The Last Straw - 2CD + DVD
The Last Straw - 2CD + DVD
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The Last Straw - 2CD + DVD

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‘The Last Straw’ was recorded on multitrack at the final show of the ‘Clutching at Straws/Weltschmerz’ tour in the O2 in Glasgow on 13th December 2018. Mixed and produced by Steve Vantsis and mastered by Calum Malcolm this double CD features the entire performance of the ‘Clutching at Straws’ album, Fish’s last with his former band ‘Marillion’ and acknowledged as his favourite of that period in his career. ‘The Last Straw’ also features the debut performances of 4 of the songs from his latest album ‘Weltschmerz’ including the award winning ‘Man with a Stick’ and the epic ‘Waverley Steps’.

As well as the two CD’s there is a bonus DVD featuring the entire performance from Cropredy Festival on 10th August 2018. Filmed from on stage cameras and with audio processed by Steve Vantsis and mastered by Calum Malcolm this is an earlier open air setlist and has John Beck on keyboards. He would be replaced on the main European Tour by Foss Paterson.

The other band members on both shows were Steve Vantsis bass, Gavin Griffiths drums, Robin Boult – guitars and Doris Brendel – backing vocals and whistles.

The CD’s and DVD come in a hardback book with nearly 11000 words of sleeve notes by Fish with concert and backstage photographs from the tour in a 36-page colour booklet.

‘The Last Straw’ FHC011CD is only available from and

Glasgow O2 13th December 2018


01     Slàinte Mhath 6:23               (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
02     Man With A Stick 6:43          (Dick, Vantsis, Boult)
03     Hotel Hobbies 4:45               (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
04     Warm Wet Circles 4:34        (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
05     That Time of the Night 6:39    (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
06     Little Man What Now 10:10   (Dick, Vantsis, Boult)
07     Torch Song 4:06                   (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
08     White Russian 6:54             (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)

Total 50:14


01      Just For The Record 5:12  (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
02      C Song 10:57                     (Dick, Paterson, Boult)
03      Going Under 3:50               (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
04      Sugar Mice 7:02                 (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
05      Waverley Steps 13:55         (Dick, Vantsis, Boult)
06      The Last Straw 8:50            (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
07      Tux On 5:24                       (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
08      Incommunicado 6:29          (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)

Total 61:43

Cropredy 10th August 2018

01      Voyeur 5:06                        (Dick, Simmonds)
02      Emperors Song 7:35           (Dick, Cassidy, Boult)
03      Hotel Hobbies                     (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
04      Warm Wet Circles                (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)    
05      That Time of the Night 18:04  (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
06      State of Mind 7:28               (Dick, Simmonds, Lindes)
07      Circle Line 6:17                  (Dick, Vantsis)
08      Just For The Record 4:52  (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
09      Going Under 2:55             (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
10      Sugar Mice 9:29               (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
11      Torch Song 4:24               (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
12      Slàinte Mhath 5:33           (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
13      Tux On 5:31                    (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
14      The Last Straw 6:32         (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)
15      Incommunicado 6:00        (Dick, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley)

Total 89:46

All songs:  Charisma Music Publishing Ltd/EMI Music Publishing Ltd except

CD1 tracks 2/6 CD 2/5 and DVD tracks 1/2/6/7 Fishy Music Ltd/copyright control

Multitrack desk recordings Glasgow by Stephen ‘Radar’ Kent
Mixed and produced by Steve Vantsis. Mastered by Calum Malcolm

Cropredy DVD footage and menus by David Barras at Strangeboat from original source material supplied by ‘Fairport Convention Ltd’. Audio processed by Steve Vantsis and mastered by Calum Malcolm

Original Artwork by Mark Wilkinson
Design and layout by Steve Vantsis at
Photography: Fish, Kai R Joachim, Robert Croser and Christian Buehrer at

℗Derek W Dick under exclusive license to The Chocolate Frog Record Company Ltd. 2016
©Derek W Dick under exclusive license to The Chocolate Frog Record Company Ltd. 2016


Excerpts from ‘Last Straw’ sleeve notes

“We’d stolen the bar stool from one of the early Norwegian shows. I can’t remember exactly which venue, but it was one of those items accrued on the road that at the time was taken for purely functional requirements. I didn’t realise at the time how perfectly iconic it was. A simple 4-legged round topped black wooden bar stool that sits behind me in the studio control room where I am putting these sleeve notes together and which currently acts as a plant pot stand. The relevance didn’t dawn on me until later and you can hear its introduction on the Glasgow recordings just before we begin the opening chords of ‘Hotel Hobbies’. It was the simplest stage prop and yet a powerful symbol for a stage show that encompassed my ultimate and favourite album that I had written with my former band ‘Marillion’ and which in 2018 was on its final outing with the last complete performances across Europe.”

“The opening had to be ‘Slainte Mhath’ rising from a looped muted guitar riff that allowed us to enter the stage, take positions, plug in and settle before the piano lead triggered the explosion. It had always been a dramatic and powerful intro and it was too obvious and perfect to ignore. Vocally it’s always tricky belting out big notes early doors and there would be a few eyes taken out during the 40 odd dates of the tour when I hadn’t warmed up properly. Those moments were thankfully relatively rare, and I surprised everyone including myself at how well my voice would hold up across one of the most demanding tours I’d ever undertaken.”


“‘White Russian’ had been difficult to place. It’s an epic and could have been closer to the end of the set. It was strangely one of the most difficult to get right in rehearsals and we had to pull it away from being too ‘ploddy’ and invest it with more swing in order to make it sit right. Gavin again pulled out all the stops and with Steve they nailed the rhythm section with Robin and Foss adding the strong colours to bring it together. The lyric still touched me every gig and as with others on the ‘Clutching’ album they hadn’t aged and if anything took on a new relevance. We had been on the ‘Farewell to Childhood’ tour when the Paris Bataclan attacks had taken place less than 3 years before and the “terror on the Rue de St Denis, murder on the Peripherique” lines took on a new resonance as did the references to homeless refugees. The theme would be picked up again the following year on ‘Rose of Damascus’.”


“ ‘Sugar Mice’ has always been a special song for me, and it was consistently played as an acoustic version on the ‘Fishheads Club’ tour. Stripped down it’s fabulous but we hadn’t deployed the ‘electrics’ on it until 2017. They obviously lend a new energy and power to the arrangement and as such allow the entire dynamic to shift and widen. Add the drums and bass to that mix and the ‘oomph’ value increases tenfold. That is an inspiring backing to sing with and ‘Sugar Mice’ evolved into another epic on stage on the 2018 tour. Every time Robin played those crashing chords at the end of the guitar solo I could sense that amazing lift that I could launch the ‘statement’ vocal from. It was a song from the road and for the road. That little switch of lyric from plural to singular on ‘talk to the kid on the phone’ had come into being after my daughter was born and it could still melt me when I sang it on stage. It’s always been heartfelt and always an emotional catharsis for me performing that song and one of the most defining lyrics about being on tour and away from family that I’d written.”


“By this time on the tour the new songs on ‘Parley with Angels’ were becoming familiar to our audiences and when we began ‘Waverley Steps’ there was the applause of recognition to the opening bars. It had transformed from being a long new song that demanded attention to one that was welcomed as a new member of the family. Our tentative approaches had long since gone and there was a huge confidence now in the performances. The song glided effortlessly through its sections, picking up and locking into its horn laden switching grooves and toward Foss’s delicate piano intro to its conclusion. I was moved every night by the capping vocal leading the final wave that had Robin surfing his awesome guitar solo, meeting with the synth solo and then descending to finally rall in an ending of epic proportions. It always blew people away first time they heard it live and for Steve and I especially it was a huge neon sign that told us we were heading in the right direction and creating something extraordinary with ‘Weltschmerz’.”


“Looking out the train window at the passing grey of Humberside and the sprawling urban landscapes I thought of the dreams that I’d tried to capture in the lyric of ‘Tux On’. The glimmer of hope from a lottery win or a shiny guitar, the escape from what he was born into, the prison of inopportunity and inequality and the demon dark pitfalls of success and fortune. The newsfeed on the I phone reminded me as I read about yet another celebrity from the other world of reality TV falling from grace and favour and off the edge.

It wasn’t a deliberate statement to end the set with 2 songs that were about the false promise and fickle nature of success and until writing this I’d never really thought about their position. Maybe it was one of those subconscious statements to ‘self’. ‘Tux On’ with it’s pulsing intro was always greeted as an old friend by fans, never played when I was in ‘Marillion’, and a B-side that perhaps deserved more attention back in the day.”


“When Foss ‘Tufty’ Paterson started to wind up the intro (to ‘Incommunicado’) we all recognised it was the last song. We were bushed but pushing it through with as much as we had left in the tanks. The band were foot to the floor 4x4 and mine was on the monitor wedges in true 80’s rock star style. I was throwing all my ‘embarrassing Dad dancing’ moves and we were digging in with massive grins on our faces. It was such an apt song to finish with on every level and the relief at having completed this enormous tour of tours relatively unscathed, relatively sane and all still great friends was something for everyone to be immensely proud of. The circus tent was finally coming down.

That was the show that was.”