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Fish - Return to Childhood CD (album) cover





3.13 | 42 ratings

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3 stars They say you can't go back again...Fish goes anyway

This 2005 Dutch performance finds Fish going all the way back to the mid 1980s to deliver the entire "Misplaced Childhood" album in uninterrupted glory. The album was the jewel of the Fish-Marillion years, a perfect blend of progressive elements with melodic, catchy songwriting. After nearly an hour of more recent solo material, the second part of the show is dedicated to a new live recreation of perhaps the finest Marillion album bar none.

While I don't want to dwell on age, the show can't be watched without noticing that time leaves no man unscathed. When the vocalist is the star of the show it is even more noticeable. A vocalist like Fish, or Robert Plant, or Ian Anderson, cannot hide behind a cool guitar in the shadows---they are front and center. Fish does not possess either the voice of the energy level he did during the original Childhood shows. This on top of a truly dodgy production make the DVD a challenge at times and yet I think fans of the album should still enjoy it.

Like Ian Anderson, Fish does not allow physical limitations to impede his showmanship or dry up his passion. He goes for it all 110%. His vocals are on-the-mark in terms of emotional punch, they lack mostly in high end delivery. This is soothed by some awesome female backing vocals that fill in the spaces Fish is unable to reach. He is surrounded by a superb band, most notably the dual electric guitars which simply blow the doors off the signature leads from "Lavender" and their later reprise. These important guitar sections seem a bit more pronounced than Rothery used to make them, Fish wanting to push the emotional and melodic high points for all they are worth. Musically the band delivers the outstanding material with enough respect for the original to please album fans, yet with enough spunk to please fans who like live performances to vary from the album.

The downside in my view was two-fold. First the sound on the high end was pretty harsh in several places, especially on the vocal track. Perhaps they were trying to boost the mic but the effect was to make a harsh, over-trebly aftertaste especially on the early vocals in the Childhood set. Second, the video editing and the lighting of this show were visually annoying. The lighting was unnecessarily rave-like, constant strobes to the point of silliness and the stage was very dark so you couldn't see much. Dark stages can be great when handled well but that's not the case here. The editing was way too fast and it seemed like you never had the chance to focus on a performer for more than a split second before you either lost him/her in darkness, or the shot moved on yet again.

Let's face it, for so many reasons, Marillion's "Live from Loreley" remains the definitive Fish era overview despite its own sound issues. But for those fans who love the "Misplaced Childhood" album, I believe you will enjoy this DVD very much, especially if you don't mind watching rock veterans who are a bit past their glory days.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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