Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
Sunday April 12th
Mike and the Mechanics rolled into town on Sunday night for the Edinburgh leg of their ‘The Hits Tour’. The group has an ever-changing rosta of musicians and the one constant is Mike himself – Mike Rutherford founder member of Genesis and bass player for that legendary band. For this tour Mike has a clutch of journeymen musicians who are all fine players and the jewel in his current crown is Andrew Roachford, the frontman of the once very popular Roachford and a marvellous singer and keyboard player in his own right. The gig did what it said on the tin – all the hits were played and indeed played very well in the magnificent Festival Theatre. The band warmed up with a run through of many the Mechanics hits including ‘Another Cup of Coffee’, ‘A Beggar on a Beach of Gold’ and ‘Word of Mouth’. A new number yet to be recorded entitled ‘Let me Fly’ was a real highlight – watch out for this song. The Genesis legacy (although the post Gabriel mainstream era) was acknowledged with ‘I Can’t Dance’ and ‘Turn it on Again’ getting an airing. The mid section of the concert saw a sort of ‘unplugged’ mini set being essayed with the mood warm and welcoming – see pic. The band then stepped up the tempo again and as they motored towards the climax a real funky version of the top 10 Roachford hit ‘Cuddly Toy’ saw the elderly audience becoming fully engaged – although in truth the fans had been fully behind the Mechanics from note one. The penultimate offering was a beautiful, eerie and atmospheric version of ‘In the Living Years’ with Andrew Roachford doing a great job on lead vocals and the final song was the big number ‘All I need is Miracle’. The band’s encore was ‘Over My Shoulder’ / ‘Word of Mouth’ played with great gusto and rapturously received.
So, a great night out for fans of middle-of-the-road adult orientated rock. No nasty surprises, nothing edgy or challenging and the sound mix was perfect, perhaps the best I have ever heard in a concert hall. Mike seems like a thoroughly nice bloke and looks good in his white shirt and specially-for-the-occasion tartan trousers. The sort of performance that would not be out of place at a wedding gig. The last time I saw I saw Mike Rutherford live on stage was in 1974 as part of the Genesis Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour with Peter Gabriel going through the ringer out front. That was edgy and I did feel challenged that night. Still, I suppose we all grow old.
Reviewer: Chris Donkin