FISH: Krakow (Dick Bros. Record Company)

When Fish left Marillion in 1988, fans weren't sure what direction the group would take. Fish wrote most, if not all, of the band's lyrics since the beginning. Marillion continued on with Steve Hogarth on vocals, but for the purists out there, they just weren't the same. Since his departure, Fish started his own record label (Dick Bros. Record Co. - Fish's given name is Derek Dick) and released a number of solo efforts, as well as an unprecedented number of live concerts.

Krakow is the latest of these releases, capturing the October 1995 performance on CD. For this particular show, Fish and his band are in fine form. Several of the songs feature new intros, and the band really gets the opportunity to improvise. "Big Wedge" and "Emperor's Song" both appear in energetic and spirited form. The vocal arrangements on Krakow are much better than on some of his earlier live releases. "Lady Let it Lie" is a perfect example. Robin Boult and Frank Usher contribute stellar guitar licks to the song too.

On "Credo," Fish changed the lyrics slightly on the chorus and added new backing vocals to the end of the song. "Kayleigh" is "Kayleigh"--the song doesn't really change much from one show to another. "Lucky" stretches out past the 15 minute mark, giving each band member the chance to solo a bit. It gets a bit tedious after 10 minutes or so, but it still contains some great jams. An excellent version of "Lavender" appears as the first encore, interpolating the Blue Angel lyrics from "Bitter Suite." Even when taken out of its original context, this is a beautiful song. As far as live Fish releases go, Krakow is one of the best.

© 1997 Steve Marshall