BY DEWEY GURALL
“I look out at you and I can see the shine,” Fish chuckled to the crowd, patting the top of his own bald noggin for emphasis. “But for the next 50 minutes, you can shut your eyes and
you will feel the hair grow back on
your head, and the stomach will go in,” he continued in his inimitable Scottish storyteller manner. We all laughed as
he nodded sagely. “And the back will straighten and you will grow two centimeters taller, I promise. Suddenly everything will go back 30 years.
This is an album called Misplaced Childhood.”
That was Fish’s introduction to his “greatest hit” played in its entirety at
the Ino-Rock Festival in Inowrocław, Poland last year during his ongoing “Farewell to Childhood” tour, marking the classic Marillion album’s 30th anniversary. This was phase one of the singer’s farewell not only to his heyday with Marillion but to music itself; or at least, to music as his main occupation, as he plans to retire in 2017.
The world of progressive rock has a complex, sometimes awkward relationship with nostalgia. By its very definition, “prog” purportedly means moving forward. Yet, viewed alternatively as a bona fide “style” of music, its links to past glories—especially through seminal ‘70s bands that sold millions of records —are more easily reconciled.
The same now applies to 1980s artists who fostered the so-called “neo-progressive” era, those few brave souls that dared play prog when it was most unfashionable. During those dark days dominated by post-punk, new wave and the emergence of synthpop, brilliant British acts such as Pallas, Pendragon, IQ and Twelfth Night carried the torch, none bigger or braver than Marillion with Fish as theatrically flamboyant front man.