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Fish - Return to Childhood  CD (album) cover

RETURN TO CHILDHOOD

Fish

 

Neo-Prog

3.90 | 42 ratings

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Mike_Zed
4 stars The Jester Has Returned

Live Albums have ONE serious problem. You've probably heard it already in form of a studio version. Live CD sounds worse than studio albums (quite often) and don't have the atmosphere of a Gig... unless, during listening, you're looking at a fat 2m high bald Scotsman, you're in a crowded room and the volume is at it's peak. You're not? Pity. There are two exceptions from the "Studio is better" rule however. 1st - the band chooses the songs that sound ultimately better when played live, these are - the noisy, the fast and the screamed ones. 2nd - the band plays something they haven't played for a very long time, and/or is their third studio album, which has a strangely dressed boy on the album sleeve and is called Misplaced Childhood (say it loudly and proudly)!

This is probably the best "live" Fish has provided in his whole solo career. Both when it comes to song choices and recording quality.

The first leg of the gig consists of Fish's solo career songs. Mainly because Fish has chosen the songs that sound best when performed live - not all though. Big Wedge is a neat first-footer (if I may call it that way ;) ). This songs really rocks; the guitarists - Frank Usher and Andy Trill were perhaps of the best choice for the performance. Of course all other musicians are also top of the notch. However it's those two plus John Tonks which are most hearable. The next song's Moving Targets, which sounds incredibly good compared to the studio version, here played with much more anger and committal. The third song also fits the "better when live" pattern. Brother 52 sounds great mainly because it's devoid of all those boring conversations between Fish and Doc. Of course not only that. The band delivers B52 with amazing engagement just like the first two songs. A change of atmosphere comes with the next track. This one is one of Fish's most notable love songs - Goldfish and Clowns. It's just as good as it should be, not many differences between the studio version anyway. The gig wouldn't be truly a masterpiece if Fish hadn't included at least part of the epic Plague of Ghosts suite. The selection was obvious - two songs that sound good live. They happened to be also the two best songs from the suite - Raingods Dancing and Wake Up Call. Fish made a slight alteration in the rhythm while singing the chorus of Raingods Dancing, which made it even more chilling! However, good luck doesn't last forever, and coming up is a really mediocre song (Innocent Party). Fairly better than on Field of Crows, but no excuse to put it among masterpieces such as. well. the next song Long Cold Day . It's the thing Fish was always good at - creating love songs which also have a degree of sadness, anger and mistrust in them. The ending of the song is a bit boring though and it really could have been replaced with a repetition of the chorus. The first part of the gig ends with the best live performance of Credo ever. The band gives the audience an opportunity to shout the chorus on and on, as Credo's been extended (almost 1:30 longer) in order to provide the band with a superb way to exit. One by one that is. The singer, the guitarists, the drummer, the keyboarder and soon the backing vocals fade. The audience awaits part TWO.

Fish no longer sounds so clear and (obviously) so young as when recording this album twenty years ago. But that's not a problem. Fish's current voice - rough and tired delivers something new to Misplaced Childhood truly changing it into Return to Childhood. An omnipresent feeling surrounds us, that although we get older, although we know more, although we have changed on the inside and on the outside (no more high pitches ;-) ), the world hasn't really changed that much. The orphans are still alone (Pseudo Silk Kimono). Broken hearts hurt in the same way (Kayleigh). Love songs still have the same worlds (Lavender). Weekend drinking habits may still have serious consequences (Bitter Suite). We have the same fatherlands, homes and friends (Heart of Lothian). The cost of fame can still be a pain in the a** - Waterhole, Lords of the Backstage, Blind Curve. And speaking of Blind Curves. Fish's performance of this part is simply unbelievable. While in the studio Fish whispers and whimpers, on the stage he shouts and cries, and the audience shouts alongside with him. Everyone knows the words, the words describing the most important part of our lives: "The Childhood!". the misplaced childhood. Yet still, nothing changes. childhoods do end (Childhoods End?), and the same things make us proud (White Feather). Fish gives us also three encore songs. Again they tell us that not much has changed. There are times, when we don't want to give a damn for anything (Incommunicado). We want to become heroes (Market Square Heroes - the proper version performed here - the "Antichrist" version). And one more. this world. it's totally Fugazi!

If it wasn't a live performance I'd give it *****. Just for the record: If you haven't heard the studio version - add one star to the overall verdict.

Mike_Zed | 4/5 |

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