“The Road To The Apollo” - Mike + The Mechanics in concert at the Manchester Apollo Theatre 20th May 2011. Review and photographs by Jill Walker.
Friday in Manchester was amazing. Mike and Tony Smith were outside by the stage
door beforehand and Mike looked relaxed and happy. I must say I had mixed feelings
about seeing a new incarnation of the band. I needn’t have worried.
Mike’s introduction and a stonking rendition of The Road lit up the Apollo and all was well. It was great to hear a mention for Paul Young when Mike introduced A Beggar On A Beach Of Gold and Tim Howar grabbed the moment, earning himself a standing ovation - only two songs in! Hit after hit followed, with superb vocals from Tim and Andrew. The new songs getting an equally great reception.
Highlights for me were All I Need Is A Miracle and Word Of Mouth, both highly charged, exciting crowd pleasers. It was great to see Anthony Drennan again, a wonderful guitarist, and original Mechanic Gary Wallis solid as ever at the back. New boy Luke Juby proved his worth on keyboards, backing vocals and whistling! Andrew Roachford seemed a strange choice to work with Mike but I was proved wrong, and what a wealth of talent the man has! A great front man, with a strong, smooth as silk voice, plus amazing keyboard skills.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s Tim! Wow! What a performer, with a powerhouse voice. Mike looked as if he was enjoying every moment and seemed content to stand back and let his new Mechanics have their rein. All together a brilliant show.
Afterwards, Tim came out for a chat, dripping with sweat and high on adrenalin. Such a lovely chap. He said Manchester was the venue he had been most nervous of playing, being Paul Young’s home turf and he knew he had big boots to fill. We assured him that he had done Paul proud. He hinted that this group were in it for the long haul which was great news.
Thanks for the review and photos, Jill. Here’s to many more outings by the band.