"Revving up at the Mean Fiddler" - Mike & The Mechanics
in concert at the Mean Fiddler, Dublin on 30th July 1995. Review by Declan Kelly.
This was a show I was really looking forward to, as I have always wanted to see The Mechanics play live. The Mean Fiddler in Dublin is only a small club which can accommodate 800 people. Neither too big or too small, I thought. The place filled up fairly quickly and by the time the band were on stage at 9.30 it was packed. I noticed a few new faces in the line up this time. In Peter Van Hooke's place was Pink Floyd percussionist Gary Wallis, whilst Floyd guitarist Tim Renwick took his place beside Mike Rutherford.
The ceremony began with Beggar On A Beach Of Gold sung by Paul Young who I believe is a really great singer. It was a thunderous version quite the same as on the album. A Sad Café song followed; Every Day Hurts which only a few of the crowd knew but nevertheless, the crowd which had been slowly warming up received it well. Paul Carrack then took the lead vocals with a brilliant version of Another Cup Of Coffee followed by Someone Always Hates Someone, and Something To Believe In, in quick succession.
By now the audience were in full voice, screaming their heads off, including me! The catchy Over My Shoulder had the crowd whistling along with Paul Carrack's fine vocals. I noticed that the band were looking at each other in disbelief at the crowd's reaction to them; they were obviously overwhelmed by the superb crowd and were obviously delighted with the way things were going.
Mike Rutherford then introduced the band amidst loud cheers from a high spirited audience who wanted more. Paul Young then introduced Mike who got the biggest cheer of all. Web Of Lies restarted the proceedings with some great guitar playing from Mike followed by the fabulous Plain And Simple with Paul Young on top form. It was a rather extended version from the album but nevertheless the band had the crowd in the palm of their hands.
Then it was time for a few old favourites as All I Need Is A Miracle and Paul Young's participation with the crowd brought the house down. A rather disappointing Silent Running followed. It was completely changed around into a slowed down I Can't Dance routine but the crowd still loved it. One or two Paul Carrack songs followed, but not many recognised them and then - a treat for Genesis fans: I Can't Dance broke in with the guitar riff from Mike and Paul Young not trying to do a Phil Collins. It went down very well, although it was slightly different from Genesis' version. Living Years brought the cigarette lighters into action and was really no different to the album version. Shades of Another Day In Paradise here. How Long? an Ace song followed and again, only a couple of the crowd recognised it.
The band left the stage for a three minute interval with the crowd shouting their heads off for more! I looked around and could see everyone was exhausted and exhilarated! When the band returned, Paul Young and Paul Carrack duetted on You Really Got A Hold On Me. The crowd was swept away on a wave of emotion, it was a brilliant version of the old Smokey Robinson favourite. Word Of Mouth brought an end to the proceedings with the crowd going absolutely wild -women were drooling over Paul Young and the men were airborne!
The band could not believe the reaction the crowd had given them and as they took their bows, everybody united to shout :"We want more" and as they left the stage the cries echoed through the hall. The band were very well received by everyone and they will definitely visit Dublin again next time on any tour. Although the show only lasted an hour and a half, it seemed very long. All in all a very enjoyable night was had by everyone concerned. I was a bit disappointed though because of the lack of older songs in the set; notably Take The Reins; A Call To Arms and Beautiful Day but the emphasis was on new material.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and will definitely go to see The Mechanics next time they come to Ireland.