Marillion is coming to San Francisco next week. Since I moved to the US, I haven’t had a lot of opportunities to watch my favorite progressive rock bands on stage, since most of them are European. So far, only Yes, Camel, Spock’s Beard and the Flower Kings have made it to the West Coast, so I am quite happy to get a chance to watch Marillion on stage again after so many years (last time was ten years ago in France).

Marillion has always had a special place in my musical portfolio, because they were the second progressive band I completely fell for after reeling from the shock caused by the music of Genesis. My first Marillion album was Misplaced Childhood and I was sold right away. Clutching at straws is a solid favorite Fish-era album of mine and it’s hard not to be haunted by the title track of Script for a Jester’s tear.

I was quite sad to see Fish leave and the next two albums that followed with the new singer Steve Hogarth left Marillion fans worried that their favorite band had abandoned them. And then, Brave came out, and it absolutely blew me away. Even to date, Brave is one my top five favorite progressive albums of all times, next to Genesis’ The lamb lies down on Broadway.

The next album, Afraid of Sunlight, was also a real pleasure, but since then, I have to say that Marillion seems to have drifted again away from my personal tastes. This strange engine, Radiation, and Anoraknophobis didn’t do much for me.

With their latest album, Marbles, Marillion seems to have come back to a kind of music that I find more inspired and melodious, varying themes both musically and lyrically.

At any rate, I am more than happy to watch them on stage again, even if I feel I have somewhat wandered away from the music they produce these days. They remain an outstanding set of musicians and I am quite looking forward to discovering their new set list (which I didn’t look up, because I like to be surprised).

Listen as the syllables of slaughter cut with calm precision

Patterned frosty phrases rape your ears and sow the ice incision

Apocalyptic alphabet casting spells the creed of tempered diction

Adjectives of annihilation bury the point beyond redemption