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Paradiso, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
November 15th 2005

In the Amsterdam rock temple of Paradiso a mixed crowd had gathered at the doors. Young and old had come to witness the concert and DVD recordings of today’s show in the ‘Misplaced Childhood Tour’ of Scottish singer, poet, actor and entertainer Fish. It was the second of three concerts in the Netherlands and with the DVD recordings in a monumental venue this promised to be one of those special nights.

Fish has been in the trade for over 30 years now, working as a singer for various bands such as Marillion and the SAS band as well as his extensive solo career of close to 20 years. But there is more to this very tall Scot, he likes to act and has done so in a number of movies and series. Maybe not as well known to the general audience but surely recognised by his fans are his writing skills. His lyrics deal with every day problems and feelings of the man in the mirror. His writing style is poetic and dark, just the reason why we had to review the concert.

It has been a long career for Fish so far. He has recently released his compilation album ‘Bouillabaisse’ with his best solo songs combined with some Marillion tracks. On this album seems to be the prelude to this tour based around the 20th anniversary of the Marillion best seller ‘Misplaced Childhood’. When Fish hit the stage at exactly the right time (other musicians should take notice of this) the venue was filled with anticipation. Many of the older fans had seen him before in the past, many young ones had never seen him. Only the lucky few who were at the first concert kind of knew what to expect. Over the years Fish’ voice has aged, making it harder if not impossible for him to reach the higher notes. The man however manages to work his way around this. He either asks (and gets) the help of the audience or he just changes vocal lines where needed. At the same time he has a good backing vocalist and band members who provide some additional vocals. The band members who interpret the songs in their own way, more so with the Marillion songs than with those of Fish however. The first notes of ‘Big Wedge’ get the crowd going and after a number of great solo songs the venue is on fire, singing along loudly when the band finally leaves the stage one by one while playing ‘Credo’. The venue never goes quiet during the intermission Rossini’s ‘La Gazza Ladra’ is played reminding the audience of the intro of ‘The Thieving Magpie’.

Then it’s time for the 2005 live version of the entire ‘Misplaced Childhood’ album. Goose pocks appear on skins when the maestro starts singing an intimate version of ‘Psuedo Silk Kimono’ changing into the well known ‘Keyleigh’ and ‘Lavender’. The audience never goes quiet again with many singing along the entire album.  Fish seems to have more trouble singing these songs because they are higher pitched. But he manages to pull it off, sometimes just barely, but then again this only adds to the drama and emotion incorporated in the songs. When the end of the album approaches the tempo picks up and the full and powerful voice of Fish is impressive as is the band who awakens energy in everybody. Just because the audience doesn’t want to let go of Fish he has to return for a much appreciated encore. Still not satisfied the crowd calls for more and is treated with ‘Fugazi’ a clear favourite to many. With a football chant ‘We’ll be Coming’ Fish ends the show a capella.

The sound this night was good in some places and terrible in others. On the galleries all sounds well, and so it does in the back of the venue. In front of the stage the bass to too dominant and at times Fish can hardly be heard.

Maybe you thought the music part was elaborate but there was even more to see on stage than can be written down. Fish is an entertainer, no song is sung standing still, he’s moving all over the stage trying to make as much contact with the audience as possible. From the first moment he enters the stage till the very last second he’s in control of the crowd. Whatever Fish wants, he gets; waving hands, singing along, dancing Fish does it all and gets the audience to join in. In his plain grey pants and shirt and an Arab scarf loose around his neck Fish doesn’t need anything special to be the centre of attention. His dramatic moves, hands are often high in the air or his whole body is breaking away from his microphone. His face is showing intense emotions as well as dedication to the music. He pulls out everything he has inside. During the ‘Misplaced Childhood’ part of the show he’s also acting on stage, sitting down on a monitor speaker completely into his own world as if he were again that person whose story he’s telling. It is remarkable how much energy the tall Scotsman has, he is never slowing down and seems to feed on the audience’s vibe. The special layout of Paradiso gives him the opportunity to make contact with many of his fans; those at the balcony and those in front of the stage. In the background a big projection screen provides images to go along with the music, a nice touch though most people only have eyes for Fish himself. The light is good, never interfering with the projections and giving the audience a good view of what's happening on stage. Extra lights on the audience provide the band a chance to see the reactions to the music.

The rest of the band is more in the background and only occasionally steps into the limelight when they do a solo or when they are introduced. This however doesn’t harm the show in any way because they all seem very happy with what they’re doing. The atmosphere, the audience, it all seems to feed both the band as well as Fish with energy to give their all. Slowly the shirts of the people on stage start showing signs of hard labour but the audience doesn’t let them go off stage for too long. After two encores the band is almost forced by the frantic ‘We want more’ to come back yet another time. They treat the crowd with an apparently unrehearsed ‘Fugazi’. Before this night ends and everybody goes home a smiling Fish thanks the fans and with a chant from his favourite football team he ends the show; the gentleman’s excused

01. Big Wedge
02. Moving Target
03. Brother 52
04. Raingods Dancing
05. Wake Up Call
06. Innocent Party
07. Long Cold Day
08. Credo
09. La Gazza Ladra (Intermezzo)
10. Pseudo Silk Kimono
11. Kayleigh
12. Lavender
13. Bitter Suite
14. Heart of Lothian
15. Waterhole
16. Lords of the Backstage
17. Childhood's End
18. White Feather
19. Incommunicado
20. Market Square Heroes
21. Fugazi
22. We’ll be Coming (football chant)

Music: 8
Performance: 10
Sound: 7
Light: 8
Total: 9

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