BBC Sessions

Blueprint, released June 1999

2 CDs
UK : BP297CD
Recorded live at London Town and Country Club (11 Nov '89) and Nottingham Royal Concert Hall (15 Nov '91)
CD 1:
01. Faithhealer [Harvey/McKenna]
02. The Voyeur (I Like To Watch) [Dick/Simmonds]
03. Punch And Judy [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley]
04. The Company [Dick/Simmonds]
05. Script For A Jester's Tear [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley]
06. Family Business [Dick/Simmonds/Lindes]
07. Warm Wet Circles [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley]
08. Slainthe Mhath [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley]
09. Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors [Dick/Simmonds]
10. Big Wedge [Dick/Simmonds]
11. Fugazi [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley]

CD 2:
01. Kayleigh [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley]
02. Lavender [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley]
03. Heart Of Lothian [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley]
04. Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors [Dick/Simmonds]
05. Credo [Dick/Simmonds/Boult/Usher]
06. Tongues [Dick/Simmonds/Boult/Usher]
07. Incubus [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley]
08. The Company [Dick/Simmonds]
09. Big Wedge [Dick/Simmonds]
10. Internal Exile [Dick/Boult/Simmonds]
11. Market Square Heroes [Dick/Pointer/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Minnit]
12. Heart of Lothian [Dick/Rothery/Kelly/Trewavas/Mosley]

Project Co-ordinator - Barney
A BBC Music Production
© 1991 BBC Music
© 1999 Blueprint

I received my copy of Fish's BBC sessions yesterday. Superb sound throughout and definitely worth a purchase if you like live albums.
Nice booklet with the Fish logo embossed in Gold on a black background. One concert from November '89 and another from November '91 so there's still plenty of Marillion in the set if you like that sort of thing.
The version of Punch And Judy is excellent, stretching out to 5 minutes plus and it really rocks.
Market Square Heroes is as good as any live version you've heard before.
The crowd are mixed really high in all the right places, something the BBC have always done well on 'In Concert'.
Some tracks are repeated (Company, Vigil, Big Wedge and Lothian) but they sound suitably different from each other. Well Big Wedge and Vigil do anyway.
No stories but 2 1/2 hours of excellent music and I highly recommend it even if you have live albums from that time anyway. The sound quality on this is unsurpassed.
Graham Gordon, 22 Oct 1999

Since his split with Marillion in 1988, Fish has released six studio-albums and about a dozen of live-album, some official, some as fanclub-releases. This one has not been released by Fish himself, but by 'Blueprint-records'.
This Cd-set looks back to 1989 (before Vigil was released!) and 1991, concerts in London and Nottingham respectively. These concerts were recorded by Radio One for broadcasting - although I'm not sure whether they ever have been. As a result, the sound is good (especially the Nottingham-show), at some points even better than Fish's own releases, which are normally taken from a mixing-desk DAT. The first disk and tracks 1-3 on disk two originate from '89, the other tracks from '91. Regrettably, some of the - always interesting - stories have been cut, and the strange decision has been made to include several songs twice: Vigil, The Company, Big Wedge and Heart of Lothian. I do not know exactly what has been played on these gigs, but personally I would have preferred State of Mind (the current single at the time!), Gentleman's Excuse Me (the upcoming single!), Cliche or Shadowplay (played on the Exile '91 tour), in stead of 'double' songs. I really think this is a pity, but at the same time it's the only negative thing I can think of, when reviewing these CDs.
What can I say about the music? Most of you will be familiar with the material. The album Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors is still considered a classic, and Fish's best to date. Tracks from that album, played together with a collection of Marillion classics, that results in a pretty great set-list. Only real surprise is Faithhealer, a song originally by the Sensational Alex Harvey Band and recently featured on Raingods with Zippos. The song was also used as a B-side to Big Wedge. Although it's an unexpected opener of the gig, you can hear that it works fine, especially since Fish enters the stage halfway the song in a great way.
The Marillion-material is performed brilliantly and I may even prefer these versions to the '87 ones. The combination of Warm Wet Circles and Slainthe Mhath works very well. Fugazi, Incubus and Script are true gems and in Punch And Judy Fish shows his ferocity as never before.
The band, including a brilliant Mickey Simmonds on keyboards, plays very well. It's rock, but still melodic. Mark Brzezicki really is a wonderful drummer, who hits almost everything on his drumset (listen to the first Big Wedge-version!). On the '91 show he is replaced by Kevin Wilkinson, who committed suicide last month. His style was more 'straight' compared to Brzezicki's but he still was an effective backbone to the band. Robin Boult and Frank Usher on guitar do their jobs very well and it's surprising to hear that the Marillion-songs don't suffer from this double-guitar treatment. Both Steve Brzezicki and David Paton do a fine job on bass, but Paton features a more prominent role on backing vocals as well.
Fish himself is in top-form. He certainly had some voice-problems over the years, but not here! His voice is powerful and he hits the majority of the high notes right. Quality performance!
I won't go through the entire album, but I'd mention some of the highlights. Very impressive is the (first) version of Vigil which is played to the audience for the first time. Shivers everywhere! The same goes for Fugazi: not only the fragile first part but, through the aggressive middle part, right 'till the end. Simmonds does a great job here, as well the two guitarists. This version has a lot more power than the original.
The version of Vigil on the second disk might even be better than the first one. The audience is familiar with the song now and is very audible. Audience participation on Credo, Heart of Lothian and Tongues gives these tracks extra energy.
Incubus, fortunately including the introduction, is haunting and dark.
The finale, consisting of Internal Exile, Market Square Heroes and Hearts of Lothian - including Windswept Thumb - is real party-time. A genuine climax to the CD.
All in all, this album is a joy to listen to. The first disk features some of his best songs, the second disk sounds a bit better. Both are very nice. This 2-CD is not very expensive, which makes it extra attractive.
If you already have some live albums from the '89-'91 period, this won't add much, but if you don't, this is a really nice live-compilation for a nice price. As always, an extensive story inside the booklet by Fish himself makes this CD a nice addition to your collection. 8 out of 10.
Jan-Jaap de Haan (DPRP), December 2003

The two discs clock in at a massive 73:00 and 70:00 minutes respectively so you're getting some real value for money here considering the set only costs 15 quid. Consequently there's absolutely no need to pad the discs out with audience noise.
And of course the recordings are straight from Auntie's vaults so the quality is beyond reproach. I'd go so far as to say this is one of the best sounding Fish live discs I think I've heard. The mix is excellent and gives a real feeling of the atmosphere - the singalongs on "Script" and "Fugazi" on Disc One are prime examples of this.
Disc One in particular is outstanding - it was about time the 'old' live version of "Faith Healer" was released officially! And as this is one of the few Fish tours that I didn't actually see then all the better. The tracklist is a fine mix of some of the best bits of "Vigil" and the smattering of Marillion material that anyone going to see Fish's first solo tour would expect to hear. A stonking version of "Fugazi" rounds the whole thing off.
The first three tracks on Disc Two round up the rest of the set and the remaining tracks are taken from the ill-fated Internal Exile tour starting with the 'wander through the audience' version of "Vigil...", and a wonderful rendition of "Credo" - this is such a powerful song when the playing is as spot on as it is here. There's also a wonderful version of "Incubus" and the 'sweary' version of "The Company", which also appears on Disc One.
Certainly if you had to have only one F or M live cd this year then I'd go for this one and if you haven't got it grab 'Raingods' as well to go with it.
Mark Kennedy, 28 Jun 1999

Site content ©1981-2012 Derek W. Dick/Fish. Artwork ©1983-2012 Mark Wilkinson.
Text, images, sound clips and code may not be copied without permission. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions apply
Chocolate Frog Record Company Ltd. registered office: 6th Floor, New Baltic House, 65 Fenchurch St., London EC3M 4BE. Company No. 04007392