it. Next we have Take My Hand which opens with keyboard sounds and a bubbling bass line over some dancing keyboard lines. The song has a great vocal from Chas with everything again being underpinned by the bass and features another brief but elegant solo. This album grows on you as being a really fine set of songs and performances. It is simply a highly enjoyable and rewarding listening experience to have, nothing earth shattering but certainly very worthy indeed.
A Splash Of Blue has his Strawbs bandmate Dave Lambert on guitar and he contributes a fine solo. Everybody Knows is a well produced epic piece with good vocals. The song is about surviving the storms of life and how love can set you free, and that the beauty of the world can open our hearts to joy and to love, simple but powerful sentiments. Flying Free is an acoustically led instrumental. A brief but great little track with good keyboard backing to make it very memorable.
Into The Light opens ‘side two’ of the album and has a good back beat on the drums along with a neat bass line pulling the song along. It’s a mid-paced song but quite muscular in tone, with a good guitar synthesiser line floating over the top. Again, this song has something special to it, a good guitar break certainly helps and makes an impression making it another fabulous, well constructed and performed track. Slipping Downstream features fellow Strawbs’ man Dave Bainbridge whose guitar adds much colour to this song, he plays really beautifully on this track with a glorious floating guitar line, especially when he takes said guitar line up a key. Dave is well supported by the keyboards and Chas’s Bass line. This is really a spectacular track and Dave certainly let’s rip well here to form a strong impression. Away follows and this is yet another impressive track. The song has a strong melody, even if I can’t detect what it is on about really, and has a good sound and great dynamics. The whole album is a sequence of strong, intelligent and articulate tracks that, when taken together, are very life affirming. System Overload is a familiar sounding song but I can’t quite put my finger on who it reminds me of but it sure sounds good to these ears. This is a good penultimate track before the instrumental of Reverie brings the album to a close. With its deep keyboard sounds and washes and its ethereal voices and gentle piano tones, it winds the album down to a close perfectly.
‘Liberty’ is a well constructed and produced, and superbly performed, set of songs for which we can all be glad and all can appreciate. I really enjoyed this short album as there is much to enjoy and I certainly will be returning to it frequently as it is an unexpected lockdown derived delight.
Karisma Records has announced that the 11th November will be the release date for the third full-length album from Norway’s Progressive Pop/Rockers OAK. Titled “The Quiet Rebellion of Compromise”, it is an album in which the band has decided to write about the important, but controversial , subjects of suicide in particular and mental health in general.
Knowing that music as an art form is very open to interpretation, and knowing how emotive the subject matter is, OAK wanted to be sure that the message comes across clearly, and consequently sought advice from experienced scholars on the matter.
And, with the release of the single “Dreamless Sleep”, Karisma Records has given us a first taste from “The Quiet Rebellion of Compromise”. It can be downloaded or streamed from a variety of services at:
OAK originated as a folk-rock duo, which expanded into today’s lineup of Simen Valldal Johannessen on vocals, piano and keys, Øystein Sootholtet on bass, acoustic and electric guitars, Sigbjørn Reiakvam on drums, percussion, programming, keys and guitars, and Stephan Hvinden on lead, rhythm and slide guitars. The fact that OAK’s members come from diverse backgrounds, which range from classical piano, to electronica, to prog and hard rock, with references to both the alternative scene as well as the progressive rock scene, has allowed OAK to create a unique sound.
Musically, OAK’s upcoming “The Quiet Rebellion of Compromise” is the band’s most dynamic album yet, demonstrating a wide range of influences. There are some sharper edges, and some surprising twists and turns to be found amongst the familiar Oak territory. Interestingly, after the release of their previous album “False Memory Archive”, the band set out to write some shorter songs for a change – and ended up with their longest songs yet!
“The Quiet Rebellion of Compromise” was recorded in Ljugekroken and was mixed at the Ghostward Studio by David Castillo (KATATONIA, LEPROUS OPETH, etc.). It was mastered by Tony Lindgren at the Fascination Street Studio, and, as with their other albums, “The Quiet Rebellion of Compromise” offers subtle hints to both past and future songs in the Oak universe.
Tracklisting on “The Quiet Rebellion of Compromise” is as follows:
1. Highest Tower, Deepest Well
2. Quiet Rebellion
3. Dreamless Sleep
4. Sunday 8 AM
5. Demagogue Communion
7. Guest of Honour
“The Quiet Rebellion of Compromise” will be available in CD, Digital and Limited Edition white vinyl formats, and can now be pre-ordered from:
Progressive rockers, Haken, are excited to announce a 2023 European co-headline tour with Between The Buried & Me, including support from Cryptodira. The ‘Island In Limbo’ tour will begin on the 21st February 2023, and will be the bands first European run since December 2019.
Ross Jennings comments: “After three years away, and two cancelled tours due to the pandemic, our return to the European stage is going to feel very powerful indeed. We’ve missed all those familiar faces in the audience, and can’t wait to welcome all the new fans to be part of the Haken live experience, too!
With new material imminent, and a bunch of songs from ‘Virus’ still not performed live, we’re super excited to put the set list together for this run.
We are also ecstatic to reunite with our dear friends and progressive metal cohorts, ‘Between the Buried and Me’ as our co-headliners.
The tour stops at some of our bucket list venues, including London’s ‘Shepherd’s Bush Empire’, which is set to be our biggest London show to date! What could be better than celebrating our musical journey so far at the ultimate homecoming venue?!”
Tickets are on sale now (Scandinavia goes on sales tomorrow) and the full list of dates can be found below:
21st February – Gruenspan, Hamburg, Germany
22nd February – Werk 2-Kulturfabrik, Leipzig, Germany
23rd February – Heimathafen Neukölln, Berlin, Germany
24th February – Proxima, Warsaw, Poland
25th February – Palac Arkopolis, Prague, Czech Republic
26th February – Simm City, Vienna, Austria
28th February – Dürer Kert, Budapest, Hungary
1st March – Freiheitshalle, Munich, Germany
2nd March – Stadtmitte, Karlsruhe, Germany
3rd March – Kiff Saal, Aarau, Switzerland
4th March – New Age, Milan, Italy
6th March – Ninkasi Kao, Lyon, France
8th March – Razzmatazz 2, Barcelona, Spain
9th March – Mon, Madrid, Spain
10th March – Garaje, Murcia, Spain
11th March – Custom, Seville, Spain
12th March – Lisboa Ao Vivo, Lisbon, Portugal
13th March – Hard Club, Porto, Portugal
15th March – Connexion Live, Toulouse, France
16th March – Ferrailleur, Nantes, France
17th March – Alhambra, Paris, France
19th March – Rockhal, Esch-Sur-Alzette, Luxembourg
20th March – Bürgerhaus Stollwerck, Cologne, Germany
21st March – Trix Club, Antwerp, Belgium
22nd March – 013 Poppodium, Tilburg, Netherlands
23rd March – SWX , Bristol, England
24th March – Academy 2, Manchester, England
25th March – The Garage, Glasgow, Scotland
26th March – 02 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, England
28th March – Voxhall, Aarhus, Denmark
29th March – Rockefeller, Oslo, Norway
30th March – Pumpehuset Kransal, Copenhagen, Denmark
31st March – Fryshuset Klubben, Stockholm, Sweden
2nd April – Olympia-kortelli, Tampere, Finland
3rd April – Vanha Ylioppilastalo, Helsinki, Finland
The band recently completed the recording of their forthcoming new studio album, their first with keyboardist Pete Jones back in the band. You can listen to the recently released single, ‘Nightingale’, below:
The band comments: “Nightingale was the first track Pete Jones presented to the band after rejoining Haken this year. The initial song idea quickly inspired of the classic Haken sound and naturally evolved into some new harmonic territory. The song ranges from delicate moments to monstrous riffs.
We enlisted Jens Bogren to mix Nightingale and, as always, he’s blown us away by capturing every detail while delivering power and energy. We couldn’t be happier with the finished product.
Lyrically, the song reflects on the creative process itself; with a message that although it may be difficult of late, we must remember to be thankful for the positives in life; be they big or small.”
In March, the band announced the initial details of ‘Nightingale’, as well as held a competition for fans to submit their own original artwork for the forthcoming single. The winning artwork was chosen by the band themselves, from Belgium’s Rein Van Oyen.
‘Kintsugi’ is the brand new album from Cheshire’s John Holden and it is another masterful collection of tracks that together tells eight stories of hope and redemption in our troubled world. Once again, John and his co-writer and wife and partner Elizabeth have created some beautiful and sublime moments of music ranging from the epics, Achilles and Building Heaven, to the seemingly throwaway humorous Ringing The Changes, with its campanology references and use of bells.
John has continued his collaborative style with many of the prog world’s finest talents including Peter Jones, Mystery members Michel St-Père and Jean Pageau, Celestial Fire’sDave Bainbridge and Sally Minnear and regular collaborators JoePayne and Vikram Shankar. John himself plays keyboards, bass guitar and also adds percussion along with orchestrations and programming, while also handling both the artwork and the production of the album.
‘Kintsugi’ is a very skilled and lovingly crafted recording, it is always a pleasure to hear what John has created as both he and Elizabeth put everything into the albums and together they craft real musical magic. The album has two epics, several shorter pieces and a well crafted title track, there is also the continuation of High Line from the ‘Circles In Time’ album, a longer track about Brexit and xenophobia and there’s also a folk song that celebrates a trip to Peggy’s Cove at St Margaret’s Bay in Nova Scotia, Canada.cSo, all in all, a rather mixed bag but a bag chock full of gems and treasures.
The album opens with the tales of Achilles and his decision to pursue a brief yet spectacular life chasing eternal glory, its a sobering tale about striving for immortality and how our choices can affect those closest to us. The song passes through several stages including a battle sequence with Vikram Shankar applying his touch to proceedings, whilst predominantly a sad track, it is still a strong opening statement for the album. Ringing The Changes is completely different and the charming vocals of SallyMinnear really add much this excellent little number. This is a song about community and how odd eccentric people can come together to serve and support them. There’s a lovely piano from Vikram and some sweet and effective bell chimes throughout the song, it is, ultimately, a triumphant track. Kintsugi is a song about broken people being made whole and their brokenness becoming stronger. It is about accepting our flaws and receiving healing and wholeness, this is a Japanese concept and a very gentle and beautiful one that can really change people’s worldview and vision. The track feature some excellent violin and viola from Frank Van Essen and a masterful guitar break from Michel St-Père. It is a treasure of delicacy and beauty and is one of my favourites on this great album, utterly sublime.
Flying Train is about the elevated overhead railway that still exists in Wuppertal in Germany. This track would probably appeal to Big Big Train’sPassengers as it ploughs a similar furrow, combining history and music to great effect. This is a largely instrumental song that creates the wonder of a journey on these rails. Xenos talks of borders and how some have a fear and distrust of those that are different and do not accept them with openness. Sadly Brexit helped foster such opinions and weakened us as a nation, losing touch with and opposing tolerance and kindness. The passage of migrants is a thorny issue generally and one the we need a compassionate response to, which this song espouses. Against The Tide can be seen as being part two of the track High Line (from John’s last release, ‘Circles In Time’). The song has a similar west coast jazzy feel with a fabulous saxophone from PeterJones, whose vocals also really elevate this track. John’s bass is very busy on this song and it has a great swing and groove to it, another fabulous track.
Peggy’s Cove takes us to Nova Scotia with a Celtic sound and a great choir of Sally , Joe Payne, Peter Jones and Iain Hornal, who provide massed voices to this gentle number. Final track, Building Heaven, is about how we treat each other and uses the tale of Coventry Cathedral’s partial destruction by the Luftwaffe in 1940, and the decision not to rebuild but to incorporate the destroyed sections into something new, as a testament faith and building together to make something good from the bad. This song has air-raid siren effects and a stirring melody that runs throughout the song, along with a suitably epic guitar solo from Dave Bainbridge. This is an excellent finale to what is an adventurous and engaging album full of great songs, concepts and ideas.
The pandemic has certainly loosened its grip on the UK at last and we have seen a large number of gigs that had previously been postponed being rescheduled. This is definitely a good step and allows artists like Steve Hackett to be finally able to tour once again, albeit it in a slightly different way. This also allows venues to start making some long lost revenue at last. So it was that in September 2021 that Steve recorded his show at the O2 Apollo in Manchester for the latest souvenir of his current incarnation of the ‘Genesis Revisited’ story for his ever growing catalogue of friends and fans.
Steve has recorded each tour since 2013 from various venues and in different guises. We have seen these tours with a fairly consistent band, usually Steve himself alongside long time keyboardist and group orchestrator Roger King, saxophonist Rob Townsend, bassist Jonas Reingold and, vocalist for the last decade, Nad Sylvan. New drummer Craig Blundell has been a member since 2017. Steve is also joined by his sister in law Amanda Lehmann who provides extra guitar and vocals, most noticeably here on Held In The Shadows and and an epic version of Shadow Of TheHierophant.
As it had been nearly 2 years since last touring, the band were very excited to be treading the boards once again. In addition, the level of excitement in the audience was palpable. I caught the show earlier on in the tour in Stoke and I was highly impressed with the standard of the concert and the power and passion the band breathed into these sets.
This Manchester gig certainly captures that same energy superbly, the set is identical, the whole album bristles with electricity and the performances are all top notch. Steve always aims to put on a good show and I’ve yet to see one that disappoints, his team all perform flawlessly and you can certainly feel the joy of earning a crust once more.
During the pandemic Steve managed to both stay safe and also to complete his long awaited, and thoroughly excellent, autobiography (‘A Genesis In My Bed’), an acoustic album (‘Under A Mediterranean Sky’) and then his latest album ‘Surrender Of Silence’, songs from which appear in the short solo set performed as part of this show. Now, Steve knows that the majority of folks are there for the Genesis material, so he wisely chooses a short opening set that includes several of his own songs that are popular in their own right, namely Clocks – The Angel of Mons,Every Day and Shadow Of The Hierophant along with Held In The Shadows and The Devil’sCathedral, all of which are strong in their own right and show that Steve also continues to create great new music of his own.
Then, after a break, the band return for the main event, the performance of the entire 1977 Genesis‘Seconds Out’ album, recreated in Steve’s own inimitable style and by his own band and arrangements. The track listing replicates the album fully and the band certainly enhance that now slightly wooly sounding album by giving it a fresh and new, and yet still authentic, sound, but one that benefits from the technological advances made since it was recorded all those years ago.
Now you don’t need me to tell you just how important this album was to the Genesis canon, it was a very well received album, one that sought to capture the essence of both the Peter Gabriel years and also the Phil Collins era as was. It was monumentally important at the time, even if it did ultimately lead to Steve’s departure from the band as he felt his own songs were being sidelined and other parties resented his increasing solo success. Now, forty years on Steve has the opportunity to put that right and play the album in a manner that satisfies him.
It’s all here for you to enjoy once again, whether you want to play, compare and contrast the two versions is up to you, but, for me, I’ll choose to watch the live footage of a master playing his material to the highest standard and revelling in it. The set list tells the story fabulously, it’s all here in a powerhouse performance and pristine sound along with a great documentary and several videos from the ‘Surrender Of Silence’ album. With a total running time of three hours, this set is another opportunity to catch the maestro in full flow.
I have to say that a defining moment for me is when the lighting director ChrisCurran recreates the albums iconic cover to fabulous effect, especially when you consider that he does this using only the lights at his disposal and not with the huge mirrors and varilights that Genesis had to work with. It’s this attention to detail and the sheer skill of Steve’s crew that really make this show so very special.
‘The Years Roll By’ is the first of two music videos from the band’s new concept album.
The Years Roll By is the opening track on Glass Hammer’s At The Gate concept album —set for release on October 7th, 2022.
Bandleader Steve Babb said the following about the new album: “At The Gate completes our sword and sorcery inspired trilogy that began with 2020s Dreaming City. We followed that up with last year’s Skallagrim—Into The Breach.”
For the uninitiated, he went on to explain. “It’s the story of a scarred and battered thief, Skallagrim, who’s had his memory stolen along with the love of his life. He’s got to fight unimaginable horrors and slay hideous creatures and sorcerous villains if he’s ever to reclaim either. Finally, at the end of the last album, his memory is returned, but he finds himself cursed to wait one thousand years for a chance to find his lost love! At The Gate picks up at the end of his tale as he prepares to face the ultimate challenge of his life—to finally rescue his girl and defeat the evil being who has imprisoned her.
“Of course, as with any Glass Hammer concept album, there is more to it than a simple plot. On the surface, it appears to be about magic swords and heroes, but it’s actually a story about confronting evil, how to survive it, and how to face despair and heartache.
And most importantly, it’s about why the pursuit of profound and lasting joy in an often joyless world is worthwhile, even when all available evidence suggests it cannot be found.”
Babb says he chose to open the album with a ballad. “…something ethereal, something reminiscent of what our fans call classic Glass Hammer. The Years Roll By fits the bill, I think. Of course, there’ll be plenty of metal and prog on the new album. The next music video I plan to release hits really hard!”
Watch the video here:
Autographed copies of At The Gate are available for pre-order on the Glass Hammer Store website. www.glasshammer.com
There is an old and unfair joke that when you get three Welshmen together that they form a choir, very untrue as here we have four Welsh musicians who have together formed a new progressive rock band! The four are Andy Edwards on guitars and vocals, Rob Griffiths on drums and percussion, Dave Rowe on bass and vocals and finally Rob Wilsher on keyboards. The four come from a wide prog background with Andy involved with Magenta and Cyan, Rob Wilsher with Multi–Story,RobGriffiths with EZRA V and Dave having been gigging for over 30 years, playing with countless big names in that time.
This project is a little different in that the four came together to work on some new ideas and found that they were so inspired that they formed a band. The idea is to write strong material together and then take it out on the road and play some gigs. This gained traction with interest from White Knight Records who have released the quartet’s debut release, ‘All Secrets Known’, which is a fine release for these times. The four bring much experience and skill to these songs, the album has a good mixture of long and shorter tracks in various styles, all with a great sound and some epic musical passages.
The albums kicks off in epic style with the lengthy, near ten minute title track, All Secrets Known (which also features Les Penning as the voice of God), with its tale of how knowledge was transmitted to earth through the minds of the ancient Egyptians who translated this into physical form to create the mighty temple of Ra. The song opens with keyboards before a fine guitar line is introduced from Andy Edwards alongside vocals in which he is singing about knowledge, the pursuit of and the benefits of the same. The song has a strong sci-fi theme to it but it is the epic music that really takes this song to new heights. There is a fabulous and rather muscular guitar part about half way in that elevates the track into something very special indeed. This is followed by some fabulous keyboard sounds and textures to make a most impressive opening statement. Nothing Comes Too Easy follows and this hinges on a very strong bass line that holds it all together well. The song talks of how less is always more and that life is a journey not a destination path, which is of course very true and such realisation can help one make both some sense of life and also enable us to enjoy the journey that we are each taking. This is a very positive song all told and the music is equally as enjoyable with fine guitar lines threaded throughout its six minute running time.
Freedom has an interesting opening sequence before a magnificent guitar part takes over with a fluid line and some funky riffing. There is a chorus of “Freedom” in all of this although the songs meaning is a little unclear to me although another great guitar solo and some epic keyboards again make for another strong track. Will WeEver Know is another longer track clocking in at eight and a half minutes and features a strong chorus and lots of spacey type sounds, along with some epic guitar riffing. This one can stand proud, it has touches of Hawkwind contained in its sounds and wouldn’t feel out of place on those early Hawkwind albums due to the epic sounding guitar at play here too, making it rather epic all round.
Seven Days flies in with a spring in its step, bouncing along nicely with lots happening in the sound, including a very fine bass to proceedings. This is another rather muscular track with a great chorus and another very fluid guitar line, it almost has a touch of Marillion to it lyrically, which is no bad thing to these ears, and makes it a rather brilliant track, I really like it. It’s a pity that there are no lyrics with the album as I feel this would make the whole album concept easier to understand and grasp but ,still, just sit back and appreciate the crafting on offer here. Rising Tide is next and this begins gently before taking a more full group sound, the song talks of trying to escape the Rising Tide, although quite how is unclear but the song has some urgency to it.
Another shorter track Rain follows and this is a fabulous little rocker that occurs before the epic final track Bigger Liecloses the album out. This is also the longest piece on the album at twelve and a half minutes. The song is about religion, it seems, and the mystery and lack of a God. Well, everyone has their own opinion on this and I guess the jury is still out on it but it certainly makes for an interesting finale and this has shadows of classic Pink Floyd, certainly in both the vocals and the guitar. Playing the song poses lots of questions yet it makes no claims either way but it does say that we are all living the bigger lie. It’s certainly a thought provoking song, I really like this one and its length allows lots of space for the song to breathe. The song has an epic guitar solo, very Gilmouresque unsurprisingly, but totally in keeping with the track.
This is an album you need to live with for quite a while to let its true colours emerge. At first I thought it could be a touch bland but close proximity has changed that view and now I can see the work that has gone into making this album and that this is a very fine effort and release indeed.
Legendary Italian progressive rockers Banco del Mutuo Soccorso celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2022, with the release of possibly their most ambitious concept album since their debut. “Orlando: Le Forme dell’Amore” will be released on the 23rd September 2022, and today they launch the second single ‘La Pianura Rossa’. Watch the lyric video here:
Vittorio Nocenzi comments:
“’La pianura rossa/Red plain’ was actually the very first song composed for this new album some 9 years ago as we started conceiving and writing ‘Orlando : le forme dell’amore/The shapes of love’. That is the reason why this song has a very special meaning to us. It was originally titled “The War” as it describes the battle for water between Christians and Saracens in a dried out Mediterranean Sea. A parallel with the story narrated in the Ludovico Ariosto’s poem Orlando Furioso. This second single comes ahead of the album release on the 23rd September and after such a long time since the beginning of this journey we are so excited to have all our fans to listen to this new material.”
Listen to the first single ‘Cadere O Volare’ here:
Vittorio Nocenzi has been working on this new album’s musical concept for years together with his son Michelangelo and lyricist Paolo Logli. Narrating a real XVI century poem through different songs and describing the facts and the ideals was a mountain to climb.
The result of the immense work in the studio is fully represented in an epic album that will set new parameters for progressive rock fans. Undoubtedly Banco has always been strongly related to their roots, but “Orlando: Le Forme dell’Amore” is a definitive proof of how traditional prog rock can evolve in a modern new blend of sound and spirit.
The choice of singing the tracks on this album only in Italian (as before on “Transiberiana”) confirms the band’s will to stay loyal to what they’ve been doing from the very beginning. In order to help the fans understand and follow the lyrics better on a track by track basis, English translations of the lyrics will be included in the artwork, along with the original Italian lyrics. In addition to that the band will post a detailed explanation of the whole concept and the album’s narration on their website. The album will be available as a Limited CD Digipak, Gatefold 180g 2LP+CD & Digital Album. Pre-order now here: https://bancodelmutuosoccorso.lnk.to/Orlando-LeFormeDellAmore
As mentioned, the band celebrate their 50th anniversary, with the bands first two albums originally released in 1972. The band is already celebrating this occasion with an intensive live tour. Look out for more information in the coming months.
Legendary guitarist Steve Hackett is pleased to release ‘Genesis Revisited Live: Seconds Out & More’, the visual document of his 2021 UK tour celebrating the classic Genesis live album. Available today as CD/Blu-ray, CD/DVD & Digital Audio (vinyl will be released 25th November), it sees Steve and his band perform ‘Seconds Out’ in full & in sequence, as well
as a selection of solo material including tracks from his most recent studio album ‘Surrender of Silence’.
To celebrate, they are launching a clip of their performance of ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’. Watch it now here:
‘Genesis Revisited Live: Seconds Out & More’ is available as Limited 2CD + Blu-ray & Limited 2CD + DVD, both including 5.1 surround sound, behind the scenes documentary & promo videos. Steve Hackett and his band comprise Roger King, Rob Townsend, Jonas Reingold, Nad Sylvan & Craig Blundell, and they were joined by Amanda Lehmann as special guest on the night.
Steve Hackett joined Genesis at the beginning of 1971 and gained an international reputation as the guitarist in the band’s classic line-up alongside Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Phil Collins. Hackett’s intricate guitar work was a key element of Genesis’ albums from Nursery Cryme (1971) to Wind And Wuthering (1977) including the classic Selling England By The Pound.
After leaving Genesis at the end of 1977, Hackett’s solo career, which now spans more than 30 albums, has demonstrated his extraordinary versatility with both electric and acoustic guitar. Hackett is renowned as both an immensely talented and innovative rock musician and a virtuoso classical guitarist and composer and this was recognised in 2010 when he was inducted into the Rock Hall Of Fame. He has also worked alongside Steve Howe of YES in the supergroup GTR.
Hackett’s compositions take influences from many genres, including jazz, classical and blues. For his later studio works The Night Siren (2017) and At The Edge Of Light (2019) Hackett has explored the influences of world music. Recent tours have seen Hackett celebrate his time with Genesis including a spectacular 2018 tour in which he realised a long-held ambition to perform the works of Genesis live with his band and an orchestra.
The lockdown enforced by the 2020 global pandemic has proven to be a particularly creative period for Hackett. He began by releasing Selling England by the Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith, a live recording of 2019’s hugely successful tour celebrating that Genesis classic together with the 40th anniversary of one of his most-loved solo albums. Lockdown also gave Hackett the opportunity to write and record two new studio albums, the UK Classical Chart hit Under A Mediterranean Sky and the forthcoming Surrender of Silence.
‘Holidays in Eden’, first released in 1991, is the latest edition in Marillion’s series of deluxe re-releases. This was a release for which their record company E.M.I. had high expectations of the band after Steve Hogarth’s debut album with the band in 1989. ‘Seasons End’ was relatively successful, but crucially for E.M.I. it did not spawn any great singles success which would have helped it ‘cross over’ from the niche rock market, as ‘Kayleigh’ had so memorably done in the mid-80’s. Therefore, the pressure was on for Marillion to become more commercial although the band were largely more interested in writing more ambitious pieces than three-minute radio hits. Out of this tension developed an album which certainly divided opinion at the time, but which also produced some classic Marillion songs, particularly the stark brilliance of Splintering Heart, which remains to this day a staple of their tours, often opening shows with a dark grandeur.
So let’s put this album in context – It is a common perception that most bands have a ‘difficult second album’ (and Marillion certainly did so with ‘Fugazi’ with Fish in 1984!!), but uniquely somehow Marillion contrived to have a ‘second difficult second album’ as ‘Holidays in Eden’ was a far from smooth process for SteveHogarth’s sophomore album with the band. What the band were finding is that working on the next release with Hogarth was simply not flowing in the same way as their experience with ‘Seasons End’. Writing sessions at Stanbridge studios near Brighton were lengthy and frustrating, producing little material. ‘Seasons End’ had already had a lot of the music formed with sessions with Fish that never reached fruition. Lyrically, John Helmer had also written significant contributions, so when Steve Hogarth joined it felt deceptively easy to hone this material with some added material, such as Hogarth’s ‘Easter’, into an excellent album. Their second album with Hogarth was much more of a challenge, starting more or less from scratch. Hogarth and the band were discovering they had very different approaches to song writing and it took them some time to adjust to each other. Indeed, at one-point tensions grew to the point that Hogarth was effectively ‘sent home’ as his more rapid, business-like song-writing style just was not matching the rest of the band who were rather more into improvised jamming over long periods, looking for that elusive spark amidst hours of often fruitless playing. However, after that ‘break’ Hogarth returned two weeks later with a whole new song for the band, ‘The Party’ very much in the Marillion mould. Additionally, in his absence the rest of the band returned to material they had originally demoed in 1988 with Fish in ill-fated sessions at Dalnagar Castle in Scotland and eventually out of those ideas grew the closing suite of ‘This Town / Rake’s progress / 100 Nights’… but it was clear that generally things were not quite flowing second time around.
The band attempted to recreate their happy memories of the recording of Season’s End, returning to Hook End Manor in Oxfordshire – but they do say ‘never go back’. Marillion found this was not such a magical experience, partly because it was in winter and not a glorious summer as it had been for the previous album, and possibly because E.M.I. were not being quite so ‘laissez-faire’ with funding their rather extravagant life in the country! Marillion’s previous producer Chris Kimsey was not available so E.M.I. put forward Chris Neil as their next producer, who had previously starred as Jesus on the West End in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’… and rather more curiously had also been the lead in a cheap early 70’s sex comedy film ‘Adventures of a Plumber’s Mate’! In the music industry he was rather more well known for great success with pop acts like Shakin’ Stevens, Dollar and SheenaEaston. In the period leading up to ‘Holidays in Eden’ he had also produced Mike and the Mechanics for their massive hit album and single ‘The Living Years’, so it seems evident that E.M.I. had aspirations for Marillion to similarly have success as a chart friendly soft rock band. Chris Neil’s association with the main ‘Mechanic’ MikeRutherford of rock behemoths Genesis certainly made him a palatable and quite enticing option for the band. Chris Neil also told them that his son was a massive Marillion fan, so he really did not want to mess them up. On the other hand, he also knew that the record company were expecting him to produce three hit singles off the album to project the band onto the next level and match their previous mid-80’s chart successes. Hence, out of that tension between Marillion’s progressive leanings and a record company’s desire for ‘hits’ was born the curious creature of ‘Holidays in Eden’.
It is probably fair to say that fan reaction at the time was mixed. Jon Collins in his fine Marillion biography ‘Separated out’ shared that the Dutch Progressive Rock Page reported that on the ‘Holidays in Eden’ tour at the Ahoy in Netherlands ‘a substantial part of the audience booed when Steve Hogarth announced they would be playing quite a lot from the new album’. In contrast, notable fans such as guitarist Janick Gers of Iron Maiden has said that ‘Holidays in Eden’ is one of his most favourite albums and apparently Formula One Racing driver Jacques Villeneuve used to listen to the album while practising for races! Pete Trewavas wisely said in the fascinating accompanying Blu-ray ‘Pain and Heaven’ documentary, for some fans who had started following Marillion with ‘Seasons End’ or ‘Holidays in Eden’ this album may well be one of their favourite Marillion albums as ‘these albums end up becoming other peoples’ really.’
So how does it sound over 30 years later?
There will probably be two sorts of potential listeners considering this album – those that have bought it previously and are interested in the musical ‘extras’, the remixed sound, and the packaging. There will be others who may be discovering Marillion more recently who may know little about this album and wonder whether it’s worth buying?
The short answer is a qualified ‘YES’ – in truth this album was too hamstrung by compromises to be considered as one of their best albums, but there is enough quality in the original material and the extras to satisfy punters old and new. Unlike the flawed and rushed original mix of ‘Fugazi’, which the deluxe edition remix transformed wonderfully, this remix of ‘Holidays in Eden’ does not have the same transformative effect, as the original version was pretty well produced and mixed. However, this remix does add a new dimension to some of the songs and there is much else to attract longer term followers. A little more information on the tracks may help new listeners, and may provide some insights for long-time fans.
The more progressive elements of Marillion are well represented on this album with ‘Splintering Heart’, ‘The Party’ and the closing ‘This Town’ suite. ‘Splintering Heart’ started out rather differently in the demos, beginning much more heavy with a wall of wailing guitars, as can be heard rather spectacularly on the Blu-Ray with an early version recorded live at the Moles club. Chris Neil in Steve Hogarth’s‘Corona Diaries’ podcasts has shared that he felt that the original version did not have enough dynamic range as an album opener so he suggested a different spookier intro, which rather belies the notion that he was just there to make them sound more ‘poppy’. Steve Rothery and Mark Kelly spent quite some time devising the atmospheric opening sequence of loops and synthesisers – it helped transform a fairly standard rock song into a classic, dripping with menace as ‘h’ sings with such feeling over the extended intro until the jaw dropping moment when he sings ‘but not as much as this…’ and the whole band crashes in like an avalanche, with Rothery’s guitar screeching like a banshee. The piece drops again into a more contemplative, shimmering section based on guitar samples Hogarth used to trigger with his white midi-gloves for live renditions of the ‘Seasons End’ song ‘Berlin, apparently one of the few times that something emerging from a Marillion gig soundcheck has evolved into a song. The song rises to a crescendo with Rothery seemingly wringing the neck of his guitar with pain filled guitar sounds and one can really imagine someone’s heart shattering. Hogarth has previously shared in the 1998 remaster version that he wrote the lyrics in a rather icy Toronto in 1990 and that he was ‘imagining a heart shattering from its own hardness… or coldness’. Splintering Heart continues the fine Marillion tradition of brilliant album opening songs and it remains a sure fire way to start a Marillion gig all these years later.
The more Progressive flavour of the album continues with ‘The Party’. Hogarth had started work on this during the ‘Seasons End’ writing sessions but largely finished it whilst he was on his aforementioned ‘break’ during the ‘Holidays…’ sessions. This song goes totally against the idea by some fans at the time that Hogarth was the pretty ‘pop boy’ trying to commercialise Marillion – as Hogarth wrote in the 1998 remaster sleeve notes ‘if Splintering Heart and The Party are pop songs, I’ll eat my pink telecaster!’ Indeed in the ‘Pain and Heaven’ documentary Pete Trewavas described ‘The Party’ as ‘quite classically Marillion’. ‘The Party’ is a recollection of teenage parties, drawn from Hogarth’s adolescent memories of dubious underage drinking and the sexually charged atmosphere pervading such gatherings. Some of the lines were also inspired by another party – Hogarth’s experience with Magic Mushrooms after a memorable ‘Mexican Party’ at Stanbridge studios! ‘The Party’ starts quite simply with Steve Hogarth singing about a girl buying a bottle of cider over a simple Kelly piano motif, initially mirroring the naivety of a young girl going to her first party. The rising tempo and power of the music evokes the developing drama with ‘strange aromas, and noises and candles, that was where he found her’.Chris Neil recently shared in ‘The Corona Diaries’ podcast how impressed he was with Hogarth’s lyrics for ‘The Party’. He loved the lyrical story with its plot and nuances, describing Hogarth’s songs as ‘one act plays’. The rest of the band provided the backdrop for this drama as the trippy middle section in which ‘she never felt like anything like this before’ gives way to a distorted, guitar solo and great rumbling bass work and dissonant drumming, evoking how she would have been feeling after her first drug experience. Hogarth screams in anguish before the inevitable ‘come down’ over a plaintive piano and Hogarth’s voice conveying the feelings of the girl after losing her virginity in less than romantic circumstances. In some ways there are echoes of the much more celebrated classic psychodrama ‘Incubus’ song from ‘Fugazi’, and in my view ‘The Party’ is a highlight of ‘Holidays in Eden’, and rather an underestimated gem in the Marillion songbook. Curiously, Hogarth also shared with ‘Prog’ magazine that the teenage party upon which this story is based was also the first time he ever heard ‘The Yes Album’ by Yes which he says ‘changed my whole idea about music’– sounds like quite a party!! (😊)
The album is closed with the 12 minutes progressive rock three act play comprising ‘This Town’, ‘The Rake’s Progress’ and ‘100 Nights’. During the early writing sessions the band were struggling to find a creative spark so they returned to material from the abortive Dalnagar sessions in 1988 with Fish, and they found the basis for this closing epic.’ ‘This Town’ rolls in on a police siren , a wave of Mosley’s drumming and some gritty guitar from Rothery. Kelly’s keyboards rise as they reach the rousing chorus. Rothery’s guitars get dirtier as the story descends into corruption and Hogarth’s vocals become more strident, and after the final chorus Rothery’s guitars reach skyward conversely just as the narrative takes a decidedly darker descent:
‘This Town takes us down, takes us down, I feel like I’m losing you to This Town,
The morning breaks and I watch you awake and This Town takes you down away from me again.’
The semi-autobiographical but mainly fictional story focuses on how a couple move to a city to make their fortune. However, they discover that cities can corrupt, and it starts to tear them apart as they follow their own ambitions. The short middle bridge in the suite, The Rake’s Progress, takes a very different direction musically with muted dreamy synth tones, subtle bass pulses, restrained rolls and splashes of toms and cymbals and eerie guitar phrases conveying a sinister, shadowy world in which our main protagonist transforms from being the jilted broken heart into a manipulative, cynical gigolo. The title is also a play on words as ‘The Rake’s Progress’ is a series of paintings by C18th painter William Hogarth (no relation!) about a young man’s descent into drunken debauchery and eventual insanity.
The final piece of this suite is the dark brooding ‘100 Nights’ which chimes in on a simple echoing guitar motif and synth accents with our anti-hero manipulating all around him without compunction. Hogarth sings with deceptive gentleness, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, ruining a relationship with cool indifference. Rothery’s screeching guitar break almost screams out the real corruption at the heart of this story and Hogarth’s vocals rise in power with the whole band. ‘100 Nights’ seems to just fade away with a rolling guitar riff and echoing vocals on a subtle bed of keys, drums and bass – maybe it signifies that the main protagonist will drift on exploiting others endlessly, but it is rather disappointing as a finale. In the documentary Mark Kelly comments that in his view ‘we skimmed the surface of it in terms of what we could have done with it instrumentally’ which seems to confirm the nagging feeling that this was a lost opportunity with a great foundation which was not fully explored or expanded enough. Kelly has also said that Chris Neil worked very quickly and that his no nonsense approach rather limited musical experimentation, especially for the keyboards, except notably his inspired suggestion for the start of ‘Splintering Heart.’ For a producer with an ear for hooks and hits it is probably not too surprising that when it came to helping the band fashioning more ambitious extended pieces, he was rather less motivated or instrumental in realising those sorts of musical visions.
This is perhaps borne out by the interesting lineage of ‘This Town’ which can be traced on the deluxe edition as the Blu-Ray includes a very early demo version at Stanbridge, and then a later live demo at the Bath Moles club, through to the recorded album version. What is notable about the Stanbridge demo, recorded without the producer, is that it has a distinctly staccato and rockier feel much in the vein of classic songs by The Who – indeed Ian Mosley shared in the documentary that it was known as ‘the Who number’ in the Stanbridge sessions. The later Moles Club version seems to take it further into heavier territory with great energy. In that context it is easier to understand some of the disappointment expressed by both Ian Mosley and Steve Rothery in the documentary about the loss of that energy and feel in the final recorded version. Steve Rothery did remark that the new remix does restore some of the ‘meat it lacks on the original’ album version. It is also notable that now if Marillion play the ‘This Town’ suite they embellish it sonically and with much more power as if making up for not having done so originally.
Mark Kelly in his entertaining autobiography ‘Marillion Misadventures and Marathons : the Life and Times of Mad Jack’ describes ‘Holidays in Eden’ with the old football analogy as ‘an album with two halves. The pop approach of our singles… and, so not to scare the horses and some of our older fans, the longer episodic pieces…’ Before venturing into the ‘Pop half’ there is one halfway house in the shape of the far more straightforward rock of title tune ‘Holidays in Eden’. Based on a John Helmer lyric about going on holiday and losing your identity ‘Holidays in Eden’, begins with birdsong and a jet plane before launching full tilt into the main riff with crashing drums, banks of keyboards and power riffs before receding into jangling guitars and soft drumming on a synth bed. The rolling anthemic refrain precedes some meaty organ work from Kelly and the whole piece bounces along rather jauntily before some steepling guitar lines at the rather apt mid-song break ‘You wake up one morning, wondering who you are’, which may have crossed the minds of the band during this recording process as they sought to find their new identity.
The song ploughs on with the same rock driven pattern with a rising Rothery guitar and Kelly keyboard crescendo and a rather abrupt ending and a muted ‘well, that was a laugh, wasn’t it?’ heard in the background. It’s a straightforward engaging piece of rock/pop but it seems to have disappointed the band. Written by the rest of the band whilst Hogarth was on his ‘break’, in the 1998 remaster notes he suggests the music could have been a lot wilder to reflect the primal elements of the story. Pete Trewavas shares this reservation stating that it ‘should have been more than it was’. Similarly, Rothery states in the documentary that their live version gives it more energy and rawness, and in his view the remix has restored some of that edge.
Chris Neil had a brief from E.M.I. to find three hit singles. The first obvious candidate was ‘No One Can’, based on a chord sequence by Mark Kelly upon which Hogarth wrote a touching love song for his wife and shared memories with his children, about distance not mattering if you are in love. Mark Kelly considers it a good pop song although felt a little frustrated that for Neil the main focus was always about the vocals, which are lushly arranged with Hogarth sounding gorgeous, but no real room for any musical experimentation or embellishment, except a short clean and compressed guitar interlude. There are definite echoes of the smooth jangling chimes of The Police’s ‘Every Breath you take’, but alas despite extensive radio play at the time and a stylish video it did not really penetrate the higher reaches of the U.K. charts. It is probably the most commercial song the band have ever produced and certainly caused some consternation with some older fans at the time, but looking back now it just feels like a pleasant, pretty pop song – indeed, as Hogarth has said in his ‘Corona Diaries’ podcasts it definitely sounds like a hit from 1992… but it wasn’t!
The first single off the album was the rather more upbeat pop/rock of ‘Cover My Eyes’ (Pain and Heaven)’ which was not even a song before Chris Neil joined them to produce the album. He suggested marrying a distinctly U2 or Simple Minds like guitar riff and vocal melody by Rothery with a verse from an old song by Hogarth’s previous short lived ‘How We Live’ band, called ‘Simon’s Car’. Apparently, the lyrics are partly inspired by the glamourous 60’s British film actress Eleanor Bron, probably embodying all such unobtainable beautiful women, as reflected in the beautiful women populating the rather stylish pop video. It is a fun piece of rollocking pop/rock with an anthemic ‘hey, hey, hey’ call echoing a certain SimpleMinds refrain. The band roll along to great polished effect with Rothery sounding suitably heroic on guitar. One curiosity about this song is that for some strange reason Chris Neil brought drummer Roland Kerridge into the studio to sample Ian Mosley’s drums so they could be played on an electronic kit, which was quite the fashion at the time. Mosley plays the drums on this song but they are all electronic, hence their rather ‘shiny’ and ‘bright’ sound – they sound ‘OK’ but why sample drums electronically when you have a drummer of the class of Ian Mosley in the studio? Chris Neil has since had the good grace to admit that this probably not his best idea!
There was still one more ‘single’ Chris Neil needed to fashion for the album to satisfy the label, so he suggested that Marillion cover ‘Dry Land’ from the only ‘How We Live’ album. Hogarth explains in the documentary that this felt rather awkward and weird for him as it was ‘not something I would have pushed for myself’, thereby squashing further the notion that it was Steve Hogarth who was pushing the band in a poppier direction. Nevertheless, Hogarth gives a great vocal about the sexual tension of thinking there may be something going on with someone you like, but not being quite sure. ‘Dry Land’ is very close to the original ‘How We Live’ version – indeed , it’s almost a carbon copy! Marillion smoothly lay out a bed of softly chiming guitars and string synths underpinned by a cool bass and drums foundation. The main variation to the original is Rothery’s delightfully tasteful guitar solo, which surprisingly Rothery states is the solo he is most proud of on the whole album.
Every Marillion album has at least one ‘hidden gem’ which seems to not quite gain the attention it may deserve in comparison to other more celebrated songs. For me on this album it is Waiting to Happen, and it was pleasing to note in the documentary that Steve Rothery feels it is one of his favourite songs from the album and ‘it’s what I would have wanted from the whole album’. Apparently, the band were considering dropping it, but Chris Neil wisely encouraged them to persist with the song which was eventually beautifully realised. It starts gently on a pillow of acoustic guitars and softly undulating synths upon which Hogarth sings with such grace about the magic and beauty of Love just below the surface in our lives. Hogarth shared that this lyric was based on a memory of lying in bed in his house unable to sleep ‘I lie awake at night, listening to you sleeping, I hear the darkness breathe’ and such is the gentleness of the words and music you almost feel you are in the same room. Out of this soft cocoon the spirit and music build to the bright sunburst of the chorus. SteveRothery inevitably crowns this gem with a short but lovely guitar solo. The balance of the restrained verses and the celebratory choruses is the real power of this song, and Hogarth excels himself with some beautifully poetic imagery… insomnia never sounded so glorious!
Despite the attention Chris Neil and the band skilfully paid to these three ‘pop’ elements of the album none of them reached far up the charts, and from that album onwards it was clear that E.M.I. were losing patience with the band. Similarly, after the experience of being guided in a direction with which they were not totally comfortable Marillion were determined that in future they would remain in full control of future albums. Being typically Marillion they next moved almost 180 degrees from the ‘poppiest’ album of their career to one of their most progressive and ambitious releases, ‘Brave’ in 1994… but their days with E.M.I. were numbered. The main flaw with ‘Holidays in Eden‘ is that it simply tried too hard to satisfy conflicting aspirations, chart pop success versus expansive progressive rock pieces, and frankly it was largely unsuccessful on both counts. That does not make it a poor-quality album – there’s some great songs on here, and none of them are below standard. However, that unresolved tension resulted in diluting the focus with significant compromise and undermined the cohesiveness and feel of the album. The consequence many point to that arose from ‘Holidays…’ is the very different ‘Brave’ which was clearly a reaction to this one, but interestingly in the documentary PeteTrewavas intelligently draws a link to their great ‘Afraid of Sunlight’ album in 1995. He feels that what Marillion were trying to do on ‘Holidays in Eden’ was an album like ‘Afraid of Sunlight’, but ‘we just didn’t know how to do it’, which is a fascinating thought.
That’s the album – so what do you get with the deluxe edition, particularly if you are already familiar with the original album?
There is not the revelatory experience akin to the remix of ‘Fugazi’ for this remix, but it is definitely crisper and more impactful. It is perhaps significant that the songs which benefited most from the remix were the more ambitious, expansive pieces. Splintering Heart’s sinister programmed intro is more resonant and chilling, and The Party is noticeably sharper, with Pete Trewavas’ bass definitely and pleasantly higher up in the mix. ‘Holidays in Eden’ clearly has more ‘balls’ sonically. The remix for the shorter, more pop oriented pieces seem less obvious in impact, but in truth none of these changes are startling which is a testament to the quality of the original production. Of course, some with high end music systems will probably be able to detect the tiniest differences and pick up on them, but to most mere mortals with standard equipment the differences are not enormous, but definitely do improve some of the songs.
Discs 2 & 3 of the deluxe edition contain a brilliant recording of the band at Hammersmith Odeon in 1991 – it’s a fantastic recording of a great gig. Marillion may have gone through some changes and challenges in their career, but they are never less than great on stage. There is a healthy mix of old and new material, and it was clear that by this time Hogarth was growing into the skin as the new Marillion vocalist. Unexpected gems include the sinisterly delicate ‘A Collection’ and two deep cuts from ‘Misplaced Childhood’. The material from ‘Seasons End’ sounds particularly effective in this show, especially ‘King of Sunset Town’ and ‘The Space…’, as they had more time to ‘bed in’ with the band.
The main attraction of the deluxe edition are the extras, including the ‘Pain and Heaven’ documentary in which each band member and the producer are interviewed individually. This may have been a covid issue, but interviewing them singly does seem to free up some band members who may not speak so much in a group interview. There are some fascinating insights from the band members into the album, although it is interesting to note that Steve Hogarth has admitted in the ‘Corona Diaries’ podcasts that the director Tim Sidwell had to re-edit the film as they were so self-critical that ‘it comes across everyone thought the album was a huge mistake’!! (😊) To be honest, you still sort of get that sense underlying Steve Rothery’s contributions, but it would be unfair to completely dismiss the album when one considers the quality of some of the songs already described.
In addition, the Blu-ray includes the album in 5.1 Audio which reveals the album in more satisfying surround sound clarity. The B-Sides and Bonus tracks from the 1998 remaster are also included on the Blu-ray, although I know some fans without that previous version will be disappointed that these tracks are confined to the Blu-ray on this edition. There are 4 videos of the band, including the great ‘crunchy’ original Stanbridge demo of ‘This Town’. The Blu-Ray also features the glossy videos for the three aforementioned singles – these are definitely ‘of their time’, but are fascinating insights into the ‘Pop machine’ E.M.I. wanted Marillion to join… but they resisted… and are still going strong over 30 years later.
Finally, one of the best elements of the deluxe edition is ‘Rockpalast’ video of their gig in Germany in 1991. What is clear is that this is a highly professional and confident live outfit with impeccable musicianship. Needless to say, they all look SO much younger, and Hogarth is impossibly handsome as their dynamic front man – no wonder E.M.I. wanted him to feature in the videos. It’s a television recording, but the quality on Blu-ray is fine and the crowd seem to lap up the show. What is rather different to the Hammersmith show is the extended encore section with five Fish era songs, perhaps with a German TV audience in mind, which Hogarth handles with aplomb. Somewhat unexpectedly they break into Cliff Richard’s ‘Summer Holiday’ during ‘Garden Party’ and ‘Sugar Mice’ is presented acoustically without Rothery’s guitar solo. The deluxe edition is presented in the usual attractive book form with Sarah Ball’s original striking beautiful blue illustration given more space – this as the first Marillion album to ditch the classic Marillion logo as it seemed clear they wanted to break from that image. The book and lyrics are decorated inside with some gorgeous artwork from Simon Ward and there is an interesting essay by RichWilson.
‘Holidays in Eden’ will never be regarded as one of the great Marillion albums. It showed a band at the crossroads, looking for a new direction but still not sure where to go at the time and pulled in different directions. Nevertheless, it is a significant album which strangely did influence their next step and underlined to the band the importance of artistic freedom when writing their music. Look back and wonder what might have happened if one of those singles had been a big hit – what would we have missed? Look back and see a band evolving towards a different future – clearly there was ‘Something Waiting to Happen.’
CD One – Holidays in Eden 2022 Remix
Splintering Heart (6.45)
Cover My Eyes (Pain & Heaven) (4.04)
The Party (5.37)
No One Can (4.46)
Holidays in Eden (5.23)
Dry Land (4.45)
Waiting to Happen (4.55)
This Town (3.19)
The Rake’s Progress (1.54)
100 Nights (7.47)
CD Two – Live at Hammersmith 30th September, 1991 (pt 1)
Splintering Heart (6.47)
Garden Party (7.13)
Dry Land (4.51)
The King of Sunset Town (8.12)
The Party (6.08)
The Space… (7.50)
Holloway Girl (4.05)
A Collection (3.14)
Waiting to Happen (5.08)
CD Three – Live in Hammersmith 30th September, 1991 (pt 2)
Cover My Eyes (Pain & Heaven) (3.55)
Lords of the Backstage (1.51)
Blind Curve (4.15)
The Uninvited Guest (4.25)
This Town (3.44)
The Rake’s Progress (2.15)
100 Nights (4.46)
Slainte Mhath (5.10)
Holidays in Eden (4.47)
Hooks in You (3.15)
No One Can (4.56)
‘Holidays in Eden’ 2022 Stephen Taylor Remix – 5.1 Audio Version: