Fish makes a welcome return to Tyneside for the penultimate show of his Clutching At Straws/Weltschmerz tour.

The scene for tonight’s show is the Wylam Brewery inside of the beautiful Palace of Arts; a venue tucked away in the heart of the city’s Exhibition Park and somewhat of an ale connoisseurs paradise. The room is packed to the rafters with progressive-rock fans who take this rare opportunity to hear Fish perform Marillion’s seminal album Clutching At Straws.

The original intention of this tour was to also showcase material from Fish’s forthcoming studio record Weltschmerz. However, with the new album still in the works, the onus shifted to focus largely on the Clutching At Straws record. Weltschmerz and the subsequent related touring will instead take place during 2018.

As Fish takes to the stage the opening numbers of the set delve deep into his vast solo career with the likes of “The Voyeur (I Like To Watch)”, “Emperor’s Song”, “Circle Line” and “State of Mind” all featuring at the top of the show. These tracks form a captivating precursor to Clutching At Straws.

Of course, Clutching At Straws was Fish’s last album with his former group before departing in 1988 to pursue a solo career.  Throughout the performance, there are the obvious standout numbers including the likes of the timeless classic “Sugar Mice”, the beautiful “Warm Wet Circles” and Marillion’s emphatic synth-fuelled top ten single “Incommunicado”. The latter of which also features some rather impressive Dad dancing courtesy of Fish.

However, it’s not all about the hits, there is plenty of room for the deep cuts too. Fish explains that prior to this tour the last time he had performed “Going Under” was in the studio in London 30 years prior. He explains that the song came to fruition following a discussion with Marillion’s then producer Chris Kimsey who insisted that the band needed one further song to complete the album. The track came together in the studio and since then has been excluded from both his and Marillion’s live sets. However, Fish insists that he has now come to like it, and that is a sentiment which the audience wholeheartedly agrees with.

Throughout the course of the evening, Fish tells many backstories which each, in turn, accompany the music. Many of these tales are laden with self-deprecating humour which frequently results in witty banter with the audience. Fish argues that he enjoys being in the North because you get better hecklers.

Fish rounds out his main set with “White Russian” and “The Last Straw”, leaving the audience wanting more. The observant diehard fans in the crowd know that there is one track missing from the record, and that song features in Fish’s duly deserved encore. An incredible performance of Clutching At Straws is brought to a close with “Tux On”.

In this day and age and with the advent of streaming these days music fans appear to consume songs rather than albums. Much like last year’s Fish tour which focussed on the Misplaced Childhood album, tonight’s show in Newcastle gives the Marillion fans the opportunity to hear this classic album in full and as the artist intended. This approach to touring and live shows is certainly refreshing, nostalgic and most importantly incredibly enjoyable.

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Event Date: 20-Dec-2017

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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