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Fish: Communion

Communion is a 2CD, mostly acoustic set recorded by Fish and his band at St. Mary's Church Haddington in East Lothian, Scotland on August 27th, 2006. It's a rather warm and intimate show, with a very varied set list that draws from most of his solo career plus a few Marillion pieces. Surprisingly, if you've been following Mr. Derek Dick the last 5-10 years or so, you've no doubt noticed the quality of his vocals have really suffered over the years, especially in a live environment, but here, in this rather subdued acoustic setting, he actually sounds quite good. Perhaps not having to compete with loud guitars and keyboards allowed the richness of his voice to come out more naturally than at the normal electric gig, and the results are quite charming. He's got the full band here, along with backing singers Heather Findlay (from Mostly Autumn, who he was engaged to at the time-this show pre-dates their split), Angela Gordon, Anne Marie Helder, and his daughter Tara Dick. Don't expect much in the way of musical bombast or Fish's in-between song banter here, as the set is geared towards more mellow fare. Highlights are "Just Good Friends", "Lady Let It Lie", "Favourite Stranger", "Fortunes of War", and a stunning rendition of "Slainthe Mhath". You can tell the singer was completely moved when his daughter comes to sing with him on the tune "Tara", which he penned for her, and "Raw Meat" closes the set on an emotional note.

Fans of Fish who might be in the mood for a more laid back and casual live show in a most acoustic setting should really enjoy this one.

Track Listing

  1. The Field
  2. Jumpsuit City
  3. Favourite Stranger
  4. Shot the Craw
  5. State of Mind
  6. Tilted Cross
  7. Fortunes of War
  8. Just Good Friends
  9. Incomplete
  10. Change of Heart
  11. Lady Let It Lie
  12. A Gentleman's Excuse Me
  13. Rites of Passage
  14. The Lost Plot
  15. Slainthe Mhath
  16. Chelsea Monday
  17. Scattering Crows
  18. Tara
  19. Raw Meat

Added: May 8th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Fish Website
Hits: 4774
Language: english

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Fish: Communion
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-05-08 07:37:41
My Score:

Progressive Rock fans worldwide all know and love the accomplishments of Derek Dick, the man most affectionately referred to as Fish and this adoration comes not only because of his stellar contributions while a member of Marillion but also for his output as a songwriter during a truly prolific solo career where he continued his presentation of life's poetry and pitfalls put to music. Fish recently completed a tour where he performed the entire Marillion classic album Misplaced Childhood and it might surprise many to find him issuing another live release so soon after that last one but once this is placed in the stereo you will immediately realize how different it is. This time around Fish performed in St. Mary's Church Haddington which is located in East Lothian, Scotland and while he had performed there in the past he had not done so for awhile for reasons that he lines out in the albums narrative notes. The release is primarily an acoustic set that offers the listener something completely different from the Return To Childhood recording by omitting all numbers from the Misplaced Childhood album and instead opts to focus on his solo catalog with a surprise or two tossed in for good measure. There are those who would agree that his voice is not as vibrant as in the past and what singer can claim that after a couple of decades in the business. Yet in this setting we find Fish coming off quite strong once again and presenting the tracks with an impassioned delivery that made us all fans so long ago. The singer has a full band behind him and the vocal assistance of Heather Findlay, Angela Gordon and Anne Marie Helder (all from Mostly Autumn) and his daughter Tara. The female vocal presence working in tandem with Fish adds a little bit of new life to some of the songs we knew from his earlier years such as "Just Good Friends", a track that has remained one of my favorites since first hearing it on Internal Exile. "Lady Let It Lie" is great but "A Gentlemen's Excuse Me"
might cause the more emotional listener to reach for the tissue box given its delivery of vocal and piano alone. I also rather enjoyed the vibe of "Shot The Craw" and "Tilted Cross". In this setting the tracks that we have such an idea of almost becoming new versions which makes each listen something fresh and warm. The beginning of the album also seems to stick with the slower numbers but the set of material does get a little livelier on the second CD and even pumps up the volume a notch or two more.

On the second act of the performance Fish delivers a truly magnificent version of the Marillion staple "Slainthe Mhath" from Clutching At Straws and then a deep reach into the hat for "Chelsea Monday" from Script For A Jester?s Tear. It's great to hear Fish singing the classic Marillion numbers as I have missed his sound in them and in today's music world we hardly find Marillion playing anything from the Fish Era anymore. "Scattering Crows" is a powerful number that might have the living room listener rising to their feet as it leads them to the shows closing but it is during "Tara" that we find Fish himself quite moved as his daughter joins him for the song that he had actually written for her. There is quite a bit of reflection heard across the album and while Fish is often known for long stories during his shows the album finds none of that present. The booklet enclosed offers up some solid insight into the singer's motivations and designs about the show itself and what it had meant to him to do this performance and offer up the recording for his fans. I really enjoyed this one and was glad I had the chance to get a copy to tell the Fish fans of the world about. If you are a fan of his already then this is a must have but even if you are not this is something that is rather extraordinary.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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