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Fish Leamington Spa Convention 2012 album cover
2.91 | 16 ratings | 1 reviews | 38% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1
1. Script for a Jester's Tear
2. Long Cold Day
3. Innocent Party
4. He Knows You Know
5. Square Go
6. Feast of Consequences
7. Other Side of Me
8. Dark Star
9. Pilgrim's Address

CD 2
1. Jigsaw
2. Freaks
3. Lucky
4. Internal Exile
5. Market Square Heroes
6. Grendel
7. The Company

1. Script for a Jester's Tear
2. Long Cold Day
3. Innocent Party
4. He Knows You Know
5. Square Go
6. Feast of Consequences
7. Other Side of Me
8. Dark Star
9. Pilgrim's Address
10. Jigsaw
11. Freaks
12. Lucky
13. Internal Exile
14. Market Square Heroes
15. Grendel
16. The Company

Line-up / Musicians

- Gavin Dickie / bass (9-16)
- Steve Vantsis / bass (1-8)
- Gavin Griffiths / drums
- Frank Usher / guitar
- Foss Patterson / keyboards
- Fish / vocals

Releases information

2CD+DVD Chocolate Frog Records FHC002CD/DVD (2013 UK)

Thanks to Glimpse for the addition
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FISH Leamington Spa Convention 2012 ratings distribution

(16 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

FISH Leamington Spa Convention 2012 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Warthur
2 stars It's perhaps no surprise that both Fish and Marillion ended up doing their own spin on the "fan convention-plus- gigs" concept. Back in the early days, Marillion won their EMI record contract largely on the back of energetic self- promotion and the cultivation of a loyal fanbase; the punks might have been talking a DIY talk, but Marillion walked the walk, and it paid off.

It's only natural, then, that after Fish and Marillion parted ways, and after the lead singer and his former band fell from favour with record company executives, that they'd both sooner or later resort to DIY tactics and the affection of a still-passionate following to keep afloat. By the 2010s, both of them had their regular big fan meetups more or less down to a fine art: Marillion had the legendary Marillion Weekends, whilst Fish's regular Fishheads fan convention (usually, if I have my facts straight, in Leamington Spa) was also a part of his calendar.

For a good while, Marillion had used their weekenders as a cunning way of making new product comparatively easily. If they already had the venue set up exactly as they wanted it - for they were occupying it for the whole weekend - it didn't take that much more effort to record the shows in question, and because they generally tried to give a little extra twist to their setlists during their Weekends (the pattern of "full playthrough of an album on Friday, quirky experimental setlist on Saturday, setlist focused on beloved favourites to send everyone home happy on Sunday" was soon established), there'd be interest from fans who hadn't made the Weekend and might be interested in hearing an unusual show. (And, of course, anyone who was there would be keen to have a souvenir of a special event.)

Gone Fishing seems to have been Fish's attempt to see if he can't make a nice little collector's item out of one of his Leamington Spa convention shows. Fish has put out lots of live albums before, of course, some of which have been sourced from fan conventions, but for much of his solo career his budget has been... well, "chaotic" or "unpredictable" are the kindest words I can use. To take the kid gloves off, he's often been juggling debt issues and hurting for ready money, and as a result a lot of his live releases have gone cheap and cheerful with the packaging - indeed, early ones were deliberately done to look like bootlegs, largely as a Zappa-esque "Beat the Boots" effort to out-compete bootleggers at their own game. After all, lavishing effort on them and giving them really nice packaging would cost money that Fish didn't have - the point of the releases was to get them out of the door with a minimum of fuss, in order to get a shade more income.

Gone Fishing, on the other hand, feels like it's the start of a major shift in that strategy; at least in external appearance, it's not half bad. Far from the knocked-together-in-a-hurry appearance of early Fish live albums, this actually has nice cover artwork in the form of a Mark Wilkinson painting; you get a DVD with footage of the show as well as the CDs; the accompanying booklet, with Fish's now-customary essay reminiscing about the show, is nicely presented and laid-out and edited. Everything seems nice and shiny.

Perhaps from a commercial perspective it did the job nicely - but in terms of the actual audio content, we are firmly in "hardcore fans only" territory. The fans are quite loud in the mix, and whilst surgically excising the audience entirely from a live album can result in a record that sounds sterile, here their presence is quite intrusive. That may be part of the point - for they enthusiastically sing along to the classics, and that means Fish gets to give his voice a little rest compared to if he'd had to carry it all himself.

Yes, unfortunately issue with Fish's voice once again are apparent on a live release. On the one hand, this does at least reassure the listener that there hasn't been extensive after-the-fact studio tampering - what you hear here is more or less what happened on the night - but between this and a backing band who seem to struggle to invest some of the material with life (the Marillion stuff seems to be a particular stumbling block) means I end up lacking enthusiasm for the release. Perhaps Fish was doing better on the previous day's show - for this comes from the second day of the convention - but here he's clearly strained. Checking, it looks like he took about half a hear off touring after this, and perhaps that was necessary.

There's some points of interest here which will excite collectors; in particular, there's previews of material which would eventually make it onto the Feast of Consequences album, Fish having gotten into the habit of road-testing new material in front of audiences before producing the studio renditions. There's also an attempt at good old Grendel, but with Fish and the band both clearly exhausted at this point the recording is perhaps evidence that the ol' beastie was better off retiring after the 1983 Reading Festival.

Fish superfans will want this for those reasons - but they don't need to read a review anyway. Anyone else will probably find this hard going.

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