Mike and The Mechanics - Live at The Hanover Grand, London, Monday 10th May, 1999. Review by Jill Walker.

I'll never forget that 'phone call and those words; "What are you doing on Monday 10th May?" It was our esteemed Editor with an invitation to die for! Mike and The Mechanics were performing a premier showcase gig at the Hanover Grand in London and would I like to be there? WOULD I?!!!

The clock ticked very slowly that day until it was time to meet up with the rest of the gang in a suitable watering hole around the corner from the venue. I soon spotted the familiar face of Alan and was made to feel welcome. I must say it was great to meet up with so many other like-minded people and the atmosphere was already charged as we made our way to the Club, armed with our very own laminate passes. We headed straight to the front of the stage and were surprised at how small and informal it all seemed. As the lights went down a huge roar went up and the arrival of Mike & The Mechanics was announced onstage by BBC Radio Two DJ Richard Allinson.

For openers, the band launched into Beggar on a beach of gold and the crowd responded by joining in with every word. Keeping up the tempo Paul Carrack's keyboard intro heralded a cracking version of Get up. With everyone now warmed up the first new track appeared; Ordinary girl. The guitar riffs from Mike seemed somehow familiar and yet very original., and as we were told by Mike himself the following week (but that's ANOTHER story!) this was indeed a Beatles' pastiche. It was stunning and was well received.

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The lucky ticket

Another cup of coffee followed and we were treated to the velvet tones of Paul Carrack. More new songs next including the very catchy Whenever I stop and All the light I need which I hope we hear much more of. Then came a gem of a song; "My Little Island", written by Mike and B A Robertson, featuring Paul Young in lounge lizard mode i.e. on a bar stool with a fag in hand, mesmerising us with that voice - wonderful!

All the new songs featured proved the Mechanics are still capable of coming up with something fresh and appealing. The combined talents of the band ensure the high quality of their music which we were privileged to be drinking in at such close quarters. The medley of hits from previous bands; Sad Café, Ace and of course, Genesis followed accompanied by the massed choir of the Hanover Club! (Well, we were being recorded by Radio Two!!). There is something amazing about all three songs, each meaning something special to someone. Paul Young's emotional Everyday Hurts brings a lump to your throat, and it is sung with such a passion. My new friend Liz was quite overcome at this point and couldn't quite believe she was there; stood six feet from Paul singing THAT song. Then Paul Carrack's How Long? Followed another very moving performance that had everyone enraptured. To top that lot came I can't dance which although not everyone's favourite Genesis song; is a great crowd pleaser with Paul Young giving it full throttle.
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Mike on stage, with Mechanic

A complete change of mood next and how that little lot can be followed with The Living Years I do not know, but this is the magic of the Mechanics. They can shift direction effortlessly and leave you gasping. This song will live on forever, it is a pure work of art. Can we take anymore? As our voices were turning into croaks the two Pauls were storming ahead. All I need is a miracle finishing the show proper with full audience participation. The band returned to a tumultuous reception for an encore of Over my shoulder and Word of mouth both blistering performances. Special mention must be made to guitarist Jamie Moses who fitted in superbly and added a touch of colour with a fabulous black and orange shirt, and also to Gary Wallis on drums who worked tirelessly mostly unseen at the back keeping everyone together.

At the end of a stupendous concert The Waiting Room contingent hung around as the Club emptied and we refreshed our throats with a drink or three! By the way, Alan actually refused my offer of a beer! Then I noticed one or two people drifting down some stairs, so being nosy, I followed and found myself face to face with Mr. Rutherford himself. I think I managed to string together a few coherent words and he kindly signed a poster for me. We eventually made our way out of the Club on a high and rounded the night off in the nearest pub, celebrating a magnificent event. The company I must say was very illustrious and as well as other fellow readers of TWR also included Helmut Janisch (Editor of It) and Mario Giammetti (Editor of Dusk) and our very own Alan. We toasted the Mechanics and all things Genesis and it was the end of a perfect day.

A big thank you to Mike, Paul C and Paul Y for the magnificent music, to The Waiting Room and especially Alan for giving me the chance to be there.

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More Mechanics

No problem, Jill, I only wish everything else was as easy and enjoyable to organise! (Alan H)