Saturday, April 1, 2017

Review and photos: Marillion Weekend, Port Zelande, The Netherlands: 2017

Steve Hogarth, vocals, Marillion
Marillion Weekend, PZ 2017
Every two years, the phenomenon called "Marillion Weekends" happens. Weekends-- with shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday--in several different locations around the world. This year, 2017, in Port Zelande, The Netherlands; in Lodz, Poland; in Leicester, England; and in Santiago, Chile. The Port Zelande (PZ)weekend sold out almost immediately, Leicester too is now sold out, but if you're lucky, you might still be able to get hold of a ticket for Lodz or Santiago today, and if you don't wait much longer.

Marillion, PZ 2017, Friday
Marillion Weekend, Friday, Port Zelande 2017
So what exactly is a Marillion Weekend? It's the coming-together of fans from all around the world--yes, they'll travel from Brazil and from Australia for a weekend in The Netherlands--plus Marillion playing long shows on each of the three evenings, combined with a wonderful light show (huge shout-out to lighting from Yenz Nyholm); plus a good variety of support acts, and at Port Zelande, because everyone is staying in the same place, there are additional activities such as a band trivia quiz, Q&A with the band, and much more.

Steve Rothery, guitar, Marillion
Steve Rothery, Marillion, PZ 2017
Marillion has brought the Weekend to Port Zelande and the Center Parcs holiday resort six times now: for long-time fans it's a chance to get together with Marillion family from around the world, every two years. The entire holiday village is filled with people who are there for one thing: to enjoy Marillion. It's a bit like a holiday camp for grownups who like progressive rock; you get sand in your shoes, the beds are kid-size, but who cares when you're full of the music.

Steve Hogarth, vocals, Marillion
Steve Hogarth, Marillion, PZ 2017
And once again, the band surpassed all expectations. So many times, I heard people saying how they had wondered if the band could still surprise, be better than last time, and then being blown away by what they heard and saw this weekend in Port Zelande. There are fans waiting for the three other weekends who may not wish to know the setlists from PZ, and out of respect for that I won't share the full lists here. (Those who do want to know the setlists for all three nights--go to and search for Marillion Port Zelande. That's what it's for.)

Pete Trewavas, bass, Marillion
Pete Trewavas, Marillion, PZ 2017
Friday night, the show was a mix of twenty or so huge, emotional songs, provoking discussions about the theme of the evening. Were they all protest songs? No...  not quite but wait... what was the connection? Maybe the connection was simply that they flowed together and worked as a show.

Mark Kelly, Keyboards, Marillion
Mark Kelly, Marillion, PZ 2017
Saturday night included songs from F.E.A.R., Marillion's studio album from late 2016, released to unprecedented appreciation from a general public who have, at last, started to understand what all these fans from all around the world have know for so long. You have to hear Marillion. You have to see them live.  (If you haven't heard F.E.A.R. yet, take the time to listen. It is so fitting to the times we are living in.)

No doubt, there will be people who only-just discovered Marillion through F.E.A.R., and who are planning on attending the Leicester weekend. They are in for a treat.

Ian Mosley, drums, Marillion
Ian Mosley, Marillion, PZ 2017
Sunday... oh, Sunday. From the swooping open of the red velvet curtains to reveal the bewigged, be-powdered string quartet In Praise Of Folly, to guest appearances by sax and trumpet players (Phil Todd and Neil Yates) and an obviously-beloved lyricist John Helmer (wrote lyrics for Marillion for several songs over the years, including Pour My Love on Sounds That Can't Be Made), to vocalist Steve Hogarth's sudden-and-unintended-and-must-have-been-painful disappearance down a hole the back of the stage, through the long silence while audience, band and crew alike waited to hear that he was OK (he was, and he was back on stage ten minutes later), to the beautiful, confetti-filled finale... that was one big wonderful weekend.

Marillion, PZ 2017, Sunday
Final encore, Sunday, Marillion PZ 2017
The days after a Marillion Weekend are like a black hole where all fans want to do is turn the clock back to last Thursday, and start all over again. You're picking up the pieces and trying to get back to mundane, boring-tawdry "real" life, but talking the hind leg off friends and family, telling those who weren't there why they should have been, reminding those who were there what you saw, did, heard together; congretating in Facebook groups, watching the 'family' on their way back to their many homelands,

"Is it really over"? "Are you going to Poland/Leicester/Santiago?" "PZ 2019!!!"

Photos from Alison Toon Photographer are now up in the galleries:

- Marillion PZ 2017: Friday
- Marillion PZ 2017: Saturday
- Marillion PZ 2017: Sunday

Photo galleries for the support bands will be added soon.

Also, follow Marillion (MarillionOfficial) on Facebook and on Instagram for photos and updates from the band and other photographers who were at the PZ weekend.

See you in Lodz!

Marillion, PZ 2017, Sunday
Marillion and string quartet, Port Zelande, 2017

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