Mike & The Mechanics play a finely tuned show of career highlights at The Royal Albert Hall
By Paul Davies.
STILL on the road and souped up with a new album of re-imagined classics Out Of The Blue, Rutherford's original side venture from his Genesis day job has come full circle as a remarkable show of re-fitted classics, plus a cache of Genesis songs, captured the hearts and minds of a devoted Royal Albert Hall audience.
Opener Best Is Yet To Come presaged an evening of consummate stagecraft. Continuing their trademark twin vocal attack with decade celebrating Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar fronting the current Look Over Your Shoulder tour, the retro heavy setlist reminded of the musical milestones and chart hits created along this band’s continuing road.
From the current album release, new waxing One Way slow burned with its soulful drip of sound therapy with Roachford taking lead vocals and Rutherford playing a searing guitar solo.
Interestingly, Rutherford and... regularly switched between guitar and bass during this reflective set firstly on a soaring Let Me Fly as Roachford and Howar blended beautiful vocal harmonies.
Then a deftly executed take on Genesis' Land Of Confusion captured the current Brexit impasse with blaring gusto to surprise all back in the day fans.
Pulling one of his own solo hits out of his back pocket, Roachford's smash hit Cuddly Toy mutated into a Motown rock out with a big beat workout of tightly timed finesse tempting the audience out of their seats for some serious bodywork movements.
Confidently including the new songs into their long set, Out Of The Blue purred out of the speakers with its catchy hypnotic synthesised intro reminiscent of Genesis’ And Then There Were Three album.
Following Roachford’s humorous bladder break interval quip, the unplugged Genesis hit Follow You Follow Me kicked off the second set in a campfire singalong style with Tim Howar, fresh from appearing in The Phantom Of The Opera, revealing a silky warm set of pipes as he did on follow up new song What Would You Do.
Proving his powerful tiger in the tank credentials, Howar busted his lungs on final Genesis song I Can’t Dance as Rutherford cranked up the volume to blast out its rock heavy riff.
An evening creatively re-working some of their much-loved songs climaxed with the gospel-infused opening to The Living Years as Roachford added an emotional texture hollering the opening verses to this still touching and immersive anthem of loss and regret.
A stage set of miniature hot air balloons emblazoned with M & M’s album covers hovered above the player's heads as tonight’s career overview took flight to give their devoted fans a memorable ride of their lives.
Mike and the Mechanics