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FISH

Neo-Prog • United Kingdom


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Fish picture
Fish biography
Derek William Dick - Born 25 April 1958 (Dalkeith, Scotland)

Because he finds it very nice to lie in the bath for hours, with his rubber duck, he gets this nickname from his friends: FISH. Later Derek shall use this name as his artists name. Derek grows up in the little village Dalkeith, where his parents have a garage. He's in school there, where he has a easy time, and has good results. Derek too is a fan of THE BEATLES in that period, and he wants to learn to play an instrument. But he never gets beyond playing a tennis racket in front of the mirror. The first single he buys is "Lola" of THE KINKS.

Daddies' garage is becoming a better and better way of way of earning a living and Derek is allowed to go to high school (which is far more expensive). Derek isn't so satisfied with that and prefers to stay in Dalkeith. When Derek is about 13 years old, he becomes more and more interested in music. Especially groups like YES, ELP and of course PINK FLOYD are his favorites. He likes the idea of having a band of his own. But his problem is that he cannot play any instrument. He tries drumming, but that's not so easy as it seems to. There's only one thing that Derek can do without many problems: singing. And this is the beginning of his career. Derek studies a lot by singing along with his favorite songs of YES, ELTON JOHN, and DEEP PURPLE.

Derek is getting older, and school becomes less and less interesting for him. He discovers the nightlife, and begins to enjoy life more and more. When he's 18 and ready with high school, he still doesn't know exactly what to do. He doesn't like university, and therefore he takes a job at the Forestry Commission. There he has the opportunity to do a building engineering study, something he likes because that would mean spending a lot of time outside. In 1979 he leaves for a study journey to Germany. When he gets back, he decides to become a singer at last. Derek changes his name to FISH. Not in the latest place because the off-stage nickname of Chris SQUIRE is also FISH. When he meets Peter GABRIEL after a concert, and this guy turns out to be a normal human being, FISH thinks "then I can do it too". FISH looks for a band, and after a failed audition for NOT QUITE RED FOX, comes across BLEWITT thanks to an old friend. Although the band does not play FISH's favorite music, he becomes their singer. FISH gets a lot experience on stage and thanks to that his performance and his voice both increase in q...
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FISH Videos (YouTube and more)


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FISH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

FISH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.89 | 418 ratings
Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors
1990
3.15 | 259 ratings
Internal Exile
1991
2.44 | 164 ratings
Songs from the Mirror
1993
2.91 | 195 ratings
Suits
1994
3.80 | 274 ratings
Sunsets On Empire
1997
3.68 | 261 ratings
Raingods With Zippos
1999
3.50 | 161 ratings
Fellini Days
2001
3.58 | 195 ratings
Field Of Crows
2004
3.85 | 292 ratings
13th Star
2007
3.95 | 459 ratings
A Feast of Consequences
2013
3.91 | 155 ratings
Weltschmerz
2020

FISH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.26 | 23 ratings
Pigpen's Birthday
1993
3.90 | 30 ratings
For Whom the Bells Toll
1993
3.94 | 17 ratings
Derek Dick & His Amazing Electric Bear
1993
3.09 | 26 ratings
Toiling in the Reeperbahn
1993
3.48 | 23 ratings
Uncle Fish & The Crypt Creepers
1993
2.99 | 40 ratings
Sushi: Live in Utrecht
1994
3.73 | 15 ratings
Fortunes of War - Live Acoustic Set UK '94
1994
3.27 | 54 ratings
Acoustic Session
1994
3.27 | 24 ratings
Krakow
1995
2.04 | 16 ratings
Fish Head Curry
1996
4.31 | 26 ratings
Tales from the Big Bus
1998
4.38 | 8 ratings
Haddington Convention 1998
1999
3.18 | 22 ratings
The Complete BBC Sessions
1999
3.38 | 10 ratings
Acoustic Sessions
2000
2.69 | 10 ratings
Candlelight in Fog - USA 2000
2000
3.93 | 27 ratings
Sashimi - Live in Poznan, Poland 1999
2001
3.37 | 30 ratings
Fellini Nights
2002
4.19 | 18 ratings
Mixed Company
2003
4.54 | 24 ratings
Scattering Crows
2005
3.80 | 64 ratings
Return to Childhood
2006
3.79 | 30 ratings
Communion
2007
4.00 | 1 ratings
Fishheads Club Live: The Spittalrig Sessions
2012
0.00 | 0 ratings
Fishheads Club Live: University Of Derby
2012
2.91 | 16 ratings
Leamington Spa Convention 2012
2013
4.85 | 7 ratings
The Moveable Feast (European Tour 2013-2015)
2016
4.00 | 16 ratings
Farewell to Childhood
2017
4.00 | 5 ratings
A Fish in the Lemon Tree - Live MMXX
2020
4.44 | 15 ratings
The Last Straw
2022

FISH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.50 | 6 ratings
Songs For The Company
1994
4.20 | 10 ratings
Krakow - Acoustic Set 1995
1996
4.40 | 10 ratings
Krakow - Electric Set 1995
1996
4.00 | 4 ratings
Duisburg - 10 Year Solo Artist
1998
4.25 | 12 ratings
Kettle Of Fish
2002
4.11 | 19 ratings
Fool's Company
2003
4.18 | 19 ratings
Sunsets On Empire - Live In Poland 1997
2003
4.64 | 14 ratings
Scattering Crows
2005
2.36 | 9 ratings
Live In Krakow - Acoustic
2005
3.90 | 10 ratings
Live In Krakow - Electric
2005
3.22 | 44 ratings
Return to Childhood
2006
4.67 | 6 ratings
In Search Of The 13th Star - Fish Live In The USA
2009
3.75 | 4 ratings
Fishheads Club Live
2012

FISH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.10 | 50 ratings
Yin
1995
3.21 | 47 ratings
Yang
1995
3.56 | 9 ratings
Yin & Yang - Radio Edits
1995
2.62 | 24 ratings
Kettle Of Fish 88-98
1998
4.19 | 28 ratings
Bouillabaisse - The Perception Of Fish
2005

FISH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.77 | 19 ratings
Big Wedge
1989
3.44 | 13 ratings
State Of Mind
1989
3.33 | 18 ratings
A Gentleman's Excuse Me
1990
4.18 | 11 ratings
The Company
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
Ao Vivo Em Portugal
1990
4.12 | 17 ratings
Credo
1991
3.95 | 19 ratings
Internal Exile
1991
3.50 | 10 ratings
Something in the Air
1992
3.38 | 8 ratings
Never Mind The Bullocks
1992
4.07 | 14 ratings
Fortunes of War
1994
3.73 | 15 ratings
Lady Let It Lie
1994
4.07 | 14 ratings
Just Good Friends
1995
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Funny Farm Interview - July '95
1995
3.80 | 10 ratings
Change of Heart
1997
3.80 | 15 ratings
Brother 52
1997
4.40 | 5 ratings
Brother 52
1997
4.07 | 15 ratings
Incomplete
1999
5.00 | 1 ratings
Issue 30 CD
2000
4.50 | 4 ratings
Fellini Days - Companion CD
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
Field Of Crows - Radio Edits
2004
4.40 | 15 ratings
Zoe 25
2008
2.91 | 13 ratings
Arc Of The Curve
2008
4.33 | 6 ratings
Blind to the Beautiful
2014
4.16 | 34 ratings
A Parlay with Angels
2018

FISH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Weltschmerz by FISH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.91 | 155 ratings

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Weltschmerz
Fish Neo-Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 701

Derek William Dick, better known as Fish, is a Scottish artist from Edinburgh. He's without any doubt one of the leading singers in the neo-prog sub-genre. Fish is mostly known from the band Marillion, but he has a glorious solo career too. With Marillion, Fish released four studio albums "Script For A Jester's Tear" in 1983, "Fugazi" in 1984, "Misplaced Childhood" in 1985 and "Clutching At Straws" in 1987. As solo artist he released eleven studio albums, "Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors" in 1990, "Internal Exile" in 1991, "Songs From The Mirror" in 1993, "Suits" in 1994, "Sunsets On Empire" in 1997, "Raingods With Zippos" in 1999, "Fellini Days" in 2001, "Field Of Crows" in 2004, "13th Star" in 2007, "A Feast Of Consequences" in 2013 and "Weltschmerz" in 2020, his swan studio work that is the subject of my review.

This is the final album of a great man, a great man who walks with a stick, like that guy in the song "Man With A Stick". He worked on this album for five years. More than ever, pensiveness, mental exhaustion and melancholy define Fish's songwriting. The themes of his final compositions are very dark but very human too. In magical and picturesque images he becomes painfully sympathetic and palpable, a man hurt and disillusioned with the world. In the background there's the political and social rollercoaster ride of the last few years, with the Scottish referendum, the unfortunate Brexit, Trump and the corona pandemic. And he didn't know it at the time, but the invasion of Ukraine was still missing. So, all the pain, all the depression that resulted from it couldn't fit on a single album because he had so much material to present to us as his final testimony, a testimony of some regrets and things that remained to be done, his world of pain.

So, "Weltschmerz" is the eleventh studio album of Fish and that was released in 2020. The line up on the album is Fish (vocals), Doris Brendel (backing vocals), Steve Vantsis (guitars, keyboards, bass and programming), Robin Boult (guitar), John Mitchell (guitar), Liam Homes (keyboards), Foss Paterson (keyboards), David Jackson (saxophone), Mikey Owers (brass), Craig Blundell (drums), Dave Stuart (drums) and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (strings).

The album opens with "Grace Of God", two different pieces strung together, a clever guide to what follows. It offers a powerful opener, one of the best of Fish, with a lot of pressure and variation that defines the atmosphere of the album. "Man With A Stick" is very acccessible with some catchy keyboard passages. It has a wonderful blend of the old and new, a Genesis' vibe from the keys, yet at the same time modern in its spirit. It's not great, not bad. With "Walking On Eggshells" Fish is back at his best. It sounds slightly menacing thanks to its booming riffs. It's a rich track with great arrangements and fine details that carries you on a journey. The vocals here are flawless. With "This Party's Over" Fish celebrates his farewell. It sounds downright cheerful with its Celtic folky touch. It's a very simple song, a mixed-salad of many of the creative elements that defined his solo career. An ending with a smile. "Rose Of Damascus" is one of the central pieces on "Weltschmerz". The piece is beautifully orchestrated where Fish delivers one of his greatest lyrical performance for years with a song that is cinematic in both its narrative and soundscape. It difficults to accept the end of his career. "Garden Of Remembrance" is a fantastic and very poignant track with great emotional power and depth. It proves that he's still capable of producing some amazing moments and that it isn't only the prog epics that are required to do that. "C Song (The Trondheim Waltz)" is a simple piano song with a real folk feel and references of Fish's Scottish roots. Despite its nature as a waltz, there's nothing lethargic or dragging on this track. "Little Man What Now?" is also a highlight on the album with its heavy and slow rhythm and spreads a morbid mood. Plus an eerily beautiful saxophone from David Jackson of Van Der Graff Generator. This is properly a broody and captivating listen, a down brilliant track. "Waverley Steps (End Of The Line)" is another central epic. It starts quietly and builds up to a rocking and driving piece where Fish turned up full again. It's rousing, emotional and is the crowning glory of the entire album, both lyrically and musically. "The title track "Weltschmerz" closes the album in a dark mood. Fish doesn't mince his words and shouts his disappointment at humanity's failures. It's all here, laid bare. The old anger may have been tamed, but it still burns.

Conclusion: "Weltschmerz" is the most recent and last album of Fish, the end of a brilliant career of an iconic artist. As Fish said, "Weltschmerz" is a German expression that means "world pain". It's a dark album with a feeling of world weariness and melancholy. "Weltschmerz" is a very personal album of Fish. It reflects a variety of circumstances of his life, his mistakes, his illness, the bereavement due to the death of his parents, band changes a global pandemic and the political changes already mentioned by me above. So, "Weltschmerz" is his best solo album? I really don't know. But it's certainly a completely successful and very coherent work. With his last album, the Scots has once again made an impressive statement about his music. I'm sure that this farewell will earn him the recognition and respect he deserves.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 State Of Mind by FISH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
3.44 | 13 ratings

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State Of Mind
Fish Neo-Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I vividly remember the time in my late teens when my first major favourite band parted ways with their charismatic vocalist and lyricist. Fortunately both parties carried on making good music, and I naturally purchased both the Steve Hogarth era opening Marillion album Seasons End (1989) and the solo debut of Fish, Vigil in a Wildernerss of Mirrors, at the time of release. Back then I preferred, and still prefer, Vigil over the two-album beginning of the Hogarth era Marillion, helped also by the fact that the fantastic album cover artist Mark Wilkinson stayed with Fish. A bit later Marillion made some terrific albums such as Brave (1994), whereas most of the subsequent Fish albums were disappointing to me. Therefor Vigil has sovereignly remained my favourite Fish album (for your interest, my second fave is Raingods With Zippos, 1999).

The recordings of Vigil were finished in June 1989, but its release was delayed til January 1990 to avoid collision with Seasons End. Fish was accompanied with excellent musicians. Keyboardist Mickey Simmonds co-wrote all the songs on the great album (except 'View from the Hill', co-written with Janick Gers). The bass work of John Giblin, familiar to me from Simple Minds, was a real delight. In particular on 'State of Mind' which features also guitarist Hal Lindes (Dire Straits), who is credited as a co-composer.

This single was released well ahead of the album in October 1989. The lyrics of the slow/mid-tempo 'State of Mind' comment the general political discontent in the late Thatcher years. As I mentioned, Giblin's bass really shines here. The drummer in this song is actually John Keeble from Spandau Ballet. Backing vocalist Carol Kenyon was probably best known from the Heaven-17 hit 'Temptation' (1983). Interesting to learn all these guest appearances with the pop/mainstream background. It would feel a bit funny to name 'State of Mind' as an album highlight (simply because Vigil contains so much bigger things too), but it still sounds fresh and elegant. The single contains also a "Presidential Mix" which is roughly a minute longer, but otherwise I hear no crucial differences between the versions.

The faster-tempo and more aggressive sounding song 'The Voyeur (I Like to Watch)' was not included on the LP, only as a bonus track on the CD version. Musically it comes closest to 'Big Wedge', my least fave of the Vigil songs, and frankly I'm not fond of this one either. The composition is very repetitive, and the sharp synths and heavy drumming make it tiresome on the ears. 'State of Mind' is a four-star song, but three stars is enough for the whole single.

 Big Wedge by FISH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
2.77 | 19 ratings

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Big Wedge
Fish Neo-Prog

Review by alainPP

3 stars I chose to dust off the eternal FISH which represents despite his rants the frontman who created the neo for our happiness. (A hidden note for the Vigil of its debut, for fun.)

1 'Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors' the entrance was yesterday... in 1990, not yesterday a little further ahead; the keyboard, the real Marillionian voice, the only one, long before we say the Fishian voice; a long title a bit a cappella then symphonic, and my preference over the new Harillion which came out the same year; a chorus that touches you, a bit of Phil Collins and GENESIS third version, a break with biniou, I see the kilt and the end with a solo by Franck that reassures me; Marillionesque blood flows well here. The end like the intro, the prog effort to the end; the slap. 2 'Big Wedge' confirms to me what I was saying about COLLINS; brass, a more pop voice, a turn but that was the goal, at the risk of comparing his work with his band before; a bit of sax, a frantic rhythm and we'll have to deal with it; he at least is not trying to extend the mark. A starter title that magnifies the other more worked ones. 3 'State Of Mind' with Trewavas-like bass that fills the space, an airy air that makes me wonder; it's not in my views but I like it anyway; it's innovative with the acoustic guitar, the spleen, the jungle voices, the romantic ballad and the voice of FISH that takes you by the hand and takes you away. 4 'The Company' Marillionian intro if I feel it; instruments that create the atmosphere, a voice that makes you move, oh that's nice; we sail, yes the sailors' instruments confirm it to me it's sympho, folklo, it's well done on an amphetamine crescendo of hope and stuffed with orchestration 5 'A Gentleman's Excuse Me' syrupy nursery rhyme on the piano, moment of introspection and another short title which changes tune, rhythm, atmosphere; I see a FISH calm, calm, in consultation with his demons singing on a romantic title with waltzing couples, a singular moment 6 'The Voyeur (I Like To Watch)' well we find his voice here, don't be afraid, the title that I like the least, 20 years haven't managed to make me change my mind; it's too predictable and monolithic; yes I am unable to do the same, but I expect the best from an artist, don't you? The break saves the day with Genesis memories and a synth solo which stands out pleasantly, never criticizing before the end, something often done in our society which is no longer turning round, moreover is the earth still round? The end sends me back to the avant-garde experimentations of BOWIE 7 'Family Business' return to basic melody, piano and voice; Hal's Rotheryan guitar; the slow very progressive crescendo restores the spirit to this album which was beginning to decline in terms of concentration; a title that shows that his voice was indeed an asset on MARILLION 8 'View From The Hill' where we finally go over 6 minutes, I hope to be surprised (actually not since it's a review chronicle, I've known the album since its release); well I come back to the title, the 2nd one that makes you vibrate, a fishian-marillionesque conglomerate; a piece that smells of marshmallow, that flows from source with the rises on its typed voice, the relative explosion of the musicians who just make you climb on the musical edge... could it have been on the next MARILLION? the solo good, not very good and the orgasmic rise, yes remember at the time that was what we felt; and the outro with this guitar is the little extra that makes me melt. 9 'Cliché' well, I'm not telling you the story, you know it by heart; on the other hand, I come back to this piece, this intro, this progressive rise, this atmosphere, this musical sweetness, yes that's it, you picked it up, it was there that you said to yourself that the prog would continue to live in your heart, that it could not be otherwise, here I remind you of your personal, intimate snapshot, I reveal it to you, like this solemn, melancholic and beautiful solo by Frank; in short, it's not just music, it's a lot of emotion in the bar; the moment when you feel like hugging your partner, to try to share YOUR emotion with her; yes FISH did that on this title

Well, FISH didn't make a great album but a good album sweeping his band before to show another aspect; and keeping its sounds that made us swoon in the early 80s when the prog died despite infusions, the blood no longer flowed. So why put it as the headliner? Well for everything I marked but above all for reassuring us at this precise moment, before AYREON, ARENA and other groups after! In short, an OMNI is that too, it pierces the world of sound, it freezes time, it even makes it stop for a while.(5 for Vigil of course).

 Weltschmerz by FISH album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.91 | 155 ratings

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Weltschmerz
Fish Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Fish's solo career has had more than its fair share of ups and downs, with a fractious relationship with the major labels nudging him into taking a more independent path from Suits onwards, and patchy finances dogging his homegrown endeavours. Nonetheless, his solo albums have always had something of interest to them, and a few have been outright brilliant - Sunsets On Empire being perhaps the first bona fide classic he produced after leaving Marillion, and A Feast of Consequences being a late-career masterpiece.

Now, however, the game is over. Weltschmerz finds Fish following up the career high point of Feast of Consequences by putting an end to his career - at least as far as making solo studio albums goes. The sole double studio album of his career, it's a capstone to over three decades of toil since his exit from Marillion and, unless his plans change unexpectedly, marks the end of an era.

It would have been embarrassing, then, if it had turned out to be a clunker - in fact, it's quite the opposite. With a brooding, melancholy atmosphere suggestive of the world-weariness that the title implies, the album's long compositions take us on epic emotional journeys, addressing regrets and, perhaps towards the end, showing just a bit of the anger that came forth on Market Square Heroes or Forgotten Sons back in those early Marillion says - a few glowing sparks among the ashes suggesting that the fire has not gone out yet, even if it might fall to others to carry it forwards.

In many ways it's lazy and annoying to compare Fish to Marillion, given the differing musical paths they have followed and their mutual struggles to overcome the gravity well of the four albums they did together. Nonetheless, it's heartening to hear both parties coming into this sort of late-career renaissance, and producing albums like Feast of Consequences, FEAR, Weltschmerz and An Hour Before It's Dark which can act almost as companion pieces to each other - not because they're imitating each other, but because they're looking at the same damaged state of the world and offering their thoughts. Still, if Fish's solo career had one task, it was to prove to the world that he had something of artistic merit to say independent of Marillion, and Weltschmerz was his very last chance to do that. I'd say he succeeded with flying colours.

 The Last Straw by FISH album cover Live, 2022
4.44 | 15 ratings

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The Last Straw
Fish Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars When Fish recorded Clutching At Straws with Marillion in 1987, he and the band had no inkling that it would be their last album together. When he undertook the long recording process for Weltschmerz, which would eventually see release in 2020, his conscious intention was to draw a line under his solo career, at least as far as making studio albums went, and retire from that aspect of his work. Nonetheless, as a swansong to one phase of his career Clutching At Straws ended up being a serenditiously apt statement, with an air of finality to it as vivid as the one Fish consciously applied to Weltschmerz.

That might explain why The Last Straw works so well as a live album, for it captures a Fish concert with a very special setlist. All of the songs from Clutching At Straws (plus the contemporary B-side, Tux On) make an appearance on the set, accounting for a bit half the running time. The rest consists of around 42 minutes of songs which would all later see the light of day on Weltzscmerz - for this show was recorded in 2018, around two years before Weltschmerz finally released.

This is far from unprecedented for Fish. Suits, his first solo album after leaving Polydor, also saw a very long gestation period, and some songs from it had airings on shows predating his major label farewell, the cover album Songs From the Mirror. As he workshopped Suits, he undertook the "Toile Tour", with concerts aimed at refining the material on the road. This show, however, I think works better - in part because Suits was a bit of a transitional album for Fish, whereas Weltschmerz has a more confident style which builds on the excellent precedent set by A Feast of Consequences, and in part because marrying the Weltschmerz songs to Clutching At Straws has a certain logic to it. Last Marillion album with Fish, last Fish album with Fish, let's put them in a shaker and see how that cocktail works out...

Well, what you get is some nicely updated Marillion material - teasing out the bluesy torch song nature of much of Clutching At Straws - along with solid early pointers for the direction that Weltschmerz was involving in at this time. The nocturnal air of much of the material is a big help; all of this stuff feels like it very much belongs together, and it's great that Fish had a chance to blend the end of one career with that of another in such an inspired manner. The show itself hails from Glasgow, right at the end of the Last Straw tour, and therefore finds Fish and the band in exuberant mood, with the set now well-practiced. In addition, Fish himself is on fine form, making this yet another very fine late-career live album from him, which can sit proudly next to excellent live releases like Farewell To Childhood and The Moveable Feast.

The physical release of this includes as a bonus a DVD of a set from earlier in 2018, at Fairport Convention's Cropredy festival. Fish gives in the booklet the embarrassing story of how during the concert a hemorrhoid burst, leading to a trail of blood dribbling down the back of his trousers - and creating the impression he'd pooped himself onstage. In terms of his performance, it's nowhere near as embarrassing as that - but the DVD is very evidently at the mercy of the festival mixing desk, which is often not ideal, and so this should be regarded as an optional bonus rather than part of the main event here.

 Farewell to Childhood by FISH album cover Live, 2017
4.00 | 16 ratings

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Farewell to Childhood
Fish Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Way back in 2005, Fish did a special 20th anniversary tour for Misplaced Childhood, a live performance of which was chronicles on the Return to Childhood album. That was OK, I thought, but the main attraction of the show - Misplaced Childhood itself - sounded off to me, like Fish and his band hadn't quite cracked the problem of reconfiguring the songs to account for how Fish's voice has aged since his days in Marillion.

10 years later, and another big anniversary for Misplaced Childhood beckoned. Fish was enjoying a bit of a late-career peak at this timel with Feast of Consequences being perhaps his most accomplished solo album and the Movable Feast tour showcasing him and his band in fine form - in particular, his voice, which had been struggling for a while there from the late 1990s to the 2000s, seemed to have bounced back somewhat, albeit with the lower range that inevitably comes with age.

At the same time, Fish realised that whilst he was in rare form in 2015, there was no guarantee that he'd be in the same form in 2025... and nor would he necessarily want to be. Indeed, in 2020 Weltschmerz would be explicitly declared as being his retirement from studio albums; whether that sticks or not remains to be seen, but for a good few years now Fish has made it clear that he doesn't want to keep dragging his old hits out year after year until he falls to pieces onstage; he'd rather take a dignified last bow and go out strong than live to become a mockery of his former self, especially since he came close to suffering that fate already in his solo career.

As such, the 2015 tour was billed as the big farewell to Misplaced Childhood: this was it, game over. Fish might or might not include individual songs from the album on subsequent live gigs - though recent live sets do seem to have allowed it to lie fallow - but this would be 100% the last time he'd play through the entire concept album from start to end. And since Marillion had long since stopped doing that, that'd be it outside of tribute acts and the like.

Like the Return to Childhood album, this is a two-disc affair, with the first disc consisting entirely of Fish solo material. This time, Fish keeps this part short, keeping this part to 40 minutes - but damn, it's a good 40 minutes, with excellent picks from across the whole span of his solo albums. (Feast of Consequences is, of course, the title track from what was then Fish's latest album, whilst Family Business hails from his solo debut, Vigil In a Wilderness of Mirrors.) Rather than restricting himself to old standards, however, Fish also slips in a couple of deep dives - Long Cold Day from Fellini Days makes a surprise appearance, and the set opens with a great version of Pipeline from the unfairly maligned Suits album, a song which through subsequent live refinement has only become more potent.

Then disc 2 has the main event - the playthrough of Misplaced Childhood itself. This, I think, is substantially more successful than the version on Return To Childhood, both because the band do a smoother job of adjusting the material to a lower key and because Fish isn't trying to force his voice to do things it can't do (and he's rehabbed his voice to the point where it's a bit more reliable than it was in 2005). Two encores are provided, aptly chosen - Market Square Heroes because it was an early anthem of Fish's when he was Marillion, and The Company because ever since it first emerged it's become something of an anthem for Fish's solo career.

The end result is a substantially tighter set than Return to Childhood (100 minutes instead of a shade over 2 hours), and a better performance. This gives it the clear edge, to my mind, and that's good. Presented in fairly lavish packaging - in a similar form factor to the recent remasters of Fish's back catalogue - Farewell To Childhood joins The Movable Feast in being part of Fish's recent effort to put out some really nice, high-quality live releases, to make up for the somewhat hit and miss nature of his previous live efforts. I can't say it quite measures up to that, but it does more justice to Misplaced Childhood than the Return To Childhood release did.

 The Moveable Feast (European Tour 2013-2015) by FISH album cover Live, 2016
4.85 | 7 ratings

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The Moveable Feast (European Tour 2013-2015)
Fish Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Early on in his solo career, Fish went fairly cheap and cheerful when it came to live albums - shortly after he crashed out of his second major label contract and became an independent artist, he put out a clutch of "official bootleg" releases on the cheap in order to generate money to start his own label and set up his own studio, and for much of his subsequent career his live albums have been put out on a similar basis.

That doesn't mean that they're all bad - more that they are hit and miss, particularly since Fish and his solo band's financial standing has been shaky enough that it's been sometimes necessary to push product out there to make money fast. At its worst, this has meant Fish has ended up putting out live shows where there were, admittedly, some technical snags here and there, or which capture his voice in less than perfect condition - because he needed to put the material out there to get some quick income, regardless of the reputational hit which might result.

The Moveable Feast, however, feels like a different proposition: it's part of Fish's series of live releases which are presented with a similar form factor to the recent remasters of his back catalogue. Like the Gone Fishing set, it seems to represent an attempt to up the production value of Fish's live albums' packaging; in addition, it also provides some of the best-sounding live material from Fish we've heard in years.

It helps that, as the title hints, the album is sourced from the tour for A Feast of Consequences - one of Fish's absolute best solo albums. In fact, it gives you two entire shows from that tour, allowing the listener to hear how the tour started out and what shape it ended in towards the end.

The first show you get here is from 2013, close to the album's release. Thankfully, after a number of live releases where I felt Fish's voice was, perhaps, not 100% (or not captured well), he seems to be on form, and with great material like A Feast of Consequences and the cream of his solo back catalogue to choose from (not least some select cuts from Marillion), he and his band provide an eye-opening performance.

If they are shaky anywhere, it's on parts of the Marillion material. It would be utter foolishness to expect Fish to hit the same notes he did back when Script For a Jester's Tear released, and so some adaptation to the song is inevitable and necessary - but the end result is that some of the material sounds a bit off, especially if you are used to the Marillion-era performances.

By comparison, the slow, foreboding take on He Knows You Know is a particular highlight of this set - in part because that's a song which lends itself to a low croon rather than the higher notes that other early Marillion songs call for. And, of course, the band and Fish are entirely comfortable with the new material, not least because that's been written for Fish's current voice, not the voice he had when he was 25.

The second show hails from 2014 - a year and four days after the first set, to be exact - and in terms of its setlist it has enough overlap that it's clearly from the same tour but enough distinguishing it to save it from being a mere rerun of the 2013 show. In particular, Fish and band are now confident enough with the new material to attempt the entire five-track High Wood suite from the album (on the 2013 show, they played only a subset of it).

And let me tell you, this show is a banger - if the first show took a while to creep up on me, this had me gripped from the start. Between its two sets, The Moveable Feast is an absolute revelation. We always knew that Fish was a great frontman - numerous Marillion live releases from his era stand as testimony to that. The glut of live album he'd released over the course of his career - sometimes compelled by commercial circumstance rather than inspired by artistic choice - has eroded that reputation slightly, in part by capturing shows with patchy technical issues or Fish's voice struggling in a warts-and-all manner.

It says a lot that, even though I do like several of Fish's earlier live albums, I can't say I outright love any of them the same way I do his best studio albums. The Sushi set from 1993 is probably the best of his early solo career live releases, and then after that it all gets very patchy. With The Moveable Feast, Fish finally produces the five-star solo live album we all knew he had in him, but which circumstances had conspired to thwart until now.

 Leamington Spa Convention 2012 by FISH album cover Live, 2013
2.91 | 16 ratings

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Leamington Spa Convention 2012
Fish Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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 setlist.fm, 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.

 Raingods With Zippos by FISH album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.68 | 261 ratings

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Raingods With Zippos
Fish Neo-Prog

Review by Dapper~Blueberries
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I am a really big fan of Marillion, and many Neo-Prog stuff as a whole. I don't know, something just clicks with me whenever I listen to an album that has a certain style and aura around it, especially when it is in the realm of neo Prog. I love how dramatic, emotional, poetic, and how theatrically grand it can really get. So with my love for the genre, I decided to check out one of the main contributors to the whole movement that came about in the early 80s, and that'd be Marillion's old singer and songwriter, Derek Dick, better known as, Fish. I have been itching to see what this man can achieve with his solo work since his time with Marillion was nothing short of amazing, even when it only lasted a mere 4 albums. So I decided to check this album out to see what Fish can pull off after his chapter with Marillion closed.

The first song on here is Tumbledown. It starts off with this very elegant piano instrumental. It has a nice progression through this little segment, and is super beautiful. However this all is taken aback with the song fully starting up with some pop like chords and riffs. This was honestly quite unexpected when it first happened, and kinda disappointing. The reason for it is that the change doesn't fit. I know Prog is very eclectic and loves to change up styles and sounds on a dime, but generally it is best to make it sound consistent and smooth. Imagine it as a dinner plate. You got your meats, your cheeses, your veggies, maybe even a dessert. Lots of different stuff, but all work well with one another to where it never really bothers you. Here, it's weird, it doesn't fit. We went from a nice and somber sounding piano instrumental, but then we immediately switched to something that is the exact opposite, something cheery sounding and poppy. It doesn't feel consistent or anywhere to feel good. But I do commend the song for being very catchy and enjoyable besides the whole switch up, but even then it does just feel like your average pop song, not even like a Prog pop song, just normal pop. Kind of a downer to be honest.

Next we got Mission Statement. I really enjoy this song. It's catchy, and has a sorta swing to it. It gets you hooked pretty easily and has a lot of rhymically fun grooves and beats. However I started to really notice a little something off with Fish's vocals. I decided to compare what they were in the 80s to here and I saw that he doesn't have that same Scottish spunk he had in his voice here than he did back when he was in Marillion. He barely has that very meaty accent and voice he had, which is really disappointing cause that aspect of his voice is what made me fall in love with his old band in the first place. I cannot help but feel a sense of loss with this song and the remainder of the album going forward. It's just some little things I wished stuck you know?

The next track is Incomplete. This is a very cool and sorta noir sounding acoustic song with an addition of Elisabeth Antwi also being a lead vocalist here in conjunction with Fish. Honestly, this song is great. Because it is acoustic, instrumentation is going to be a lot less intrusive and makes the song a lot more realized than what it would be if it were filled with nothing but instruments. Funny how this song feels the most complete song here while it's called Incomplete. I also really love that whole duet of Fish and Elisabeth singing together, and to be honest I wished it happened more on this album. This album definitely has a problem of introducing an idea but never actually runs with it. Every song is so different from the last that the only consistency is the sorta pop-like stature these songs have. I like my Prog consistent in that everything, no matter the differences, fits together in some way or shape. Here, nothing fits and it feels weird.

Now we got Tilted Cross, and I think we are getting somewhere now. After Incomplete I expected something very different but now we have this, another great acoustic track, with great chord progressions. It was very breathtaking to actually hear the album starting to feel like it has a clear identity, but then I start to question, why now? This is the fourth song on the album, and we got through three songs that are all very different from one another, and now we are getting some kind of form and shape within the album after all this time? It seems kind of fishy (puns intended) that now we are getting songs that are consistent from one another despite the differences.

Next we got Faithhealer. Now we are back to the pop stuff, but a lot more new wave and similar to that of Tumbledown. I don't really have much gripes with this song, it's fun and catchy, and I think I have already made my mark clear on my problems with this song, or songs now on this album. I won't deny I am sorta bashing this album a lot so why not introduce some kind of positivity, like the guitars. I really like the guitars so far on this album, the quintet of guitarists of Bruce Watson of Foreigner, Robin Boult, Til Paulman, Phil Grieve, and the legendary Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree do such an amazing job with their guitar playing. They give out a strong power within the album that hooks you right in, and this song is definitely one of their best due to the heavy chords and playing. Definitely really good.

Next we got Rites Of Passage, one last acoustic ballad, except it's a lot more orchestral and somber. I honestly really really like this tune, and looking past every issue I have for this album again, I cannot deny that this song is great and really well made. How the instrumentation just melts around Fish's vocals, and how it definitely feels very emotional. It's really nice and gives out a lot of those good feelings out of you, with a sorta bittersweet feeling attached all around. This is definitely one of those highlight songs on the album.

Now we get to the last song. From what I have researched this is Fish's first solo epic, and this is called Plague of Ghosts. I was curious about what it would sound like. After finishing it, I guess it was alright. The segments were good and the suite was definitely polished and well worth going through, but to be honest I just think nothing ever really sounds right throughout it all. Again, this album has a very huge inconsistency problem, and this song is just a shortened version of that. Some parts feel like they are from different albums all together, and when there is an idea going, they never fully roll with it, they just immediately switch over to the next part on a dime without any second thought. I cannot say I am mad at this, just very disappointed. I expected a bit more, and I know Fish can do more, he has done far more, but here, he wasn't at his clear peak of creative and writing highs at the moment, and that really sucks.

So this album is ok all around but throughout it all it felt very inconsistent, a little too bland in some cases, and just doesn't have any identity besides the three-ish acoustic songs and the long suite at the end. I cannot deny it has good moments, but the experience is definitely not one I'd recommend. Only check it out if you know what to expect with the album.

 Communion by FISH album cover Live, 2007
3.79 | 30 ratings

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Communion
Fish Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This wasn't Fish's first attempt at putting out an acoustic set - the Acoustic Session release from back when he was first setting up the Dick Brothers Record Company preceded this - but it's his most expansive one, being a two-disc, nearly two hour-long live show of acoustic arrangements of his material.

This isn't a completely absurd move; Fish had dabbled in including a few celtic folk influences into his sound over his solo career, which meant he already had a chunk of material which lent itself to this approach, and generally a good job is done of selecting tracks which fit the general vibe. (The one Marillion-era pick, Slainthe Mhath, is an apt one in that respect.)

The issue, however, is that by concentrating to this extent on this dimension of Fish's repertoire, the set inevitably ends up lop-sided and a little samey, and also much of the material doesn't sound that much different in the acoustic format than in its original. In some cases, Fish and the band adapt the material a little more freely, but their judgement is shaky there: State of Mind was fine as a four-minute song and could have been wrapped up in that time here, it didn't need three minutes of jamming tacked onto the end, especially not when much of that jamming is the sort of high-energy affair which would work better in an electric set to begin with.

It's alright, I suppose, but it's harder and harder at this stage in Fish's career to avoid the fact that his voice is not what it was in his prime, and overall the collection doesn't hold my interest as much as either his original studio albums or his better early-career live albums do.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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