Mick Pointer & Friends
Thursday, 17th April 2008
The Boerderij, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands
It was twenty five years ago since Marillion released their legendary debut-album Script For A Jester's Tear. It was the only album that featured drummer Mick Pointer, who is currently still in the major league of progressive rock, with his band Arena. Mick Pointer is celebrating this anniversary with a small tour around Europe, recently extended with several dates into early 2009,
with some music friends. A big star on stage accompanying Mick is Nick Barrett from Pendragon on the guitar. Pendragon took off in the slipstream in that time and opened frequently for Marillion. From Arena, Ian Salmon is playing bass, and Mike Varty from Credo is playing the keyboards. The difficult task for portraying and performing the vocals of Fish is placed on the shoulders of a man called Brian Cummins, who is the singer for a Genesis tribute band called The Carpet Crawlers. Besides singing like Fish he also appeared in full costume and painted face. Those names alone is enough to gather a prog audience, the set-list of old-Marillion songs is the icing on the cake.
But first up was Dutch band Kramer. This neo-progressive four-piece band suited perfectly as an opener. Their sound is dominated by vocalist and keyboard player Marc Besselink. His voice is hypnotizing and he prefers a piano sound instead of mellotron or synthesizer sounds. Kramer does not excel in diversity and their long songs were, for some of the audience unfamiliar with their work, a tough nut to crack. They were promoting their latest album Life Cycle but strangely their set-list mainly contained songs that do not originate from that album. A good performance by a band with a professional attitude that hopefully will grow to become a major prog-player.
One by one Mick Pointer & Friends entered the stage, with the biggest applause saved for crowd favourite Nick Barrett. The first part of the set consisted of the entire Script For A Jester's Tear album played from back to front. Brian Cummins proved to be a good portrayer of the legendary Marillion front man Fish. His voice is very similar and he has the same Scottish accent which made the resemblance very vivid. He is not the well-spoken story-teller and repeatedly introduced the songs as "probably the first time you will hear this one performed live". It was certainly not the first time they heard the songs, the audience knew every word, melody and time change. An opportunity to experience this legendary album in an ambiance among equally minded music lovers. There are always some parts that are perfect for some interaction, the roundabout tune from Script For A Jester's Tear was whistled/hummed by everyone. A song such as The Web has not been played often and was one of my personal highlights. Most impressive was the silence during Forgotten Sons. Brian, dressed in an army jacket with rifle, did not have to persuade people to be quiet.
The anniversary of the Script was celebrated and the show continued with more songs from Marillion's Pointer-era. During the first act people were already shouting for Grendel, this epic song is a huge favourite among the fans. Some people even requested some Pendragon songs but Brian wittily responded that he was afraid some people might want to hear Supper's Ready from Genesis. Of course
Grendel was played and that alone was worth the trip to Zoetermeer. With a scary mask and a superb performance this was by far the highlight of the show. Market Square Heroes always guarantees a huge response and a burst of energy. The encore Margareta is only present as a live recording on B-sides themselves but was still familiar to the majority of the crowd. The lyrics to this Scottish traditional song were however not as well known as Brian expected. He was really trying to get the people to sing but the response varied from la-la-la to yeah-yeah-yeah. A weird ending to an exceptional evening.
Script For A Jester's Tear
He knows You Know
Three Boats Down From The Candy
Charting The Single
Market Square Heroes