Review: Marillion with Friends from the Orchestra @ Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Marillion with Friends from the Orchestra electrified Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall with the third gig of their tour celebrating forty years together as a band.

The captivating performance had the all-seated crowd rising to their feet in applause on numerous occasions and – despite it being an extremely long set lasting well over two hours – it was an enjoyable spectacle every step of the way.

Support from Harry Pane was short-lived but still set the tone perfectly. After a brief interval the lights dropped as Marillion stepped out onto the stage to the legendary We Could Be Heroes by David Bowie.

Lead vocalist Steve Hogarth, also celebrating thirty years with the band, not only showcased his incredible voice but was engaging throughout with the audience.

One of the highlights of the night came from a tale he told of the only UK survivor from the MS Estonia cruise which sank in the Baltic Sea in 1994. This story is what gave Hogarth inspiration for the beautiful song Estonia.

The infamous New Kings section of the show was another highlight of the evening, and was met with a long-lasting standing ovation from the adoring crowd, who appeared to also enjoy every minute.

Hogarth expressed his gratitude to the Manchester audience and rewarded them with not one but two separate encores, including the upbeat anthem Man of a Thousand Faces which had previously not been performed on the current UK tour before.

The venue, described by Hogarth during the gig as ‘a very posh place’, also provided an excellent back drop for the band, with every song complemented by a unique lights show and different patterns shone onto the ceiling and walls.

Loyal fan Garfield Southall, who has watched Marillion live over 25 times, even told MM: “It was up there with the best I’ve ever seen!”

As the gig came to an end, nearly every member of the 2000-strong audience was up on their feet in applause and they left Bridgwater Hall with memories that would last a lifetime.

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