Mick Pointer's Script For A Jester's Tour
& Dec Burke Band

December 17, 2010 - De Pul, Uden (NL)

For several weeks, low temperatures, snowfall and slippery roads had harassed The Netherlands as Mick Pointer's Script For A Jester's Tour arrived to perform in Uden and Zoetermeer for their annual Christmas-shows. On the day of their first live show in Uden, the weather-forecast wasn't very hopeful. The weathermen even urged not to go outdoors if not necessary. However, on the website of venue De Pul in Uden it was said that Mick Pointer's show would continue since the musicians had already arrived there. Only lead singer Brian Cummins hadn't arrived yet, but he would be expected soon. When I entered the building it surprised me to see so many devotees of progressive rock. They all wanted to relive a part of their childhood by enjoying a trip down memory lane with Script For A Jesters Tear. They hoped to see a Fish lookalike who would be able to fabulously imitate the former singer of Marillion. I had witnessed one of the first live shows myself in May 2008 and I was very impressed by Brian's performance.

However, when support act The Dec Burke Band entered the stage - half an hour later than announced - it became clear that Mr. Cummins hadn't arrived at the venue in time. Dec Burke had the difficult task to get the audience ready for what seemed to become an unexpected concert evening.
Dec Burke and Tim Churchman (drums)
Along with drummer Tim Churchman, Burke left his band Darwin's Radio to go on as a solo artist. Before releasing his first solo album Destroy All Monsters, he had been playing with Frost* to earn some money. I think his solo album will not be enjoyed by a lot of prog heads. The music on Destroy All Monsters moves too much towards straightforward popular music. His live performance in Uden proved why the music on this release isn't my cup of tea! The songs contain too little prog influences. Apart from that, the man behind the mixing desk delivered a poor sound. However, after his performance Dec explained to me that the sound quality on stage was perfect. The audience wasn't that interested in the music that Mr. Burke and his fellow-musicians produced. The band left the stage after finishing the title track of Dec's debut album, but unexpectedly they returned to do a song from Darwin's Radio. Unfortunately, Breathe In made no impression at all. In fact this song was rather mediocre. The encore was probably done to kill the time that was left to prepare the headliners for what beforehand seemed to be a mission impossible.

During the break, Mick Pointer's wife handed out a piece of paper to all visitors containing the lyrics of Marillion's debut album and a couple of B-sides. Soon after these papers were distributed Mick Pointer explained the absence of their lead singer.
Mick Pointer
It turned out that Brian Cummins flight was cancelled at Liverpool Airport due to the bad weather conditions in the UK. He had tried to continue his journey by travelling through the Channel Tunnel between Dover and Calais. However, in spite of his efforts he couldn't get there in time for the first Dutch live show, so Pointer asked the audience to sing along with the lyrics of the songs. He also offered the audience a free entrance to the Zoetermeer-gig the next day just by showing their ticket to the staff of De Boerderij. This gig would include the complete line-up.

Before a song was performed by the band, Mick Pointer explained some historical facts about it. This meant that all tracks were interrupted, so the album wasn't performed as a whole piece of music. Guitarist Nick Barrett mostly took over the lead vocals, but after the show he explained that singing those songs was much more difficult than the ones he does with
Nick Barrett
Pendragon. Those songs were written for playing guitar and singing the lead vocals simultaneously when needed. The Marillion-stuff was differently written. This made it hard for him to perform an incredible guitar solo whilst singing the lyrics. Thank goodness the audience was aware of this situation and tried to sing along the best they could. Occasionally Mr. Pointer tried to sing some parts when the drum patterns were not that difficult. Keyboard player Mike Varty also sang some of the lyrics. We could even listen to the voice of bass player Ian Salmon a couple of times. During
he turned the microphone towards the audience in order to participate. Thanks to Anthony Abdoella and some other volunteers, the vocals began to sound professional as they stepped forward to support the band. After Market Square Heroes the musicians left the stage.

For a while it seemed the audience didn't make enough noise for the musicians to return. Maybe this wasn't the gig they had in mind when they bought a ticket? Maybe they had enough of singing along with all those classic Marillion pieces... Well, eventually the band returned for an encore. They performed the expected piece Margaret in a proper way. This song was also a nice vehicle to introduce the musicians on stage. Just like the audience they had a concert they will probably never forget. Even without a proper lead singer I enjoyed this special occasion. I won't remember this performance as being one of the best of 2010, but certainly as one of the most surprising gigs ever!

Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Setlist Dec Burke:

The Last Time
Winter To Summer
Signs Of Life
Yesterday's Fool
Small Hours
Destroy All Monsters

Breathe It In

Pictures Dec Burke by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Dec Burke:

(left to right)
Steve Kightley:
keyboard, bass guitar
Dec Burke:
lead vocals, keyboard, guitar
Tim Churchman:
Hywel Bennett:

Setlist Mick Pointer & friends:

Script For A Jester's Tear
He Knows You Know
The Web
Garden Party
Chelsea Monday
Forgotten Sons
Charting The Single
Market Square Heroes


Pictures Mick Pointer by Arthur Haggenburg

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Line up Mick Pointer:

(left to right)
Mick Pointer:
drums, vocals
Ian Salmon:
bass guitar, vocals
Mike Varty:
keyboards, vocals
Nick Barrett:
guitar, vocals

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