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Steve Hogarth / H Natural - St John the Evangelist Church, Oxford - 18th October 2014 | FESTIVALPHOTO
 

Steve Hogarth / H Natural - St John the Evangelist Church, Oxford - 18th October 2014

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Steve Hogarth (also known as 'H') captivated an audience at St John the Evangelist Church, Oxford, on Saturday night. Poised in front of a church altar and accompanied by candlelight and a piano dressed beautifully in crotcheted roses, H not only performed a generous setlist of songs from his solo career and Marillion's, but also read from his diaries and recited lyrics like poetry.

H's distinctive, expressive vocals and beautiful phrasing were displayed as he sang Marillion masterpieces such as 'Beyond You', 'This Train is My Life' and 'Seasons End'. He also took requests and played a haunting version of Kate Bush's 'Man With The Child in His Eyes' and the most impassioned cover of The Waterboy's 'Whole of the Moon' I have ever heard. Between songs, H joked with the audience. As the church was very dark, he commented that looking at the crowd was like 'staring down a mineshaft' and promptly turned his light on them, grinning mischievously.

There was more mischief to come, with H reading an entertaining extract from his diaries (The Invisible Man Diaries 1991-1997), detailing his adventure as a 'Prisoner of Poznan' where he experienced a 'horror journey' from Leipzig, East Germany to Poznan in Poland. As he was reading out some Polish words a Polish chap in the crowd shouted out the correct pronunciation, much to everyone's amusement. H evidently has fans in many places.

The audience sat stunned in their seats as H spontaneously recited the lyrics to the Marillion song 'Power'. He read like a Thespian. 'You never knew power, did you?' the lyrics enquired. Sitting in front of the altar on that Saturday night in Oxford, with the audience in the palm of his hand, H certainly did.

Writer: Anne-Marie Forker
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