"Mechanical Magic" - Mike+ The Mechanics in concert at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, Monday 24th April 2023. Review and photographs by Alan Hewitt.
Mike & The Mechanics, the band that started almost forty years, ago, yes it really has been that long since they first roared out of the garage, are currently on the aptly titled "Refueled" tour. Most of us would have believed that after the end of Genesis' final tour last year Mike would have been content to put his feet up but oh no, he had other plans.
Taking my seat in the Philharmonic Hall I noticed that once again the band had a simple but as it proved, highly effective backdrop and lights all of which were well deployed during the evening.
I guess that I wasn't the only one wondering how the new boy; Mr Nic Collins would fare on the drum stool vacated by Gary Wallis. Well, having seen Nic both with his dad during his Not Dead Yet tour and more recently Genesis' Last Domino tour I had no worries that he could handle the nuances of the Mechanics' set.
The show got under way with a lively reading of Get Up swiftly followed by A Beggar On A Beach Of Gold and Another Cup Of Coffee all delivered piping hot in the Mechanics' own inimitable style. Everyone looked relaxed and happy to be here and young Mr Collins had absolutely no problems fitting in at all!
Are You Ready was next, silly question really as the audience WERE ready and prepared to party like only a Liverpool audience can. The highly charged atmosphere was lessened next with the rather downbeat Try To Save Me which I guess gave band and audience a chance to recover before the celebrations really kickex up a notch with Jesus He Knows Me, with Tim Howar in fine form camping it up for this latter-day Genesis classic.
Let Me Fly proves that the band haven't lost the knack of writing great songs with great hooks and this one was received enthusiastically by the crowd. The Best Is Yet To Come - song title and statement of intent as the band had much more in the ammo locker to fire at us tonight.
Wonder proved what Mike has always said about the Mechanics, it's all about mood and atmosphere and this one, delivered in deliciously soulful style by Andrew Roachford was a delight.
We had already had our first "drop of Genesis" but the next one got the audience going - Invisible Touch, a hard song to sing but Tim Howar grabbed it by the neck and shook the hell out of it. Nic Collins delivered a masterclass in percussion on this one too while Mike and Anthony Drennan exchanged licks and riffs with evident glee.
I Don't Know What Came Over Me was next up. Laid back and wistful once again, Roachford made this a joy to listen to.
Acoustic sets have become the norm recently and The Mechanics were no exception as everyone moved stage front to deliver Nobody's Perfect, Everybody Gets A Second Chance and Follow You Follow Me acoustically. The former works surprisingly well in this stripped down format whilst the others had already become acoustic favourites from the last tour.
I Can't Dance, complete with the routine was next. Personally I can take or leave this one, but what the hell, the audience loved it!
Roachford time next as we got the audience participation well and truly under way with Cuddly Toy - always a favourite.
A Mechanics show without The Living Years would be unthinkable and it was next. Atmospheric, laden with emotion and delivered flawlessly by the band.
The show proper finished with All I Need Is A Miracle, no miracles required as the band by now had the audience eating out of their hand and lapping every moment up. Once again Nic Collins excelled himself here.
Encores? Of course there were encores! First up, the evergreen Over My Shoulder featuring the keyboard and whistling talents of Mr Luke Juby who had been multi tasking all evening on keyboards, bass and now whistles! And what else could end a Mechanics gig but the boisterous Word Of Mouth by which time the entire audience were on their feet
All too quickly the gig was over, that's what happens when you have so much fun I guess, and an evening spent with The Mechanics is always fun. Here's to the next time!