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Fish review from The Liverpool Academy 2 in May 2006


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Fish: The Return To Childhood Tour 2005/06 reviewed here.


The Return To Childhood Tour, 2005/6
The Liverpool Academy 2
Thursday May 11th, 2006


Swear to God, the man gets bigger! The Drunken Poet took to the stage, prowling beneath low spots that singed the top of his shaven head as though he were a tiger stalking prey. Blasting into Big Wedge to begin the first half of an electrifying set that spanned a glittering back-catalogue of over 25 years, it was clear he was more than hungry - he was starving!



The unremitting power of the former Marillion front man’s voice lies undiminished. A sort of gravely mix of whiskey, lager and smoke, it evokes a passion amongst his followers that is as hard to define as it easy to be trapped by. On what was quite possibly the hottest night of the year, the walls of this small venue positively dripped with sweat as the big man belted out his solo work for more than an hour. Goldfish and Clowns, Brother 52, Lucky and a fantastic version of Credo at the end of which saw each band member put down their instruments to leave the stage following an explosive drum solo.

Twenty-six years ago one of the most generation defining albums ever written was released. Misplaced Childhood blew everything else that was around out of the water with its mix of ballads, poetry and steel-edged rock to tell a tale based on Fish’s life experiences to that point and – most notably – his break up with a girlfriend. Her name was Kayleigh and the song that derived from it set Fish’s name in stone.

By way of celebration, the band trooped back on to the strains of Rossini’s Thieving Magpie and launched into the album in its entirety. With everybody already having lost stones in the unrelenting heat, the pace and enthusiasm of the crowd hit fever pitch as each word was sang along to.

Rare indeed is it that an album evokes so much emotion. Lavender, Heart of Lothian, Mylo, Perimeter Walk and finally White Feather were ripped out by the singer and crowd alike with obvious joy.

Fish shook hands with the crowd, threw bottles of water to those in need, chatted, smoked and drank from what appeared to be a bottle of wine before once again leaving the stage. It was almost like being twenty again.

Demands were high for an encore and Fish did not disappoint as he broke into Incommunicado with all the gusto of a teenager let out for the big lads party his mum and dad had banned him from.

A second encore delivered the singular highlight of the evening – Fugazi. This is a song about everything wrong with the world that has stood the ravages of time like no other. Penned in 1983, it tells of a world filled with disappointment that can only be changed by its inhabitants and, here, was lapped up by the expectant faithful. Then Market Square Heroes tore the place apart again with the audience yelling out the tagline as though there were no tomorrow having been encouraged to the point of worship by the singer. “Are you following me?” he sings. After damn near three hours, you bet your arse we are, mate.

The lights lifted and the crowd called for more, but that was the end of a truly remarkable performance by one of the most underrated talents the world of Progressive Rock has ever produced.

Roll on next year so that it can be done all over again. This was a gig so good it was even worth being ripped off by a licensed bandit in a taxi just to get home.


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
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