Fish - September 19th 1997
live at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
By J.J. de Haan
To be honest, I lost my interest in Fish two years ago, when the
Yin and Yang albums were released. I thought it was a
total rip-off. For years I bought everything our Scotsman
released, but this flood of re-releases/re-recordings (both
acoustic and non-acoustic) were too much. It was time for him to
record some proper stuff, I thought. And then came Sunsets on
Empire, a record I really had to get used to, but then it really
grew on me. And then, more good news arrived through the
internet, Mickey Simmonds was back!! Let's see that show....`
The support act, who were really great, played some Crowded
House-like semi-acoustic songs and got the best applause I've
ever heared for a support act. Especially their version of the
Beatles Norwegian Wood got well received by the enthousiastic
audience. In the break, I bought a live-double album called
Fish Head Curry. Finally Fish understood how to make these
things exclusive: a numbered limited edition (5000 copies), only
available by mail-order or at concerts.
After 15 minutes the Lisa Simpson-tape introduced:.... Fish! A
guitarist appeared to play the powerful guitar-riff of "Johnny
Punter". At first I didn't recognise him, but is was Robin Boult,
who really impressed me with his new powerful style. No longer
second man next to Frankie Usher, but a front man in his own
right. The rest of the band also sounded great, 'Squeaky' Stewart
is the best drummer Fish ever played with, and Mickey Simmonds is
a keyboard magician who managed to play violin, guitars, flute,
bagpipe and every other instrument on just two keyboards!! (Rick
who?) Steve Vantsis plays less melodic than Davey Paton, but fits
well into this band.
With What Colour is God (dedicated to Malcolm X),
Jungle Ride, and Goldfish and Clowns, Fish proved
that Sunsets is a very strong album. Goldfish got a nasty
introduction about the lack of sex when being on tour. But
tonight was a happy night, because Tammy (Fish's wife) was
present and brought some Haggis for him.
A little surprise (for many of us) was the return of a song from
the year 1988 ('when the dinausours died'), Family
Business. About 1200 people singing "I've heared a battle
raging..." was an emotional moment.
The only song of the Suits-album was Mr.1470, which really
had grown since the last tour. It was played less 'poppy' and
Squeaky played at his top, using both electronic drums and
samples for this song.
With Assassing a medley of Oldies started. I'm not really
a fan of these things. I'd prefer two complete songs, instead of
four halfs, but (as with Genesis) it's the only way to hear some
songs from a different lifetime. This Assassing was a fast
one, running into a short but impressing drum-solo that lead into
Credo, which slowed down to a 'dark' version of
Tongues (with the crowd as howling wolves), followed by a
bit of Fugazi ('where are the poets') which lead (a bit
confusing) into White Feather. I've heard better than this
version. Nevertheless, it concluded 15 minutes of well received
After this musical journey, Robin took the acoustic guitar for
the wonderful Change of Heart, which regretably 'stranded'
because of equipment failures during the guitar-solo.
Brother 52 followed including wonderful keyboard
('violin') solo by Mickey. I love this! He received a warm
'welcome back' applause. Fish again introduced Mickey and Robin
as mates since the first tour. No song more suitable than
Cliche. Mickey's intro was perfect and so was Robin's solo
at the end.
With Lucky the official set ended with a singing crowd,
asking for more.
Internal Exile was dedicated to 'a soon to be free state
of Scotland' and led into the closing part of The Company.
After a few minutes Mickey Simmonds returned to the stage to play
a marvellous intro to A Gentleman's Excuse Me. Shivers
down my spine. Just piano and voice. It ended with a piano-solo,
slowing down to the intro of Lavender. This song was
played so subtle, I prefer this version to the Marillion one.
Halfway this song the complete band returned to finish with the
Blue Angel-part of the Misplaced Album, yes!
The audience hadn't had enough yet, and shouted for another 5
minutes. The band again returned and Fish told us that, since
Robin just returned to his band they had no material left. But
since Robin insisted on one more song they promised to try. A
joyful Boston Tea Party really was the final end of this
great powerful show. A special evening, not only because my
girlfriend and I met on this very evening three years ago at a
Fish concert in Paradiso for the first time, but also because we
had one minute of silence at 11 o'clock, to remember the death of
a 30 year old Dutch guy who, got beaten to death because he made
some comments on street-violence. 1200 people and a rock-band in
total silence. Yes, it was indeed an impressive evening.
Perception of Johnny Punter
What Colour is God ?
Goldfish and Clowns
* White Feather
Change of Heart
Internal Exile/The Company
Gentleman's Excuse Me
Boston Tea Party