Marillion’s Couch Convention 2020

by Sally Warburton

The long anticipated Couch Convention finally happened!  COVID-19 has caused lockdowns, cancellations and postponements of so many live concerts, the announcement from Lucy Jordache  – Marillion manager was very welcome!

The ProgRock Marillion fans waited in anticipation all summer after it was announced in June.  September 4th – 6th had a full schedule of socially distanced events from afar… mostly from England, but included Marillion Fan Clubs known as The Web Portugal, The Web in Spanish, The Web Brazil etc all with virtual events. The schedule of events came out. Fans from all over the world adjusted the schedule to meet their country’s time. 5 hours time difference in Toronto from England. 

Screenings of past concerts (Friday – Marbles in the Park. Saturday – All One Tonight. Sunday – Brave Live 2013).  Most Marillion fans already had copies of these concert DVD’s in their collection but viewing the concert with fans from ALL over the world and seeing the chat comments in Marillion Youtube Channel and Facebook made you realize just how many Marillion fans from EVERY country exist.  Live virtual Zoom meetings with band members – Ian Mosely, Pete T., Mark Kelly.., Steve Rothery, lead singer Steve Hogarth known as H did an episode of his Instagram Corona Diaries with Ant. Steve Rothery did his  Cocktail Corner demo both Friday and Saturday after the concerts.

Other virtual events included Website Treasure Hunt, Lucy’s Rock Disco, Stephanie’s Prog Disco, Keyboardist Mark Kelly’s Virtual Fun Run (4:30am too early for Toronto!) Q&A with band members separately – Mark Kelly, drummer Ian Mosley, Steve Rothery, guitarist Pete Trewavas and Steve (h) Hogarth with the Web Germany, Web France, Web Portugal, Web Brazil, Web in Spanish (Argentina & Chile). Drum Q&A with Ian Mosley and Bass Master class with Pete Trewavas. Marillion solo projects – Mark Kelly revealed first single Amelia from new solo album due out in November.

The chats during the screenings and events on Youtube and FB showed messages from fans all over the world – Chile, Portugal, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, CANADA, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Japan, Italy, USA…to name a few. 

The weekend started with an intro from the band together and Sunday before the screening of Brave Live 2013 there was An Audience with Marillion & Jerry Ewing. 

To add to the fun, Marillion fans had submitted photos of their dogs to compete in fun categories. Throughout the weekend fans shared photos of where they were viewing and what they were wearing …most Marillion t-shirts and others dressed up for the Royal Albert Hall (RAH) when viewing All One Tonight. 

The Couch Convention opened with Support Acts – starting with The Cyberiam, some of Chicago’s most accomplished musicians including Brian Kovacs, sang ‘Don’t Blink’ in their unique brand of progressive rock. Their self-titled debut album and stunning live shows have them rapidly building a following. 

Next were groups from UK – Haunt the Woods whose debut LP ‘Opaque’ released in March 2020 to rave reviews. Then This Winter Machine – a melodic progressive rock band from Yorkshire. Their new album ‘Kites’ out soon. Harry Dunn memorial song by his brothers Ciaran and Michael – to raise money for a foundation in Harry’s name who was Steve Hogarth’s godson. Lastly, Swapper’s Eleven with a song from the trio’s debut album ‘From a Distance’ released July 2020.  

Near the Couch Convention’s end was Made Again Lockdown Version

A remake of the song Made Again May 2020 from the 1996 double live album entitled Made Again. Fans from all over the world were asked to send in a short video clip with their country flag. Again, another ‘together, yet apart’  Look for the Canadian flag toward the end of the video and you’ll see me with my Marillion hat! 

Months of wondering what a Couch Convention would be like was answered that weekend. Fans with their concert memorabilia and new Couch Convention 2020 gear– . Fans reconnected with others who they’d met at other Marillion Weekends.  Zoom Meetings made us all feel TOGETHER… while being apart. Just like any of the awesome Marillion Weekends, after the 3 days there was a feeling of withdrawal.  Lots of happy memories… and those fans who were questioning the Couch Convention 2020 now wish we could all have it again… Can we?!