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ABC, Glasgow
21st December 2014

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland


Fish has had many ups and downs in his thirty plus years in the music business. Many people would regard 2014 as one of the downs in many ways as tour dates in May had to be rescheduled due to illness hitting guitarist Robin Boult and then some of the rescheduled dates had to be rescheduled when the man himself was diagnosed with viral laryngitis.

Fortunately the UK leg was saved this time and showing great confidence in the material from the latest album 'A Feast Of Consequences' the band strolled on stage(or hobbled in the case of on crutches keyboard player John Beck) and gave us eleven minutes of the complex but fascinating 'Perfume River'.

Following that with the album's title track we then got the usual introductory chat of the evening from the big man. Fish has always been a good frontman in the way he holds the audiences attention and by being a bit of a raconteur. The bits inbetween the songs are always entertaining and immediately there was self deprecating stuff about how the band are falling apart due to age and apologies for being even later turning up at a gig than Axl Rose.

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The music then stayed with the main man's recent output with a couple of songs from the '13th Star' album. 'Manchmal' showed off his theatrical side, employing some of the acting skills he has picked up along the way to illustrate the song. There was little sign to me of the laryngitis he suffered from recently but the years of touring have taken a toll on his voice.

While it sounds fine on the lower notes, anytime he tries to sing something more challenging it seems to almost disappear. This might be an issue for other artists but the man simply has the charisma to carry the audience with him despite any vocal issues and the large partisan crowd present tonight are behind him all the way.


As someone who complains bitterly about people talking over the quiet sections at gigs it was a pleasure to hear how quiet the place was while we got the story of the inspiration behind the WWI epic 'High Wood'. Everyone listened intently until spontaneous applause broke out at the dedication to the fallen of both sides. The twenty minutes or so of beautifully crafted music and atmospheric use of a back projection screen which followed was a fitting tribute too and received a rapturous ovation.

Over an hour into the show and all the material so far had been from the most recent couple of albums but now there was a sudden switch to older material with an unexpected rendition of 'Slainte Mhath' from Marillion's superb 'Clutching At Straws' album. Moving on to early solo days stuff we got a lively rendition of 'Big Wedge' and then the title track from 'Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors' where once again that theatrical streak came out with the early part of the vocal sung during a walkabout in the crowd. At six foot five at least he was still easy to spot for those further back!


'Heart Of Lothian' was an inspired choice of song to close the main set, the crowd joining in the big chorus with gusto. The community singing theme continued through the encores of 'Incubus' and 'Blind To The Beautiful' before a final flourish with a rousing rendition of 'The Company', official drinking song of Fish fans everywhere.

This was a terrific performance in any circumstances, never mind the illnesses and accidents which the Dalkeith boy and his excellent band have had to endure. The playing of the band is first rate, especially from guitarist Robin Boult and It Bites keyboard man John Beck. The vocals may not be perfect but in this context that doesn't seem to matter very much. Add to that a two and a quarter hour show which was carried along mainly by material from the last few years and you can take it to the bank that Fish is on a roll musically and doesn't need to rely on the 'hits'. It's a shame he plans to retire from touring in the near future then!


Line up:
Derek William Dick (Fish) – Lead Vocals
Robin Boult – Electric/Acoustic Guitars
Steve Vantsis – Bass Guitars; Keyboards; Backing Vocals
John Beck (It Bites) – Keyboards; Backing Vocals
Gavin Griffiths – Drums

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