A Fond Memory Brought to Life

Posted: January 8, 2010 in Uncategorized
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One of the few things I asked to get for Christmas this year was a DVD of a Fish concert from his NEARFest gig in 2008. It was the big man’s first US tour in over a decade, and anticipation ran high among the American members of The Company. I was especially excited as I’d been a huge fan from the first time I heard him sing when he was with Marillion back in the early 80’s. His lyrical genius has always been an inspiration for my own writing. In fact, the title for “Barbed Wire Kisses” came directly from an old Marillion song, White Feather:

When I hit the streets back in ’81
Found a heart in the gutter and a poet’s crown
I felt barbed wire kisses and icicle tears
Where have I been for all these years?
I saw political intrigue, political lies
Gonna wipe those smiles of self-satisfaction from their eyes

When he left the band, I felt gutted, but was soon bolstered by his first solo release, “Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors”. From then on I became a devoted fan to his solo work. Fish’s last CD, and the one he toured the US with, “13th Star”, is in my opinion his best solo work to date. At times hard hitting, and others dripping with melancholy, it never disappoints. So it was with high hopes when rumors of a US tour might take place. When tour dates were confirmed and meet and greets were being lined up, I went into overdrive. The closest he was playing to me was Los Angeles, and I immediately booked tickets to LA, got a hotel room, and arranged transportation with a fellow Fish fan to get to the gig.

The absolute joy and high of that frenzied 24 hour period returned full blast as I watched the DVD:

What made it even greater was hearing a couple of songs he didn’t perform in Los Angeles. Yet that feeling of community and the absolute thrill of meeting one of my idols washed over me. I fell in love with his work all over again. I remember the anticipation of waiting at the Red Rock Bar for him to arrive, the euphoria of the moment, and the heightened senses from the Killian’s Red I’d had was the most perfect feeling in the world. As he walked through the door, I stood speechless, and then blurted out, “He-ey Fish!” We talked for a moment; well I drunkenly stammered and he patiently listened. I talked and mingled with other fans, and had my picture taken with Onkel Fish.

It was the dream of a lifetime. Once the meet and greet ended, we went over to the House of Blues where he was performing, and got to the very front of the stage. There was no opening act, just Fish. for over two hours I heard song after song I’d sung countless time over the years, and was in no way prepared for how emotionally invested I was in his work. By the time he left the stage, I was as spent as he probably was, and far more hoarse no doubt from the singing and screaming.

This DVD captures the perfection of this tour. It’s only in watching the bonus DVD, an hour plus interview with Fish about the tour, that you realize just how close it came to never happening in addition to the toll it took on everyone. In spite of all that, he gave me a moment in life I’ll always treasure and never forget.

This concert is a reminder of that. Available at http://www.the-company.com .

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