“Not just a voice in the crowd” - Fish in concert at the 02 Academy Liverpool on Friday 19th December 2014. Review and photographs by Alan Hewitt.
I make no apologies for including this review within the pages of TWR. Comparisons (usually lazy and ill-informed) between Fish and Peter Gabriel era Genesis have been made for many a year so I won’t bore you with them here.
However, one thing that anyone who has seen either protagonist in concert will tell you is the fact that both Mr Dick and Mr Gabriel possess one thing in abundance - stage presence! And so it was on a blustery Friday night in the confines of the 02 Academy as an expectant and decidedly partisan crowd waited for their hero to take the stage.
Once he did, Fish immediately demonstrated why he is admired so fiercely by his fans, his gaze silenced the crowd and he waited until he had our full attention before beginning the show with Perfume River from his latest album: Feast Of Consequences. The majority of the set drew upon this latest opus and I for one am not complaining about that, as to my mind, it has to be his most satisfying for some time.
And at its heart is the breathtaking homage to the fallen of World War One which has to be seen and heard to be believed. Fish might not have the vocal range that he used to but there are few performers who can generate the sheer range of emotions and drama that he can and this part of the show was worth the entrance price on its own.
Silencing the wags in the crowd who called out for Grendel and other hoary Marillion classics Fish eventually brought out some of the best from his back catalogue with the emphasis being placed on his first solo album: Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors, with excellent renditions of Big Wedge and The Company bringing back a great many memories for yours truly. Heart Of Lothian too, elicited a wholehearted cheer from the crowd and no doubt brought tears of nostalgia to many an eye - mine included!
With Fish’s announcement that he intends to retire from live performance in 2017, this show took on an altogether more emotional resonance as performers such as he are sadly few and far between these days. As such, this show was another superb demonstration from a performer who possesses all the same qualities as Peter Gabriel; an ability and willingness to challenge preconceptions, an iron will and incredible self belief and above all, the ability to write songs which move the heart and challenge the mind a truly great performance from a truly great performer.