It’s been a while since I’ve listened to some new Progressive Rock bands from the present and future, but there’s one band that I’ve really gotten heavily into since 2005 and that band is Marillion and their new 6-CD live box set simply called Early Stages The Official Bootleg Box Set 1982-1987 is their rare live recordings that focuses on the Fish-era as he became the driving front man and force of Marillion and doesn’t pull any punches throughout the whole set and would make a huge fan favorite among their fans to hear unheard performances at the right place at the right time at your own risk.
Disc One starts off with their performance at the Mayfair on December 12, 1982 in Glasgow, Scotland for Radio Clyde and it was around that time that they were signed to EMI records and Market Square Heroes was released as a single in October of that same year and also the early days as they were getting ready to work on their debut album, Script for a Jester’s Tear. Featuring explosive live takes of; Three Boats Down from the Candy, audiences clapping along to the rhythm of an earlier version of Garden Party and She Chameleon as it goes to show how Marillion weren’t like any other Prog Rock band, but more of a dimensional rock band that would take the music to a new level.
Disc Two and Three is their entire performance at the Marquee on December 30, 1982 and also the end of an era as a club band as Fish explained because they were about to enter the big festivals and at Arena concerts also including the Hammersmith Odeon. During that night, you can feel the crowd was blown away in a jam packed small club during each number the band would do including a extraordinary live version that clutches around 19-minutes of Grendel which features a very Hackettish like solo from the guitar and the keyboards almost a tribute to Genesis 23-minute epic, Supper’s Ready. Also, they key moments on this recording. Audience’s were congratulating the band as they have their heads shaking on The Web, singing along on He Knows You Know and Market Square Heroes while closing it out along with them with fast upbeat hard prog classic, Margaret.
Around Disc Four, they are performing in Festivals including this one at Reading in 1983 around the time their debut album was released. It is also one of the best live recordings ever and around eight songs, they proved they couldn’t back down. It includes the ‘80s like take of the Rush Signals sounding on the new song Assassin which was featured on their third album, Fugazi. And then you can hear the atmosphere in the audience at the festival were jumping and clapping for joy on pieces like; Forgotten Sons and Charting the Singles and also the titled track, Script for a Jester’s Tear.
Disc Five is the entire performance at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1984 by the time they were on tour promoting Misplaced Childhood and of course, Fugazi. Most of the songs were classic radio friendly including the love ballad Kayleigh , but it’s the killing technique on Punch and Judy and the 10-minute Fugazi blew the crowd away as it shows to you that these recordings remain a high note classic.
The final and sixth Disc is them performing at Wembley Arena during the summer of 1987 for the Clutching At Straws tour which was the last album to feature Fish while the band go full speed as they perform parts of the album and Misplaced Childhood including some heavy emotions on Warm Wet Circles, Lavender, That Time of the Night,White Russian, and The Last Straw. All in all, this is by far one of the most best live albums to be released from Marillion’s career as they remain a part of ‘80s Prog.