Customer Reviews: The Thieving Magpie
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on April 20, 2004
As a farewell present for fans, the double CD live collection of The Thieving Magpie is perhaps the closest to a Fish-era Marillion concert you'll ever be. This is the band during their heyday (at least in their peak album selling years) just as Fish was about to leave (or be dismissed, depending on who you ask). Here's a band known for its proximity to fans back when they performed to packed arenas. It is, without a doubt, a testament to a great band who, after releasing this album, went in two different directions with two very different results.
The two CDs are divided into a full live version of Misplaced Childhood (the band's greates achievement) and a collection of tracks from their three other albums. The results can also be divided into two groups: awesome and lacking.
Being able to enjoy Misplaced Childhood in its enterity is a true gift that the lads gave to us fans. This is one of those classic albums that transcends time and taste, and that should be around forever. It is also proof of the band's musical talents, both as composers and as performers. This is a 42+ minute track if you think about it!
The first disc starts off with an intro of Rossini's 'La Gazza Ladra' that segues into one of the bands best loved tracks, Slainte Mhath and then visits a varied collection of hits that are taken from different concerts. This disc could have been somewhat better, not because of the quality of the tracks presented, but because of the tracks missing from it. Granted, the band had already released Real to Reel and Brief Encounter, so a few of the better known pieces of Marillion's music was already out in live versions, but still, a better way to say goodbye and thanks to the fans would have been to include Forgotten sons, Assassing, Garden Party and/or Market Square Heroes.
Still, this is an album that should be owned not only by Marillion fans, but also by every and anyone who loves great music.
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on February 8, 2002
I have always admired Marillion's live albums because of their intensity, and among them The Thieving Magpie is probably the best. It shows how a band can transform studio music into a true expression of the human soul. It shows that it is possible to enhance perfection.
All of the bands member perform at their best, seamlessly adding strength and warmth to the music. Their level of energy and coordination is untypical of live performances. I particularly enjoy Ian Mosley's faster and unrestrained drumming, as well as Fish's voice which adds tremendous sensuality to the music. I have to admit that because the album is a compilation of several performances there are some discrepancies in the sound quality. However I don't think this is reason enough not to give this masterpiece a five star rating.
The selection of songs in the first disc contains some of Marillion's best. My personal favorites are Slainte Mhath, Fugazi and Script for a Jester's Tear. If you are already familiar with the studio songs you will undoubtedly be blown away by their emotional live versions. The second disc contains an equally intense and complete live performance of Misplaced Childhood that sounds even more natural than the original album.
The Thieving Magpie was Fish's last performance with the band. They were never the same after that and probably never will. It's a farewell to one of music's finest bands and as such is hard to listen to it and not feel that they have left and empty space that may never be filled again.
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on August 12, 2001
Considering this could have been the ultimate live experience (Marillion being one of my favorite bands), I think I may have set standards too high for The Thieving Magpie. La Gazza Ladra is a two-disc set featuring many fabulous songs from Fish-era Marillion, and a second disc sporting a complete, uninterrupted performance of the entire album, Misplaced Childhood.
My complaints fall squarely on the first disc. Since it was assembled from a number of different shows, there are major inconsistencies in sound quality, ambience, and musical energy from the band. Without the feel of Fish's onstage charisma and the tense chemistry between the band members, many of the songs feel like flat recitals of the studio versions. Live albums must do their best to try and preserve the experience of being at the show, but for much of disc 1 that experience is lost. However, _some_ of the songs here slay the studio originals. "Script for a Jester's Tear," which is one of my favorites, is tremendously more intense here, as is "Incommunicado," the big single from Clutching At Straws. "Chelsea Monday" feels a bit slower so the band can better explore the elaborate emotional textures of the song, and it's better as a result. "White Russian" also gains a great deal of power in the live delivery. Parts of "Fugazi" are likewise more intense, especially the ending.
Why a Marillion fan should really want to own this is to have disc 2, where Misplaced Childhood is performed. What is already an intensely emotional work of music is in some ways more so thanks to the added vivacity of the live setting. They capture the feeling of the studio version, support it with topnotch technical precision, and slightly increased power on Fish's behalf. Rothery's solos are sometimes embellished, which is good. More of Rothery's guitar playing can only be a good thing.
A good live release, but it's no replacement for the real thing.
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on February 28, 2013
Move over" Queen "Live Killers", Genesis "Seconds Out", Rush "Exit stage Left," Nugent "Double Live Gonzo", Zep "Song Remains the Same" Rust Never Sleeps I could go on for a bit but they all have been bumped down a notch. I'm in complete amazement on how overlooked Marillion is especially here in the good ol US brained washed by idioctic press of America. This album is sooooo freakin good I can not even start to pick a favorite song ( although Fugazi is increditable). Steve Rothery is the most underated guitar player on the planet earth period and the whole bands just plays with such feelings, emotions and with such a perfect live sound. Buy this album, rip it , borrow it, I will go short of saying steal it, it is absolutely/positively must have. I'm starting a Pratt and Whitney third shift Marillion fan club because all my co workers hear it and first say who is this Genesis I say nope better and it goes from there give them a burned disc to listen either this of clutching at straws and then hooked line and sinker. The response is usually "I can't stop listening to them" Maybe someday they will get a wee bit of the respect they deserve. Amazing, wonderful not sure what other word can throw in there. WOW
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on September 20, 2013
I like many different kinds of music and just happened across this album on line. I liked it so much I not only bought a copy of the CD for myself, but a copy for my youngest daughter's boyfriend! He loved the instrumentation and the vocals. I must say however that in finding other music by this group, I like the music up to the late 1980's. After Fish left the group in about 1988 the sound became rather common and without spirit. I recommend this CD to all Fish fans!
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on March 3, 2015
I love Marillion since the very beginning this edition is superb and really has a great sound, the mini lp japanese edition of this album is a collectors edition that you should get before it gets out of the market
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on December 18, 2012
I just started organizing my vinyl collection this XMAS 2012 after compiling "wish lists"and discovered this LP.I am a diehard Genesis fan and have seen them,Gabriel solo,Hackett solo,Collins solo,Phil w/Plant,Mike/Mechanics over 25 times total. Early on I had heard about Marillion and read about them in the UK mags like NME,Melody Maker&Sounds. I bought "Script For A Jesters Tear"and was in seventh heaven!I was lucky to see them live with FISH twice in Chicago,where Genesis has always been incredibly popular and I have seen every tour. Marillion played the 700 seat Park West club the first time and were incredible! The second time I was forced to buy tickets for Rush because Marillion were opening(sorry Rush fans).I was pisse at first but much to my joy they playrd MISPLACED CHILDHOOD in its entirety!I was overjoyed and left before Rush with all the other Marillion fans,the late arriving fans wondering what they had just missed.I did see part of another show with Steve Hogarth at the Park West but got into a fight with my wife and had to leave(should have left her at home).Anyway I digress, I did buy all kinds Fish era LP,s12inchs,and loved all of it even though I was being exposed to a lot of cool post-punk/new wave Brit bands rolling through Chi-Town. I however,love my Prog-Rock bands like Tull,Roxy Music,Yes,Crimson,UK,ELP,Floyd,and love the rennaisance now happening. I will now play this never before played import I paid $19 for in 1998. My review will follow. Stay tuned
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on September 11, 2001
...One of my favorites musical hobbies is buying live albums because at stage you can judge the quality of the musicians without any chance of further corrections. The Thieving Magpie is a great tribute to FISH when he was Marillion`s main vocalist. CD number one contains great performances of Slainte Mhath, Chasea Monday, Jigsaw, Punch + Judy and Sugar Mice. Script for a Jester`s tear is good but not good enough like Hogarth version included in the offcial bootleg Live in Caracas,1992. CD 2 is the live version of Misplaced Childhood that I consider suverb and uncomparable,better than the studio vertion. This CD covers one of the greatest moments of this megagroup.
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on March 27, 1999
It is often very hard for bands as complex and textured as Marillion to come across well live. This is not the case here. All the tracks carry the power, emotion, and complexity that the studio versions do and in some cases(He Knows You Know for one) exceed the studio versions. Fish's voice sounds grand and the overall mix is teriffic. It certainly ranks as one of the great live recordings, but not, as Bizzbuzz suggests, the greatest. For one, Genesis's "Seconds Out" is recorded even better, and easily matches the power of this collection. Still this is a great collection and should be part of any Marillion fans collection.
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on August 12, 2000
An incredibly well recorded live album, on two compact discs.
Compact Disc One has 12 tracks. I consider each one unique, with a different feel.
Compact Disc Two has 10 tracks. I consider all ten to be part of one large performance. For me, there is no need or reason to separate them. As a whole, Compact Disc Two of The Thieving Magpie is the deepest, most moving, most beautiful, most meaningful 'rock' music ever made [in my opinion]. I'm almost afraid to overstate it, until I realize that I cannot.
I believe one's experience listening to this album would be greatly enhanced with a full knowledge of the exact words being sung. However, one problem with this album is that a printout of the lyrics is not included...
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