Monday, 4 May 2015

Live In 2015: Mike Peters - The Alarm Strength 30th Anniversary Show at The Globe, Cardiff on Saturday 2nd May 2015

To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Declaration last year, Mike Peters put on a special tour where he played the album in it's entirety, along with other firm favourites.

So, after last year's extremely successful Declaration 30th Anniversary Tour - I was hoping Mike Peters would work through the rest of the Alarm albums as they reached 30 - and it seems he's going to.

With 2015 being the 30th Anniversary of Strength, it only seems right to give Strength it's due.

In a change to last year's tour, the format for Strength is that in Part 1, Mike plays songs that led to the recording of the album - together with the stories that accompany the songs. Mike tells a good tale and uses his knowledge of those early times to great effect during the show.

Armed with three microphones, to the left, right and centre of the stage, (which he runs to throughout the show), one drum, acoustic guitars and an effects board, Mike begins with Break The Promise and it's evident from the off that this gig is going to be something a bit special.

Included in this first half singles released prior to the album's release and included are gems such as Majority, The Chant Has Begun, a stomping version of The Stand and a song that Mike considers to be the best Alarm song, written by Dave Sharp, it's One Step Closer To Home.

As Mike was the main songwriter for The Alarm and wrote ALL of the hits and about 90%+ of the rest of the song, he has a legacy of songs from which to choose from.

What you probably haven't seen before is Mike's sense of humour as he regales the audience with tales of when The Alarm was in it's infancy and how they supported The Clash in Liverpool and his run in with Bob Geldof. It was LOL territory on lots of occasions throughout the show.

The first half of the show ended on a high with the excellent Absolute Reality (which was going to be the title of the album before Strength was chosen) really had the crowd jumping and hyped up ready for Part Two.

Part two kicked off with the lead track from Strength, the epic Knife Edge - here's the album version.

The two hours plus is flying by as the Mike continues to unfurl the Strength album to a by now adoring crowd. The quality of singing is the best I've seen in a gig for ages, probably due to the anthemic nature of the songs and the amount of real fans in the venue. The array of Alarm T Shirts are dazzling - I just wish I could get into mine!

Before Father To Son, Mike talked about his relationship with his parents at the time and their desire for him to 'Get A Proper Job' - at this point he shows us the notebook he wrote the lyrics in - his parents bought him a new one every year.

Another highlight was The Day The Ravens Left The Tower with Mike producing a bodhran to set up the rhythmic loop that underpins the song.

Mike has re-recorded the Strength album and it's an interesting companion to the original album.

With the last song of Strength, the blistering anthem of Deeside whipping up the crowd to an encore of some early Alarm classics, Mike picked two lucky people out of the audience during Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke to play his drum and guitar while Mike threw the cards out into the crowd during the  'All Cards Are Marked' line - always guaranteed to get an extra cheer from the crowd. Giving them a gig they'll never forget.

The Globe was now rocking with a vengeance - well, from what i could see from the front looking back, and as he was back home in Wales, Mike brought out the two favourites that were bound to get the crowd filled with Hiraeth  and shouting out for more, that's A New South Wales from the Change album & Pete Seeger's The Bells Of Rhymney, a live favourite, especially in Wales, for years. Everybody gets to shout out as their City or Town is sang by Mike.  Although slow in pace, you could feel the intensity of both songs in the air.

The anthemic 68 Guns was followed by One Guitar before the song that every Alarm fan knows finishes the set - Blaze Of Glory.

So, Mike returned once again to Cardiff and conquered the Capital.

The next Alarm album to hopefully get the 30th Anniversary treatment is Eye Of The Hurricane - which is due in 2017. Hopefully, Mike will continue this way of performing the albums as the songs take on a more sophisticated tone with Hurricane and will sound pretty darn good in this format.

Her are a couple of the gems we can expect if Mike performs Eye Of The Hurricane.

Twitter - @thealarm

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