6) Marillion, Aylesbury Civic Centre 28/12/86
This was an Xmas fan club gig, in the band’s home town. Yes, I was in the Marillion fan club as well. Jesus. Probably only for a year though, if that helps.
The fan club was called “The Web” after a song on their first LP. It commences, with typical pomp:
The rain auditions at my window
Its symphony echoes in my womb
My gaze scans the walls of this apartment
To rectify the confines of my tomb
I remember its name only because some spectacularly shit policing linked this fact with the horrific “Ealing vicarage rape” earlier in the year. The scumbag attacker had a tattoo of spider’s web, like hundreds, possibly thousands, of skinheads – none of whom would have had much time for Marillion. The fan club agreed to help the cops with their enquiries, as I guess anybody would even if the investigation was clearly going down completely the wrong track. I remember discussing all this with my parents over Sunday lunch.
Anyway, as well as a possible knock on the door from the old bill, fan club membership got you a magazine and the odd newsletter. And the chance to attend an exclusive gig, strickly fi de ‘ardcore.
Unfortunately I can’t remember too much about the night because I have blanked it from my mind. This bit of light repression is because I now find recalling the event more embarrassing than associating it with having been in the fan club of an 80s prog rock band. We heckled the support band. They were rubbish, we were pissed. We probably had a load of teenage sneery punkish hormones racing round our bodies. They were friends of the headliners and… they were just boring blokey rock. So we hung around at the back and shouted the odd comment, I can’t remember what. Except for one thing.
There were I think a number of asides to the audiences between songs, which is a bit much for a support band. One of them concerned the drummer being involved with a car crash and being out of action for a good while. To my eternal shame we responded to this by shouting “we don’t care!”. I am cringing right now, typing that.
I’m sure by this time the band and most of the rest of the audience had realised we were pissed twats and proceeded to carry on as if we weren’t there. In many other gigs I have attended since, this sort of behaviour might have resulted in a severe kicking. So it’s Marillion fans: 1, me: nil, in the tolerance and goodwill stakes.
The rest of the night passed in a drunken blur. There was possibly more friction between fans and band during “Kayleigh”. One of my mates’ Dads kindly drove us home. It was the last time I ever saw Marillion. By the time their next album “Clutching At Straws” came out, I was much less easily impressed. This was down to the fact that the quantity and quality of gigs I attended in 1987 would be immeasurably greater than what had gone before…