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This was simultaneously one of the cheapest and one of the most expensive concerts I've been to. Cheapest because I scored complimentary tickets (basically, I entered a contest), most expensive because I had to fly to England to see it.

The band announced that they were doing these shows in the museum of the Bass Brewing Co., and that the brewery would be making a beer for the event. There was a contest to name the beer. So in a fit of inspiration, I go through an alphabetized list of all of Marillion's songs and turn them into beer puns, and put in the message that my wife said if I won we could go.

Okay, I didn't win, but they liked my stuff so much they offered me some tickets anyway. My wife was stunned, basically, but we turned it into a week-long vacation in England. We did some hiking in the Peak District (note to travelers: November is not the best time for hiking in the Peak District--although it was fun), spent some time in Cambridge, Manchester, Nottingham, and then got to Burton-Upon-Trent for the show.

Burton's a pleasant town off the tourist track except for the brewery itself, and the museum restaurant only fit about 150 people.

When we got there, we sat with some people from all over England. The couple next to me was actually from town. I thought it was funny that we, who came from 4000 miles away were sitting next to people who were less than a mile away.

I introduced myself to the band's publicist who gave me the tickets--she was very nice and friendly and introduced me to the fan club officers.

Then the show. Wow. The band were doing an acoustic set, with some stripped down versions of their songs, some covers (Crowded House, Carole King), and even one new song. They had a cellist on stage for some of the tracks. It was magical.

Afterwards, I was asked one of the greatest questions you can get asked at a concert: "Have you met the band?" So I was introduced to Marillion. I had met them once before in Marillion; Fox Theatre; Boulder, CO; April 11th, 1992, but it was nice to meet them again and talk about stuff. Got pictures this time too.

We then went to London for a day and flew home. I just drank the beer for the first time--it was wonderful.

All in all, a great experience for my first concert outside of the United States.

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