Mike and The Mechanics in concert at the SCC Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, Saturday, June 5 1999. Review by Alex Main.

A couple of major first for me; this concert was my first time seeing the Mechanics live. Also my first look at the latest venue to be built in Glasgow - the Auditorium or "Armadillo" as it is known. It sits next door to the Exhibition Centre and yes, from a distance it stands like some giant silver armadillo against the skyline, born out of a marriage between a giant conch shell and Sydney Opera House - very twenty-first Century looking. Inside it was just as impressive - nice seating, acoustics and ventilation to boot!

We arrived just after 7.30 p.m. with Irish support band "The Swans" already on stage playing a selection of material from their new album "Photographs and Letters". They were very pleased with the reception they got from the Glaswegian audience who are notorious for sending new (support) bands back home to their day jobs and obscurity. I think this bunch of musicians may just have a future in popular music.

At 8.45 p.m. on the button, The Mechanics strolled on stage to a great welcome - no intro tapes for these guys. They kicked off with "Get Up" which was kind of funny considering that the audience remained seated! They then hammered their way through "Beggar on a Beach of Gold", "Another Cup of Coffee", "All I Need is a Miracle" etc with such gusto I was beginning to worry what songs would be left to finish the night with. I need not have worried; the new album was also well represented with songs mainly from side one; "Whenever I Stop"; "Ordinary Girl"; "All The Light I Need"; "Now That You've Gone" (another classic like "Living Years" which deals with loss) and "My Little Island" which I thought was one of the weaker songs on the new album but, as usually happens, it came across better in a live setting with Paul Young superb on lead vocals.

The crowd were right behind Mike and the lads and everything seemed to rise to new heights with the medley of "Everyday Hurts/How Long?/I Can't Dance". Paul Young as usual came into his own on the Genesis song. His pelvic gyrations seemed to have my female partner and many of the women in the audience in a frenzy - sorry Paul, it didn't do anything for me but if Andrea Corr was to try something similar the next time The Corrs are in town - well, enough said!

The slow version of "Silent Running" followed and then "The Living Years" a song which I am sure everyone in the audience can relate to in more ways than one - I know I can! This was the point at which the crowd for the first time, rose to their feet just as the opening notes of "Word of Mouth" played. A great sing-along was had by all - band introductions where I made Paul Carrack the winner going by the "clapometer" slightly ahead of Mike Rutherford (so Carrack must have a big following in this neck of the woods). "Over My Shoulder" closed proceedings - how does he manage that whistling break in the middle of the song? It was hilarious listening to several hundred people trying to whistle along with Paul.

Click to see full-size picture
"Are they standing up yet?"

Anyway, a great night - I haven't enjoyed a concert so much in ages (I really must get out more). I think Mike and the lads enjoyed it too. They didn't seem to want to leave the stage, milking the applause for all it was worth. Hurry back soon, guys!