Question: which lovers of prog rock music don't know the words: 'so here I am once more, in the playground of the broken hearts'? Answer: I guess hardly anyone. Of course you know that this is the opening line from the song Script For A Jester's Tear by Marillion. It's the title track of the band's debut album (1983). This sentence is almost as famous as 'walking across the sitting-room, I turn the television off' from Supper's Ready by Genesis (1972), or 'sitting on the park bench, eyeing little girls with bad intent' from Aqualung by Jethro Tull (1971), or 'a modern day warrior, mean, mean stride' from Tom Sawyer by Rush (1981).
For several years Mick Pointer, the original drummer and one of the founding members of Marillion, performs the music of this masterpiece on stage as Mick Pointer's Script For A Jester's Tour. He brought the 'Script' back to life with the help of guitarist Nick Barrett (Pendragon), keyboard player Mike Varty (Credo, Landmarq), bassist Ian Salmon (ex-Arena, ex- Shadowland) and singer Brian Cunnings (The Carpet Crawlers). I already witnessed some of their performances like the remarkable Christmas Show at De Pul, Uden (2010, see review). I was very impressed how they relived the days of Marillion with Fish and the other fellow musicians of Pointer in those days. They outstandingly visualized the way Marillion played their Genesis inspired music as you can see on the DVD Recital Of The Script (1983/2003).
The Mick Pointer Band played the entire album once again at Cultuurpodium Boerderij, Zoetermeer on the 16th of March, 2013. This concert coincided with the 30th anniversary of Marillion's Script For A Jester's Tear. Well, recently the audio recordings of this concert have been released on a double live CD called Marillion's 'Script' Revisited. It was recorded and mixed by Simon Hanhart, who produced albums for Toyah, Asia and Arena as well. He was the original recording and mixing engineer for EMI on Script For A Jester's Tear in 1983. The performances of The Mick Pointer Band on this album are of an unprecedented level. The first disc contains the entire album, and to be honest: I think it's better than Marillion did in the eighties. The second disc contains the singles with its B-sides which were released at the time. They get strong versions as well!
The only difference with the original line-up is the band members who have been replaced by others. An example: Brian Cunnings talks about Zoetermeer in the title track, while Fish also mentioned the venue they were playing such as The Marquee. Fish introduced his fellow band members while playing the Scottish traditional Margaret as a final encore and Cunnings does exactly the same. This song differs from the remainder of the material, but it still is a perfect vehicle to put all members in the spotlight and to let the audience participate! The keyboard and electric guitar solos are just as amazing as on the original album and this also applies to Cunnings's vocals which are quite similar to those of Fish.
Unfortunately only the audio tracks of this recorded show are available. I'm not certain whether this show was recorded for a possible DVD or not. Hopefully they did, because it provides for an extra dimension to watch the musicians perform the music of this legendary album. Especially Cunnings perfectly copies Fish's stage act. He's dressed with the same kind of outfits and masks, and his face has been painted just like Derek William Dick − Fish's real name − did in the early eighties.
Nowadays Marillion play albums of their back catalogue in its entirety during the Marillion weekends. However, they never performed Script For A Jester's Tear, the album that brought them fame and fortune and gave the progressive rock scene a great boost at the time. Therefore I'm glad that Mick Pointer, the band's original drummer, dared to perform it in its entirety. It certainly pleases many prog rock fans to watch the same show again after thirty years. Moreover, the Mick Pointer Band probably played it better than Marillion. For all these reasons the best thing I can do is giving this record the highest possible score of five stars! It's well deserved!
***** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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