Saturday, 1 March 2014

Live in 2014: Mike Peters - The Alarm Declaration 30th Anniversary Tour - The Gwyn Hall, Neath

Well, it came to pass that on February 28th 2014, a Welsh musical legend came to play in my tiny hometown theatre. And I was there.

I have seen Mike Peters with and without The Alarm on many, many occasions both in Wales and England, I was even there for his debut solo gig back in the day but nothing is as special as Mike playing in your hometown. especially as he's Welsh and the day before St David's Day too.

It is 30 years since the release of the debut Alarm album, Declaration back in 1984 and Mike has devised a tour to celebrate the occasion. For those who who are not aware, Mike was the principal songwriter and was responsible for most of  The Alarm's output.

The show was a game of two halves. The first half comprised of some of Mike's best known songs. The second half, a complete run through of The Declaration album.

It was Mike, his guitar, effects board  & 3 microphones! Staring off with his earliest tunes such as Unsafe Building, Mike took time to explain the stories behind the songs and some selected anecdotes about his life both with The Alarm & solo.

Among the excellent songs Mike played in the first half of the show were the classic A New South Wales, in which everyone started to sing. A nice surprise was his interpretation of Pete Seeger's Bells Of Rhymney, in which most South Wales towns are mentioned - with Neath getting the obviously biggest cheer. It was the second time in 3 days that I'd heard this song played live, as Oysterband had played it in their Hereford gig a couple of nights before.

He had a great cheer for Rain In The Summertime and another song that I hadn't heard live for a while was the excellent In The Presence Of Love.

The second half of the show was Mike playing ALL of the songs on the Declaration album together with tales of how the songs came into being.

It was great to hear all these old songs again. Some are classics which Mike plays regularly but some I haven't live in years. 
There were plenty of Alarm fans in the crowd who were singing every song and every word.

Mike told some great anecdotes of his time with the band in America and supporting U2 over in the states. 
He also explained the story behind 68 Guns and played the elongated version of the song.

With a fantastic performance of Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke, he had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, singing their hearts out and more importantly, ON THEIR FEET!! He even acknowledged the crowd by throwing the packs of cards into the audience. (All cards are marked) :)

I managed to catch the Ace

All Alarm fans know that the last song is always Blaze Of Glory and Mike didn't disappoint. With the whole crowd now singing Blaze Of Glory, Mike left the stage to rapturous applause.

After a rousing standing ovation, the crowd stayed on their feet for the encore which included blistering versions of Absolute Reality, Spirit of 76, Rescue Me, 45rpm and Walk Forever By My Side.
He came back on for the final One Guitar to thunderous applause and a final refrain of Blaze Of Glory from the crowd. 

You couldn't really have asked more from the man. A great show with great songs played with passion and integrity and I went home with a sore throat from singing too much :)
Oh, and how many people noticed The Cult's Billy Duffy in the front row?

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Twitter - @thealarm

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