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 nostalgia.

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.

Setlist:

Perception of Johnny Punter
What Colour is God ?
Goldfish and Clowns
Family Business
Mr.1470
Jungle Ride
Oldies Medley
* Assassing
* Credo
* Tongues
* Fugazi
* White Feather
Change of Heart
Brother 52
Cliche
Lucky

Internal Exile/The Company

Gentleman's Excuse Me
Lavender

Boston Tea Party

 

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