Fish – O2 ABC Glasgow – 21st December 2017 – Clutching At Straws 30th Anniversary23rd December 2017
It’s been 30 years since the last Fish era Marillion studio album Clutching At Straws. So to see it being performed by the living legend was a sight and aural experience that wont be forgotten by the audience in attendance for this sold out show. It was the last night of the tour, last performance of the Marillion classic Clutching at Straws and of course, being in Glasgow.
Doors were prompt at 6:30pm and support act and Fish‘ back up singer, Doris Brendel opened the show just before 7pm (so they could sneak an extra track in). A very good opener, sounding like a cross between classic 80’s prog rock coupled with a folk tinge. (Think Jethro Tull crossed with Mostly Autumn and sprinkled with a healthy dose of Steve Rothery sounding guitar).
Doris put on a great spectacle which includes the use of a color changing fibre optic whip and her voice is simply outstanding. Shame it was only a 35 minute set, but what an incredible 35 minutes it was. If you se the name, pick up an album, or better yet, see live. You wont be disappointed.
Fish came on to the stage at 8pm sharp and it was obvious from the start that there was a strict 10pm curfew. There was no real messing around. From the opening of The Voyeur (I Like to Watch) followed by Emperor’s Song you got the impression that this was going to be a fairly strange set.
One of the highlight of the opening songs was State Of Mind, as this was the extended version with acoustic intro before kicking in with full electric. Just amazing to watch the band & Fish pull this off in a live environment.
As Fish took a quick break by sitting on a stool from his kitchen, he was asked about the new album, Weltschmerz. The Haddington Bear explained that even tho he had started the project with great intentions 2 years ago with the album title and now a very impressive looking tour poster, he’d actually done ‘fuck all’ for it.
It was then we were treated to what we were all there for, Clutching At Straws in its entirety. During the performance of this album there were some superb moments. Sugar Mice for example, was dedicated to Taz, Incommunicado was half way through, instead of being at the end of the set. Fish noted that he’d had a few complaints about his performance of Clutching, as it wasn’t in the same order of the original album. With tongue, firmly planted in cheek, he addressed this by saying that it was basically his tour and he could perform the tracks in any order he liked (the audience lapped this up by laughing and a huge round of applause.)
Going Under was another moment for Fish to explain the history of this track. This was an improvised track vocally. Fish admits that he had to go back and listen to the album to write the lyrics down as he has no record of what the lyrics were/are (as they’re not included on the original album) and of course to get the right phrasing down.
My other personal highlight was the performance of Slàinte Mhath. It’s not only my favorite track off the album, but whenever I hear it performed live by the master, it never fails to bring a tear to the eye.
The last track to be performed from the Clutching era was the B-side of Sugar Mice, Tux On which led perfectly into Perfume River (from the Feast Of Consequences album). The Great Unravelling finished the night off.
Fish put on an amazing show as always and his voice was great especially when you take into account that this was the final show of the UK dates. Doris, was a great addition as a backing vocalist as she added just that little bit extra to the tracks.
Quite simply, brilliant. It’s been fantastic to see Fish perform not only this album but a few years back to witness Misplaced Childhood in its entirety.
Thank you Fish for the music and another very special night in Glasgow.
The Voyeur (I Like to Watch)
State of Mind
Clutching at Straws
Warm Wet Circles
That Time of the Night (The Short Straw)
Just for the Record
(The Last Straw)
The Great Unravelling
Fish has also announced that the classic 1994 album Suits and 1993’s Songs from the Mirror are being remastered and will be available to purchase shortly. Both releases come in a 3-disc package with Songs From The Mirror including a DVD documentary with rare live footage. The releases will have hardback covers with over 12,000 words of sleeve notes plus artwork and photos compiled by Mark Wilkinson.
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