Yesterday the prog rock concept album Misplaced Childhood by Marillion (then fronted by Fish) turned 30.
Thirty?! How old does that make me feel?
I remember the summer that it came out. My cousins Alan and Colin were into Marillion, I recall, which is what put them on my radar.
During the summer of 1985 my family went on holiday to Guernsey in the Channel Islands. It was an extravagance and looking back my favourite get-right-away holidays while I was a kid: it was a fabulous experience. We were, I recall, in part celebrating that my dad had survived three brain haemorrhages in the spring of 1983 (“Beware the Ides of March!”).
I remember standing outside the John Menzies in St Peter Port gazing at a window display that included a large cardboard cut-out of the boy from the cover. The whole thing captured my imagination: the artwork, the title, even the name of the band (Marillion is a shortening of the Tolkien collection The Silmarillion).
It wasn’t until a few years later before I actually listened to the album. It’s still one of my all-time favourite albums, and by a long margin my favourite Marillion album.
I think this is my fourth Fish gig; seems like more, somehow. I met up with friend Ricky Carvel before the gig; he had a friend with him, I had Jane. We timed the support act interval to perfection and walked in just as Fish’s band took the stage.
There wasn’t a great deal of banter this evening from Mr Derek W. ‘Fish’ Dick. Maybe it was the small, dark venue; maybe it was because this was his 40-odd-th date on the current tour that has seen him travelling around Europe and back to the UK.
Fish’s showmanship is exquisite, the first few songs were acted out, Fish wearing a wide-brimmed hat, Arab-like desert scarf wrapped around his neck and gentleman’s walking stick in hand, that revealed itself as a sword during The Perception of Johnny Punter, I recall.
I got a copy of the set-list at the end: it landed on me! It read as follows:
Rookie (first 4 songs into each other)
Jungle Ride (Fish talk in song)
Perception (Guitar; house right starts, fish talk in song, heavy)
Cliché (Big guitar solo house right)
Plague (last 2 – keyboard heavy)
Encore #1: Felini/Lucky/Exile/Market Square Heroes (keyboard start)