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Fish / Doris Brendel http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/3c/04/32/Fish-Live-Thumb-6-1547318510.jpg Hot

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Fish / Doris Brendel - Rock City, Nottingham (UK) - 10 December 2018

It had been quite a few years since I had last seen Fish play live. I believe it was at "Scunny Baths" before it was all done up (possibly 10/5/06), and the thing I remember most was that the show and the musicians he had with him were both excellent.

Before that though, we had support artiste Doris Brendel. Now I thought this was going to be an "Alice Cooper" situation, where "Doris" was going to be a bloke in make-up who wasn't actually called "Doris". I was wrong. First we had guitarists come on in Steampunk gear, followed by a delightful young lady called... Doris, who proceeded to sing and then whip out her stainless steel recorder (which she called an Irish Whistle, but you can't fool me). They (the whole ensemble) were very good, and she told us that she first met Fish when she was in a band that supported Marillion around thirty-one years ago. So, maybe not so young, but still looking very good for her age. As you can imagine, the music wasn't a million miles away from what both Marillion and Fish do, although with the recorder/whistle, some did sound a little Country & Western, and the best song was their finisher, which involved two floor standing tom toms at the front of the stage, played very dramatically by the two guitarists. The audience loved it and she received a really good send off.


Doris Brendel Live

So, on to Fish who, as I said, I have not seen for a long time. Doris re-appeared, as she was the backing singer for the man, and the crowd started chanting her name, which pleased and surprised her no end. Fish, with a big beaming smile as though he was meeting good friends he hadn't seen for a while, walked to the centre and gave a really low bow, spreading both arms wide. Then, straight into 'Slàinte Mhath' which got the crowd into it straight away. Now, as this was advertised as the 'Clutching At Straws' tour, I expected that the album's songs would be played en bloc and in the right order. That was obviously not going to happen, as that song is third from the end on that work. And indeed, the next song was 'Man With A Stick', which is a new song inspired by the death of his father in 2016, and which the man enacted, very poignantly, with the use of a walking stick.

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He then brought on a barstool, which he told us they had "nicked from Norway", telling us that this was now needed as his knees were fucked and his back was fucked, and his new pre-show drug is Ibuprofen, before saying that the next song should always be performed on a bar stool. He then performed three 'Clutching...'. songs with no break between, with the crowd joining in loudly with 'Warm Wet Circles'. After explaining that the new album 'Weltschmerz' was initially a single disc, but due to Brexit, May and Trump it had now become a double, there was another new song called 'Little Man, What Now?' which is all about the ups and downs of life. And this was how it went on, playing the Marillion tracks, interspersed with his new material, with very funny stories in between. A bit like Billy Connelly in reverse.


Fish Live

One other thing I do have to mention; prior to starting another new number 'C Song', he explained that the song was conceived in Trondheim and based on the 'Trondheim Waltz' and, in the middle there was an instrumental bit where he wanted the crowd to turn to whoever was next to them and do the 'Trondheim Waltz' for fifteen seconds, explaining that the whole audience in Holland had done this. This was Nottingham! To be fair though, some of the crowd did do it. After the main set, they came back to do the only Marillion song tonight not on 'Clutching...', 'Tux On', which again got everybody going, before ending with 'Incommunicado', which the whole hall seemed to sing along with.

So, I have to say that, over the years, Fish has not lost his sense of humour or the ability to entertain. The old lad has put on a bit of weight, but his energy levels don't appear to have dropped as he was on stage for over two hours. And two thoughts drifted into my head as he was leaving; wouldn't it be great if he just filmed one of these shows in its entirety, with nothing taken out (assuming it has not already been done, but if it has I haven't seen it), and also, wouldn't it be something if he could re-unite with the original Marillion guys just for a few shows? Write to your MP now.

Setlist:- Slàinte Mhath, Man With A Stick, Hotel Hobbies/Warm Wet Circles/That Time Of The Night, Little Man What Now?, Torch Song, White Russian, Just For The Record, C Song, Going Under, Sugar Mice, Waverley Steps, The Last Straw, Encore: Tux On, Incommunicado.

Review and photos Andy Brailsford

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