“Gearing up in Plymouth" Mike & the Mechanics in concert at the Plymouth Pavilions on Saturday 2nd May 2015. Review by Andrew Ward. Photographs by Stuart Barnes and Andrew Ward.
Let me make one thing clear from the outset - this will NOT be an impartial and unbiased review but very much a true fans’ appreciation of a great night.
A night that began with meeting Mr Rutherford (and Andrew Roachford) backstage - so you can see how special an occasion this was.
To the show itself. James Walsh got the evening going by playing a largely acoustic set to an attentive and appreciative crowd albeit one that was rather reserved. James was note perfect and it was interesting to hear the difference between his strident, confident singing and his somewhat quiet and reticent speaking voice. He sang a mixture of Starsailor and his own solo songs, together with a Rod Stewart cover and was well received at the end of his set.
It wasn’t long before the lights dimmed again and the start of Silent Running, the first of many quality hits. The Mechanics’ back catalogue is woefully underrated but many of the undoubted highlights were given a great workout. This was my first time seeing the band with this new line-up and I have to say that the “substitutions” have in no way weakened the band’s cohesion. The tight playing was of the highest standard as you would expect and the two new vocalists, Roachford and Tim Howar put on a performance to remember. Roachford’s keyboard playing, often when singing lead vocals at the same time was superb - quite how he manages to play the main riff in Nobody’s Perfect and sing is beyond me. And Tim Howar’s energy levels were high all night. His interactions with the audience were great and what was particularly striking was his enjoyment - he sang with a smile on his face throughout. Indeed, the whole band were quite clearly one happy family. I think that Mike deserves enormous credit for everything he has achieved with The Mechanics, particularly putting the current line-up together and going back on the road in the way that he has.
I should also mention the stage set and lighting. Apparently the original equipment was destroyed in a warehouse fire but you would never have known that what we saw was anything other than a great plan. Numerous Genesis and Phil Collins flight cases adorned the stage and the nature of the lighting was such that it often seemed very intimate. The rig did come spectacularly to life at times and I was certainly struck by it during Cuddly Toy.
The two Genesis tracks (Turn it On Again and I Can't Dance) were also performed with relish. Mike managing just a few steps of the “walk” during the latter.
All in all this was an outstanding show and the audience eventually came to life in the latter stages and roared its approval. Even if we hadn’t met Mike (and Andrew) beforehand it would have been quite a night. I can stress enough what Mike has achieved with The Mechanics. Any Genesis fan who appreciates Mike would be mad not to give them a listen as I believe their back catalogue is a hugely positive part of the Genesis family’s collective output. Roll on the new album!
Silent Running/A Beggar On A Beach Of Gold /Another Cup Of Coffee/Get Up/Try To Save Me/Let Me Fly/Seeing Is Believing /Not Out Of Love/Turn It On Again/The Road/Everybody Gets A Second Chance/Nobody’s Perfect/Cuddly Toy/I Can't Dance/The Living Years/All I Need Is A Miracle
Encores: Over My Shoulder/Word Of Mouth.