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Thieving Magpie Import, Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, Original recording remastered, July 7, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Out of print in the U.S.! Originally released in 1988, the Thieving Magpie is a live set from the British Prog Rock band released roughly the same time as original vocalist Fish left the band. Taking in tracks from their excellent albums starting with 1983's Script for a Jester's Tear and ending with 1987's Clutching at Straws, the Thieving Magpie is the perfect end to this phase of Marillion's career with Fish as their frontman. Disc One contains live versions of hits and fan favorites while Disc Two features their masterpiece, Misplaced Childhood, performed live in it's entirety. 32 tracks. EMI.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 7, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Emd Int'l
  • ASIN: B0026J8LCC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,413 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rodrigo Llamozas on April 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
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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Format: Audio CD
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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Format: Audio CD
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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