With a tour by the Mechanics not long finished , I thought it might prove interesting to have a look at some of the live recordings that have documented the bands' tours since their first outing in 1986. Sadly, as far as I am aware no soundboard recordings by The Mechanics have surfaced but nonetheless there are plenty of decent audience recordings and a fair number of radio broadcasts out there.
The band's first tour was a USA/Canada affair only in support of the first Mechanics album and I have selected two recordings from that tour here.
The first is titled "Miracle Mania" and is taken from the band's gig at the Tower Theater Upper Darby on 2nd June 1986. This is taken from a radio broadcast of the gig and captures the band in fine form with their first live set even including tracks from Acting Very Strange. An excellent start for any Mechanics fan's collection.
"Miracle Mania" - Tower Theater Upper Darby PA 2nd June 1986
Track Listing: Hanging By A Thread/Silent Running/Maxine/Taken In/A Call To Arms/Tempted/I Get The Feeling/All I Need Is A Miracle/Nobody's Perfect(*)/I Believe(*)/The Living Years(*)
Source: King Biscuit Flower Hour FM Radio Broadcast.
(*) = Tracks from Tower Theater Upper Darby 1989.
Our second selection from the 1986 "Miracle Tour" is a complete audience recording of the St Louis gig. Technically this is obviously, not as good as the previous recording but a vital document as one of only a handful of gigs from this inaugural tour seem to have been recorded. This one provides a document of the entire set played on this first tour including not only the Acting Very Strange tracks which were never performed on subsequent tours, but also the band's cover of the Spencer Davis Group's classic: Gimme Some Lovin'.
"Live In St Louis" - Kiel Open House St Louis MO 11th June 1986
Track Listing: Hanging By A Thread/Half Way There/Silent Running/Taken In/I Don't Wanna Know/ Maxine/Par Avion/A Call To Arms/Tepmted/I Get The Feeling/Take The Reins/All I Need Is A Miracle/Gimme Some Lovin'.
It was to be three years before Mike toured again with the Mechanics, in support of The Living Years album with a highly successful European and US tour. Once again no soundboard or mixing desk recordings have surfaced from this tour but fortunately again there are a good few audience and radio broadcasts to document the tour for us.
First up is "Hearing Is Believing" an excellent complete audience recording of the band's gig at the Apollo Theatre in Manchester. Here is a band in fine form delivering a high octane show to an enthusiastic crowd captured in a good quality audience recording.
"Hearing Is Believing" - Apollo Theatre Manchester 5th March 1989
Track Listing: Nobody's Perfect/Seeing Is Believing/Silent Running/Don’t/Nobody Knows/Hanging By A Thread/Why Me?/Taken In/Beautiful Day/Black And Blue/Par Avion/A Call To Arms/The Living Years/I Get The Feeling/Take The Reins/All I Need Is A Miracle/Poor Boy Down.
Also from this tour is an excellent BBC Radio broadcast of the show at the Odeon Theatre in Hammersmith London which captures edited highlights from the show.
"Live In London" - Hammersmith Odeon London 19th March 1989
Track Listing: Nobody's Perfect/Seeing Is Believing/Silent Running/Don't/Why Me?/Par Avion/Taken In/A Call To Arms/The Living Years/Poor Boy Down.
Source: FM Radio broadcast
An even longer period was to elapse before the band took to the road again in 1995 with the tour in support of the hugely successful A Beggar On A Beach of Gold tour which spanned 1995 and into 1996 with the subsequent Hits album and tour. I have selected one recording from each year to highlight the show which was performed.
"Live At Shepherds Bush" is another excellent BBC Radio broadcast of the highlights from the Beggar… show once again capturing the band in excellent form
"Live At Shepherd's Bush" - Shepherd's Bush Empire Theatre London 18th July 1995
Track Listing: Get Up/You Really Got A Hold On Me/Over My Shoulder/Silent Running/Plain & Simple/Another Cup Of Coffee/Someone Always Hates Someone/Paul Carrack interview/Web Of Lies/The Living Years/Word Of Mouth.
Source: FM Radio broadcast
From the 1996 "Hits" tour comes the audience recording of the gig at the Empire Theatre Liverpool on 14th April 1996. This was the bands' first performance in Liverpool and this recording captures them in great form in front of an enthusiastic Scouse audience (including yours truly!).
"Live In Liverpool" - Empire Theatre Liverpool 14th April 1996
Track Listing: Silent Running/I Believe/Get Up/A Beggar On A Beach Of Gold/Someone Always Hates Someone/Another Cup Of Coffee/Plain & Simple/Eyes Of Blue/Nobody's Perfect/Every Day Hurts/How Long?/I Can't Dance/Living Years/All I Need Is A Miracle/Word Of Mouth/Over My Shoulder.
Another lengthy gap was to follow the Hits tour and 1999 saw The Mechanics on the road again in support of the M6 album an album and tour which were both to be tinged with sadness by the untimely death of Paul Young a few months after the completion of the tour. Fortunately, Paul's contribution to the band on this tour is well documented by radio and audience recordings, among them the following…
"Hanover's Grand" is another superb BBC radio broadcast of the warm-up gig for the tour which some TWR readers might well remember because TWR had the chance to take fifty lucky readers to it as guests! Once again, a fine performance captured in a superb quality recording.
"Hanover's Grand" - The Hanover Grand London 10th May 1999
Track Listing: Ordinary Girl/Now That You've Gone/Another Cup Of Coffee/Whenever I Stop/All The Light I Need/Every Day Hurts/How Long?/I Can't Dance/Living Years/All I Need Is A Miracle/Over my Shoulder.
Source: FM Radio broadcast
Following on from that recording is complete audience recording of the gig at Manchester's Apollo Theatre on 14th May which is even more important as it was to be Paul's last performance in front of his home crowd.
"Live in Manchester" - Apollo Theatre Manchester 14th May 1999
Track Listing: A Beggar On A Beach Of Gold/Get Up/Ordinary Girl/Now That You've Gone/Another Cup Of Coffee/Always Listen To Your Heart/Whenever I Stop/Silent Running/My Little Island/If I Could See You Now/Every Day Hurts/How Long?/I Can't Dance/Living Years/All I Need Is A Miracle/Over My Shoulder/Word Of Mouth.
Another excellent radio broadcast also exists from the bands' performance at the RTL Studios in Paris from this tour.
The Mechanics have most recently been in action this year as opening act for Phil Collins and so far a handful of audience recordings have surfaced to document the bands' performances with the best of these being from the Amsterdam Arena.
"Rewired Live" captures the gig at the Amsterdam Arena in support of Phil Collins and is a clean audience recording of the entire set.
"Rewired Live" - Amsterdam Arena 19th June 2004
Track Listing: Sooner Or Later/Now That You've Gone/Silent Running/If I Were You/One Left Standing/ Living Years/Over My Shoulder/Word Of Mouth.
Recordings are also available for the band's gigs at…
Munich Olympic Statdium 6th June 2004
Cologne Rein Energie Stadion 12th June 2004
Both of which are also complete audience recordings of the shows but of inferior quality to the above.