I've been to many proper concerts over the years and even a few festivals. (The opening night of Rush's 2002 Vapor Trails tour in Hartford, CT on June 29, 2002 was a particular highlight.) At least for me, though, none quite compares to the Marillion Weekend from April of last year in Montreal. Over the course of three absolutely magical days, Marillion -- one of my very favorite bands -- captivated thousands of hard-core fans with over eight hours of fantastic music.
In a way, calling Marillion weekends concerts or festivals isn't entirely accurate or complete. As I quickly learned after getting off the plane that Thursday night, the word experience is far more apropos. That is, a Marillion weekend does not just consist of listening to tunes that have moved the band's maniacal fans over the years. The traditional walls between "rock stars" and fans are obliterated. Freaks (they affectionately call themselves) meet and speak with each of the group's five members. (On a personal level, I had only interviewed most of them before on this site. Here's my chat with keyboardist Mark Kelly on the band's forthcoming album.) The band swaps members with fans for a handful of songs and answers their questions. Two personal highlights: First, Friday afternoon I was waiting on line outside of Olympia De Montréal around 4 pm when lead singer Steve Hogarth (aka, h) walked outside and greeted everyone. (How many musicians do that?) Second, Saturday night the band played its 2004 masterpiece Marbles in its entirety. I nearly cried during soundcheck.
It's no hyperbole to call it a Marillion weekend unique gathering among long-time friends from all across the globe. Familiar faces and names abounded -- not only from different Facebook pages, but from credits on albums and DVDs.
Now there's an excellent new documentary about these amazing experiences. Marillion: Unconventional is the story of the making of the 2015 Marillion weekend in the Netherlands from 2015. More than that, though, it's a snapshot of an amazing band that has produced 17 albums over 35 years over an incredible career. (And yes, number 18 is on the way.)
I recently sat down with the film's director Tim Sidwell. He also runs head of Toward Infinity, a company that specializes in multi-camera concert film and music documentary.
Watch our chat here:
Buy Unconventional here and watch the trailer below: