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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Review -- FISH live at The point in Cardiff - sept 23rd 2007

FISH - at the Point, Cardiff by Jeff Collins.

I've been trying to contact Fish all week. I've been asked by Classic Rock Magazine to review the concert -- I'd also like to interview him about marilion's time at Rockfield studios for the radio station I'M involved with called Sunshine.
Still no word from the Fish camp. I'm getting worried that I might not make it into the gig and might not meet the man himself. Have worna hole in the carpet from incessant pacing!!!! Lucky I don't smoke!!!!

Finally Fish's tour manager calls and says I can come down to meet him at 4pm. He'll be in the pub opposite the venue (The Point in Cardiff). The pub! Perfect!
I wander down to Cardiff Bay and eventually meet Fish at The Point itself in the dressing room upstairs (having check out the pub which was Fish free!). He's in a very happy mood. His beloved Hibernian have beaten Celtic 3-2 in the Scottish Premier League. He wanders around the venue with me -- stopping every musician and roadie to telling them about Hibs great win.
We walk across the road to the pub where we settle down with a pint and watch the start of the Scotland v New Zealand game. Scotland are soon 7 points down. Fish has his head in his hands. "Oh dear. We're going to get a bloody kicking here", he says.
Keyboard player Foss Patterson is sitting with us. A fellow Scot he fears the worst also.
"They're just a bloody relentless machine" he says as the All Blacks score once again.
Fish heads off to buy another beer for us while Scotland do themselves no favours by dropping the ball whenever they have possession.
Half time in the rugby and Scotland are 20 points down and heading for a real beating.
"Come on" says Fish. "I think we can do the interview now as this game is well and truly over".
We head out and to the band's tour bus. Once inside we sit opposite each other on the very comfy seats downstairs. We spend 40 mins doing the radio interview which will be used on Sunshine FM as part of our "Made in Monmouth" slot. Fish talks about Marillion's time at Rockfield, The making of Fugazi and his new Cd and tour.
I'm back at The Point with Sunshine radio colleague Andrew Jancey who's a big marillion fan.
First up is a band called Stone Sole River. They are fantastic. They have a very retro 70's sound. The stand out of the set is called House Burning Down which is reminiscent of Iron Butterfly. They've already toured with the likes of Joe Bonamassa and Carl Palmer. I recomend you get yourself a copy of their CD Terra mama or visit their myspace site Buy their CD and you wont be disappointed.
Fish takes to the stage at 8-45pm with a series of TV news clips played onto a giant videoscreen. They're been given amusing alternate headlines. One shows former US president Reagan meeting Gorbachev. The caption reads: "1988 - Reagan and Gorbachev agree Marillion's Clutching at Straw's is the album of the year". Another shows Labour's 97 election win with the caption "1997 Blair elected on mandate to reunited Fish and Marrillion.
The crowd love this.
Slainte Mhath from Clutching at Straws kicks off the set. (The tour is called Clutching at Stars -- mixing the Marillion album title with his latest CD called The 13th Star).
Two of the next three songs are powerful tracks from his new album Circle Line and Square Go- the latter featuring a power rant "Just Once I wanna fight back!"

Fish is on excellent form with a fantastic line in funny stories. He talks about Hibs 3-2 win over Celtic and Scotland's trouncing by New Zealand. "We got a right kicking. Scary fuckers those All Blacks. Even on the strongest drugs, I wouldn't wanna be on a rugby pitch with those 22 stone monsters."
He mentions England losing to South Africa which gets a huge cheers from the predominantly Welsh audience.
Then back to football as he mentions Scotland's recent heroic win over France in the Euro 2008 qualifiers.
"Now I know what I'm doing next summer", he says with a smile."But the Scots can always snatch defeat from the jaws of Victory!"
"so can Wales" shouts one wag from the audience. "Oh" responds Fish. "We Celts are fucked up!".
One of the highlights of the set if the trilogy from Clutching at Straws Hotel Hobbies/Warm wet cirlces/That time of night.
For Warm Wet Circles no backing vocals are needed as they are provided by the crowd. This is Fish at his most impressive. At the end of Dark Star from the new CD, Fish introduces his drummer Gavin Griffiths. From Llanelli, the Welshman is proudly wearing the new Welsh rugby jersey. He gets a huge cheer. "oh" says Fish "you can do no wrong in their eyes. But you still can in ours!" he warns with a smile.
Fish may have aged (he's now 49) but when he pulls those heart-rending facial expressions on stage and dances in his inimitable way, you recognise the youthful and exuburent Fish of 20 years ago.
Two thirds of the way into the set, Fish calls for a glass of wine. "Bollocks. Its going so well I can afford to get pissed" he says. The crowd shout 'Down in One' which he does.
After the encores, my friend Andrew Jancey remarks to me how much he's enjoyed the show. Particularly the Marillion stuff, which they no longer play. How can they not oplay the songs which made their name!!?!! Remarkable!
Afterwards its backstage for a quick drink with Fish and the band and after a few photos we bid our goodbyes.
A tremendous night, a great gig and I look forward to seeing Fish play live again soon.

The full set list:
Slainte Mhath
Circle Line
So Fellini
Square Go
The Perception Of Johnny Punter
Hotel Hobbies
Warm Wet Circles
That Time Of The Night
Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors
White Russian
Dark Star
Sugar Mice

The final curtain

ROCK LEGENDS AT ROCKFIELD by Jeff Collins is out now in the UK/Europe and will be published in the USA/Canada in November.


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