Marillion - Script For A Jester's Tear 2020 Boxset Review (Part 2)
Following our look at the first two discs of this brilliant remaster, we'll be turning our attention to its latter half, offering a rare chance to hear a properly mastered release of Marillion at the infamous Marquee Club just after Christmas on December 29th 1982.
The show from the 30th December is already commercially available from the Early Stages boxset, released a number of years ago, although this remaster of a Marquee show captures something that the show from the night after couldn't - the atmosphere. This new mix brings the band's early live performance to life more so than any bootleg could, with the uprated bottom end making it seem like you're standing right up close to the speaker system.
Everything overall sounds a lot more thumping, especially the introduction to Three Boats Down From The Candy, as well as the instrumental breaks on the likes of Forgotten Sons and the epic Grendel. The latter song is especially fantastic, with this version in my eyes trumping any other, even bettered the studio version on this remaster. It offers the most complete and tight version of a fan favourite, with every drum beat and guitar note sounding just right for the ambience and atmosphere of both the venue and the song itself.
Chelsea Monday, with its light synth backing and subtle guitar lick, sounds darker than ever before, before building into an incredible instrumental break which is something no studio version could ever match. The delicacy of Mark Kelly's keyboards work fantastically in conjunction with the smashing drums and Trewavas' rhythmic vocal. He Knows You continues in this vein of a tightly knit sound, conjuring up something more striking and evil than the original recording, with grittier guitars and more prominent vocals that've been brought to the front of the wall of sound.
The second half of the concert, present on its second CD, opens with Fish remarking to the Marquee crowd: "The next two numbers concern very very depressing subjects. The first one, a very very old one, the next one an extremely new one. The first one, the young gentleman left in the apartment - a spider perhaps..." before letting the band strike up into the first song he wrote with Marillon - The Web. With its cold start and the crowd's underpinning applause, it's a perfect opener to the second CD, contrasting a dreamy guitar and synth combo with some pretty hard-hitting lyrics to create one of the gig's best performances. That second and rather new song was Script For A Jester's Tear, receiving only its second outing to any crowd - its first was the previous night. You can almost feel the crowd's waiting to see where this song goes as they remain silent, letting Fish and the rest of the band play to them expectantly. It's a properly emotional performance, with every element turned up to eleven and seeming a lot more hard-hitting, contrasting The Web's melodic undertones nicely.
Forgotten Sons follows, with its seething vocal and haunting organ to build up to the best moments on the album, featuring some rather funky progressive rock in one of the song's many instrumental breaks. It's a nice antidote to the hard-hitting subject matter of Irish terrorism in the lines before. Fish obviously has the crowd in the palm of his hand as the song takes aim at the government and the way they're dealing with this problem in Ireland. It's gritty realism at its finest with eleven minutes of pure magnificence and showcases Marillion going from strength to strength with every passing line. Market Square Heroes is where everything gets rocking with the crowd jumping around and joining in on every chorus, shouting and screaming at every opportunity. There's no finer moment to sit back and drink in the atmosphere than on this song and the choruses as it progresses to its ultimate rallying cry. The band tones down a little to get the crowd involved fully before everything goes mad and the onward march continues to take this gig to the next level.
The band build on the euphoric atmosphere on the ensuing final number Margaret. It's a bastardised version of two extremely Scottish folk songs, but one that doesn't feature much lyrical content and can leave the band to get on with showcasing some proper talent to the crowd and getting them involved fully. Each member gets their own little few seconds to play a solo, with maximum appreciation from the crowds, especially with the backing of Mick Pointer's smashing drums that brings everything to life immensely, everything combines to make this an incredible end to one of the best recorded Marillion gigs of the Fish era. There's even a rendition of Auld Lang Syne contained in the middle due to the both the properly Scottish sentiments of Margaret, as well as the positioning of the show in the final days of December 1982. The atmosphere captured here provided the momentum that would allow the band to build on such immense successes and go to play larger venues and go on to bigger and better things. The additional Blu-Ray disc containing the wonderfully immersive surround sound mixes of the album, Market Square Heroes EP and Marquee Club gig is also backed by an insightful documentary on the band's beginnings, as well as the Recital Of The Script concert and snippets of footage from the Marquee Gig. It's a really nice addition and rounds out the set in a lovely way.
As an entire set, this new remaster of Script is certainly going to have you marvelling at the brilliant music conjured up by the Aylesbury five-piece All tracks present have been remastered and remixed to perfection and the wealth of material here is sure to have you enjoying this set for ages to come.