"Another day at the Iron Door" - Face Value in concert at the Iron Door Club, Birkenhead, Saturday June 2, 2001. Review by Alan Hewitt.

It's amazing how your past catches up with you from time to time. A couple of months ago the lead singer in this band e-mailed me telling me about the band and reminding me of a certain raucous trip to see Phil Collins in 1990 (all details have been changed to protect the guilty!). I was surprised to hear from John because we had lost touch completely since that gig. Anyway, a variety of circumstances prevented me from seeing the band before now and so with them virtually on my doorstep, no more excuses! Dragging a friend along with me, we headed off to the salubrious haunt of Birkenhead.

I had heard only good things about the band from reviews of previous gigs and a particularly glowing report from fellow Paperlater, Michelle Bond, and the only reservation I had was that the drummer's part was taken by a (shock horror!) drum machine! Not deterred I settled in with a pint in hand (what else?) and had a brief chat with John before showtime and reminisced about our antics that almost got us thrown out of a French hotel almost eleven years ago!

The band emerged on stage and the small but growing crowd gave them a warm welcome as they opened the set with "Mama" which got everything off to a good start. The classics flew thick and fast: "Something Happened On The Way To Heaven", "Against All Odds" and "No Son Of Mine" were all performed faultlessly and by this time it really didn't matter that the drumming was being done by a machine - the musical performance itself was superb and John's voice was uncannily similar to Mr. Collins - time to apply the bleach to the shampoo bottle, though, John!

The first real surprise for me was the combined performance of "Many Too Many" and "Follow You Follow Me" which are two of my personal favourites and I am not ashamed to admit that I had a few tears in my eyes during the former track which was played to perfection.

The dramatic "Another Day In Paradise" and "I Cannot Believe It's True" led us nicely into the pure pop of "Land Of Confusion" and the hard rock of "Abacab" which really showed off the talents of both the band's guitarist - who had been doing a superb job all night already, but who really excelled himself - and the keyboard player too.

Songs which I hadn't listened to for ages greeted me like old friends - "Hang In Long Enough" and "Invisible Touch" sat alongside "You Can't Hurry Love" and "Two Hearts" like the two sides of the same coin and the final run down to the end of the show proper had everyone on their feet! Well, I don't think it is physically possible not to boogie on down to "Sussudio" and I have been known to cut a rug during "That's All" (frightening thought, I know, but true!). "Easy Lover" and "A Groovy kind Of Love" gave all the Saturday night romantics a chance for a smooch as the set drew to a close.

The band left the stage to well-deserved applause before returning with yet another surprise for yours truly - a rendition of the acoustic "Afterglow" from the recently broadcast "Genesis Songbook" dedicated to me by John! Well, that was the seal on a perfect night but the show wasn't over yet - far from it! The power rock of "Turn It On Again" kept everyone on their feet before the usual set finisher "Take Me Home" came and went in the blink of an eye, and still there was no let up. Having gained and kept the audience's attention the band were not about to let us go without a serious workout and "Domino" and "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" certainly fitted the bill leaving everyone exhausted and screaming for more.

This performance was without doubt, one of the best by any tribute band I have ever seen. Attention to musical detail and sheer performing talent were there aplenty and I will certainly be seeing these guys again in the near future - catch 'em if you can you won't be disappointed - I guarantee it!

The setlist: Mama / Something Happened On The Way To Heaven / Against All Odds / No Son Of Mine / Don't Lose My Number / Jesus He Knows Me / Many Too Many / Follow You Follow Me / In The Air Tonight / Another Day In Paradise / I Can't Dance / Land Of Confusion / Abacab / Hang In Long Enough / Invisible Touch / You Can't Hurry Love / Two Hearts / Sussudio / That's All / Easy Lover / Groovy Kind Of Love

Encores: Turn It On Again / Take Me Home / Domino / Tonight, Tonight, Tonight

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Face Value: Tony Cole, John Wilkinson, Will Smith
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Will Smith on stage
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Tony Cole on stage
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John Wilkinson on stage
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