The Waterboys, Fisherman’s Blues: 25 years on

The Waterboys

The Waterboys

The Waterboys, Fisherman’s Blues Revisited, Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

It’s somewhat shocking to think that it’s 25 years since the Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues album was released – enough in fact to make one feel rather old.

That said it was a joy to relive it, particularly when the original magical line-up was reunited to recreate it in a live setting.

Mike Scott’s full-on foray into folk produced what undoubtedly was one of the Waterboys’ finest albums – if not the finest.

It might have disappointed some for departing from the anthemic rock sound that was the band’s trademark but went on to become the Waterboys’ biggest selling album.

The sellout Fisherman’s Blues Revisited tour set out to celebrate the 25th year since the release of this genuine classic that fused Scottish and Irish folk music with rock and roll to great effect.

The Fisherman’s Blues Revisited tour has seen Scott and Steve Wickham reunited with band members Anto Thistlethwaite and Trevor Hutchinson for the first time since 1990.

Scott was in fine form in Birmingham, regaling the audience with stories of the 100 or so songs produced during the lengthy process to create the album, some of which made it on to the follow-up ‘Too Close to Heaven’.

Fisherman’s Blues contains some works of real beauty and also charts a musical journey that saw Scott move to Ireland with recording sessions in Dublin, Spiddal and even San Francisco.

It was in Spiddal where much of the heart and soul of the album evolved, particularly when Scott hooked up with Irish fiddle legend Charlie Lennon, who ended up playing on the album and composing a tune or two that were included on it.

Despite Scott’s Scottish roots the album has come to be seen as a modern Irish classic.

While this concert didn’t recreate the album per se, it captured its spirit and that of the era too, with some fine musicianship on show, particularly Wickham’s virtuoso violin playing.

High points were the rousing ‘Fisherman’s Blues’, ‘And a Bang on the Ear’, ‘Sweet Thing’, a cover of Hank Williams’ ‘I’m So Lonesome I could Cry’ and ‘The Raggle Taggle Gypsy’, though the band also found time to perform hits like ‘The Whole of the Moon’and ‘Don’t Bang the Drum’.

A real night to remember in every respect and a chance to relive some of those unforgettable songs and tunes that made their mark so dramatically 25 years ago.