Fish announces Misplaced Childhood 30th anniversary tour

Fish press shot 2012

Renowned progressive rock singer and songwriter Fish has announced a 30th anniversary tour where he will be playing Marillion’s 1985 album Misplaced Childhood in full.

The announcement comes following the former Marillion frontman detailing his retirement plans earlier this year.

The Farewell To Childhood tour will begin in Sweden in June and take in an array of shows and festivals throughout the remainder of 2015. The legendary Cropredy festival in Cambridge on 14th August and the inaugural Midstock in Fish’s hometown of Dalkeith on 12th September will be the only two opportunities to take in the tour outdoors in the UK before more intimate indoor shows later in the year.

“I started to consider my future and I came to the decision it was time for a major change in my life,” says Fish. “A plan was required that fulfilled all my needs and desires and gave me an exit strategy where I could have fun and give the fans of my music a celebration rather than a wake.

“The first part of the plan begins this year with my last performances of the 1985 album Misplaced Childhood that catapulted Marillion and me to fame. It holds a lot of memories from a period that was very exciting and crammed with experiences both dark and magical. The lyrics on that album hold a very special meaning to me as they were written by a young man on the cusp of fame and dealt with a lot of personal issues. It was not only a breakthrough album for the band but also for me as an artist because I was finally discovering my own individual style as a lyricist and singer. To be performing it on its 30th anniversary has a lovely resonance.”

Seven of Fish’s solo albums are also undergoing a remastering and repackaging programme and will be released throughout the year. The first four – Sunsets On Empire (1996), Raingods With Zippos (1998), Fellini Days (2001) and Field Of Crows (2004) – will be available for pre-order in May and released in July.

Internal Exile (1991), Songs From The Mirror (1993) and Suits (1994) will follow at the end of 2015.

Confirmed UK dates for the Farewell To Childhood tour are as follows:

August 14th – Cropredy Festival, Cambridgeshire
September 12th – Midstock Festival, Dalkeith
December 3rd – Bristol, O2 Academy
December 4th – London, Islington Assembly Hall
December 5th – London, Islington Assembly Hall
December 7th – Cambridge, Junction
December 9th – Birmingham, Town Hall
December 10th – Sheffield, City Hall
December 11th – Manchester, Academy 2
December 13th – Glasgow, O2 ABC

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80 days to ahhh

Fish targets retirement from music in 2017

Fish press shot 2012

Renowned singer, musician, writer and former Marillion frontman Fish has announced that he is aiming to retire from music in 2017.

Despite planning his retirement for a number of years, the singer says that the critical acclaim surrounding his last album, 2013’s A Feast Of Consequences, has led to offers of work that he doesn’t want to turn down.

Writing via his website, Fish says: “2015 has swiveled and repositioned itself as far as cunning plans go, and that’s having a knock-on effect on the overall outro I was looking at.

“The 4 weeks of rescheduled dates in January and February have torn a chunk out of my intended schedule and after discussions and offers in the last few days I have to reconsider how the year unfolds with projects. I can’t name specific events… what I can say is that July and August will be full on as a mixture of open airs in Europe will be threaded together with a string of club shows which will hopefully have us on a bus for nearly 5 weeks leading up to the Cropredy festival on the 14th August with weekends pretty much full with shows all the way up to the second week of September.

“It would be unwise to attempt to write, record and release the Weltschmerz album in 2015 without putting unnecessary pressure on myself, and running the risks of not only missing deadlines but also being forced into compromises I don’t want to entertain on this project. It has to be special on every level.”

Fish will instead concentrate his efforts on reissues of his solo material, including the albums Sunsets On Empire, Raingods With Zippos, Fellini Days and Field Of Crows.

As the singer continues: “The first batch I would like to have available at the beginning of June. Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors, Internal Exile, Suits and Songs From The Mirror will be put together at the end of the year – so that by December my entire catalogue will once again be fully available.”

Each album will be presented in a hardback case with two additional discs and a 40 page booklet.

Fish ends by reflecting: “I feel comfortable with the scheduling and I think it gives me the time to prepare for the next important steps in my life. It means I will be retiring from the music business just before my 60th birthday which I think is a pretty good time to ring the changes I want to make.

“I know there will be some of you who perhaps disagree with this ambition and many who will be disappointed at this decision but a man has to have a plan and this is mine in January of 2015 as I stare into the future which I know holds a lot of promise and new adventures.”

Skin Back Alley caught Fish’s live show at The Picturedrome, Holmfirth on the 18th December last year. You can read our review of the gig here.

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Live Review: FISH, Holmfirth Picturedrome, 18th December 2014

Fish - Holmfirth Picturedrome - 18Dec14
Photo (C) Graeme Blackwell/Skin Back Alley

“Holmfirth! Sorry we’re late!” quips Fish on this cold, wet December evening in the heart of Yorkshire. He is of course referring to the fact that this date was originally meant to be played much earlier in the year, but had to be postponed. It became a recurring theme during the aptly named “Moveable Feast Tour” as illness struck during the course of 2014. The Holmfirth crowd certainly don’t seem to mind though, as they stand rapt through an opening trilogy of “Perfume River”, “Feast Of Consequences” and “Manchmal.”

Accomplished musicians all, Fish’s band immediately impress in the intimate confines of the Picturedrome. Tight knit, yet always flexible and fluid, Robin Boult’s guitar playing sends shivers down the spine on more than one occasion. Steve Vantsis’ bass is perfectly pitched and brilliantly unfussy. These men have the warm and calm air of people who know their craft intimately and have nothing to prove, yet never take their audience for granted. The big man himself’s voice is in equally fine fettle, showing no obvious signs of the surgeries and illnesses that have kept him off the road and out of the studio in the recent past.

There is something to be said for music of an epic scale being played in a smaller setting. Occasionally during Fish’s set, and in its more synth-heavy moments, one is minded to think of cosmically minded musicians such as Pink Floyd. But where it would be possible to argue that Floyd’s brilliance is occasionally lost in the cavernous enormo-domes of the world, Fish and Co’s compositions are never swamped by their surroundings.

A perfect example would be the central section of tonight’s gig, ostensibly a showcase of the ‘High Wood’ suite at the heart of Fish’s most recent album, A Feast Of Consequences. “Don’t worry,” he says, “I won’t speak much for a while after this” as he tells the story of his grandfathers’ involvement in the 1914-18 war and some of the extraordinary coincidences that have since echoed through his own life and inspired the music and lyrics.

What follows is simply breathtaking, the band making their way through “High Wood”, “Crucifix Corner”, “The Gathering”, “Thistle Alley” and “The Leaving” with the sort of effortless simplicity that only comes from years of hard graft and the development of finely honed skills. Gavin Griffiths on drums and John Beck on keys come in to their own during the suite, providing both subtle texture and explosive power as the songs demand. It feels like some of Fish’s most inspired and brilliant music, and it’s delivered by a peerless band of musical brothers.

Fish himself made known before this tour began that he had every intention of mixing up new material with some old favourites, acknowledging: “There’s no point in playing the entire new album live on a night as the fans want to enjoy themselves as well as discover what I have been up to for the last few years… I think it’s going to be really refreshing and I know we will be kept on our toes on the stage every night!”

Always true to his word, Fish and his fellow colleagues then power through renditions of Marillion’s “Slàinte Mhath” and solo track “Big Wedge”, bringing a welcome change of pace and keeping the audience enthralled. Arguably the evening’s most intimate highlight then follows as, introducing the track with thoughts on public disenfranchisement and political engagement, the opening bars of “Vigil” ring out through the old theatre building. As the music develops, Fish comes to the front of the stage, clambers over the barrier and walks in to the crowd, shaking the hands of everyone he passes and greeting them with warm smiles. He keeps on until he is standing in the middle of the hall and delivers the song just inches from his crowd’s faces, this reviewer included.

A spontaneous moment or carefully crafted with military precision? It really doesn’t matter. The physical proximity and warm intimacy chime perfectly with the song’s lyric: “Just quieten down for a voice in the crowd / I get so confused and I don’t understand / I know you feel the same way / You’ve always wanted to say / But you don’t get the chance / Just a voice in the crowd.” Live rock music simply doesn’t get any better.

“Heart Of Lothian” and encores of “Incubus”, “Blind To The Beautiful” and “The Company” later, and the Yorkshire faithful shuffle out in to the rain soaked night, grins fixed firmly on faces and chatter rising high in to the air. This is one Fish that it’s been well worth waiting to catch.

Fish played:

“Perfume River”
“Feast of Consequences”
“Arc of the Curve”
“High Wood”
“Crucifix Corner”
“The Gathering”
“Thistle Alley”
“The Leaving”
“Slàinte Mhath” (Marillion)
“Big Wedge”
“Heart of Lothian” (Marillion)
Encore: “Incubus” (Marillion)
Encore 2: “Blind to the Beautiful”, “The Company”

Find out more about Fish’s current work and live dates at the official Fishheads Club website.

You can watch Fish’s performance of “Thistle Alley” recorded live in Paris below:

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