Amazing musical evening that could be enjoyed by around four hundred people at Caracol venue in Madrid. There I saw all kind of different people. Businessmen in suits shared company with straight-edge metal fans, lots of girls (too much for a prog show), etc, etc.
Before talking about the show I´d like to say that all the posters and advertisements stated that the show was going to be a FISH´s show. You can love his music or not, but he has built a solo career since late eighties and he has released many solo albums. I´m saying this because I was ashamed of the people who were asking for Marillion´s songs, and all the more so when the tour was called “Field of Crows”.
Well, in short you´ll have one interview with the Scottish big man here in progVisions.
The music started very soon with Syd Barretina, a guitar player from Catalonia (Spain) who plays covers of Pink Floyd helped only by an acoustic guitar. Barretina is the name of the typical Catalonian hat. Since I had to talk to my partners to promote forthcoming IQ show in Spain (yes, progVisions will promote another concert in Spain!), I couldn´t pay attention to the whole set. But I liked everything I listened to.
The next band was the “uninvited guests” of the night. An unknown band called Never the Bride who literally ate the audience with a sort of american rock enriched with wonderful melodies. The females singer, a muscly short girl with tattoed arms was very pretty and nice… and she sang as if she was daughter of Janis Joplin, Allanah Myles and Sheryl Crow. The girl took the audience by the throat so the show wasn´t a mere supporter band´s show. He talked about the victims of the terrorist attack in Madrid and she was very communicative. Once the show was finished I bought their last album, with the song that finished the show “The Living Tree”. Believe me, perhaps this is not progressive rock, but if you like good music and female voices, you should listen to this band. You can take a look at www.neverthebride.com. Ah, this girl also sang at Oldfield´s “Earth Moving”.
And finally the big star of the night… a short intro played by the band and then the Scottish entered the stage with a walking stick as if he was an old man. But suddendly he sat up nd the old man´s walking stick became a baton. The first song was “The Rookie”, one of the highlights of the new album. Since the tour is called “Field of Crows”, most part of the set was dedicated to this album, and that´s why he trusts on the new material. So, Fish also sang “Zoo Class”, “Numbers”, with a speech about Iraq war and terrorist attack in Madrid, “Innocent Party” and “Moving Targets”. In the same way he went over his discography… from “Fellini´s Days” he sang “Tiki 4”; from “Sunsets on Empire” we listened to “Jungle Ride” and “The Preception of Johnny Punter”; and from the debut solo album “Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors” we enjoyed a lot with a wonderful “Vigil” and an emotive “Cliché”. The show finished with “Raingods Dancing” and “Wake-up call”, two parts of “Plague of Ghosts” suite taken from “Raingods with Zippos”.
The band was correct but I´ll remmark the great guitar player Frank Usher, a guy without visual charisma but incredibily skillful. Fish had a great voice and it was never forced, so there wasn´t any guest backing vocalist except a young musicians who also plays acoustic guitar.
Before the show, when I interviewed Fish, he assured me that he was very tired of carrying a musician´s life with all the tours and so on, but the only thing he loves is when he´s on stage… and it´s true… he was very cheerful, ironic, and very talkative. Even when a nerd shouted Grendel!! when Fish was going to introduce a song, Fish stopped and waited until the idiot got tired of shouting, and he said… “have you finished?”, and after that he said “the answer is NOOOOOOO… today there´s no fucking “Grendel”!.
Well, after the happy ending with “Plague of Ghosts” was the moment of the encores. The first one was a medley with “So Fellini”, “Lucky”, “Internal Exile”, and… “Market Square Heroes”. Before the medley there was a keyboard intro with some “Lavender” tunes. Well, that was the only reference to Marillion´s music, and I think it´s fine.
After sweating and jumping and shouting and enjoying with “Market Square Heroes” and “Internal Exile” the band left the stage but soon they returned for the last song… a great “The Company”.
And that´s all. Those who wanted a Marillion Clearwater Revisited´s show had to return home very fucked, but I must admit that most part of the audience was very happy with the show. I´m a great fan of Marillion with Fish and I´m not the biggest fan of his solo career (a masterpiece (the first album) and three very good albums (“Internal”, “Raingods”, and “Field of Crows”) and that´s all) but I understand when an ARTIST wants to be acclaimed by his current work and not by something he did twenty years ago. I would have killed for a ticket when Fish played “Misplaced Childhood” in Holland, but I understand it was a special show.
I won´t compare current Marillion with current Fish because they play different music, but I must say that Fish still offers ROCK shows and he still has an immortal charisma. In my opinnion Fish has been (and still he is) a real survivor and a victim of his integrity as an artist, and in both aspects he´ll always be the winner against his old mates.
Perhaps (as he says) he´s “old, bald and Scottish”, but there´s no other like him.
(photos by A. Algora and Luis Berreiros)