June 06, 2006
Pop/Rock, Prog-Rock, Art Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, Neo-Prog

Album Review

The live album Return to Childhood was recorded on Fish's 2005 tour of the same name, because after a first set featuring the Scottish prog rocker's best solo material, the second set (or disc, here) is a 20th anniversary live re-creation of Marillion's 1985 album Misplaced Childhood. Somewhat surprisingly, the new version works quite well, with all of the technical mastery of the familiar album but adding a bracing immediacy that dated mid-'80s production values can't touch. The highlight, as on the original album, is the unexpectedly poppy ballad "Kayleigh," the closest Marillion ever came to a standard love song and by far their biggest single; in this version, the lower register that is Fish's normal range these days allows for a somewhat bitter, rueful edge to creep into the "I never meant to break your heart" refrain. The addition of an encore of three older Marillion favorites including an epic closing version of "Fugazi" makes the second disc a must for fans. As for the first disc, for all of the striking similarities, vocally speaking, between Fish and Peter Gabriel, the former did not manage to make the artistic leap from group to solo artist as gracefully, with even the best songs here sounding like pale imitations of Marillion. Even hardcore Fish-heads will turn to the second disc more often. [Snapper Music reissued the album as a DVD in 2006, adding a bonus backstage interview.]
Stewart Mason, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Big Wedge [DVD]
  2. Moving Targets [DVD]
  3. Brother 52 [DVD]
  4. Goldfish and Clowns [DVD]
  5. Raingods Dancing [DVD]
  6. Wake Up Call (Make It Happen) [DVD]
  7. Innocent Party [DVD]
  8. Long Cold Day [DVD]
  9. Credo [DVD]
  10. Pseudo Silk Kimono [DVD]
  11. Kayleigh [DVD]
  12. Lavender [DVD]
  13. Bitter Suite: Brief Encounter/Lost Weekend/Blue Angel/Misplaced ...
  14. Heart of Lothian: Wide Boy/Curtain Call [DVD]
  15. Waterhole (Expresso Bongo) [DVD]
  16. Lords of the Backstage [DVD]
  17. Blind Curve: Vocal Under a Bloodlight/Passing Strangers/Mylo/Perimeter
  18. Childhoods End? [DVD]
  19. White Feather [DVD]
  20. Incommunicado [DVD]
  21. Market Square Heroes [DVD]
  22. Fugazi [DVD]
  23. Exclusive Backstage Interview with Fish [DVD][*]