At the weekend, fan Bryan Daniels was on the scene in Zoetermeer for the final show of the Mechanics’ 2016 European tour. Here is his perspective on the show that marked the six year anniversary of the band’s first performance together.
Text and photos by Bryan Daniels
On Sunday I decided on a whim to go on a 1,000 mile round trip to Zoetermeer, to catch the last show on The Mechanics’ European tour. It could have been easier a week before, but I was prevented from getting to the German gigs, so this was the only chance.
My charming companion on the trip is an experienced Mechanics-hunter and knows when and where the guys were likely to be during the build-up to the gig. Useful for photos and autographs! Since the guys had partied the night before to see in Mike’s 66th birthday, they looked a bit the worse for wear in the afternoon.
Luke and Tim were bleary-eyed but very talkative, Anto and Andrew were a little monosyllabic. Mike had other obligations and showed up a lot later, and when he did, was in a hurry to get into the venue. But he promised to come out again, and true to his word, gave a few autographs and chatted with the fans. Among other things, he revealed his true height (ed. note: 6’3, or 191cm!)
The concert itself was brilliant. Anyone who expects a Genesis replacement at a Mechanics gig will be disappointed, but there are plenty of Genesis cover bands, so no-one should go without. What Mike + the Mechanics offer is tightly-played, quality pop. And fun. No, make that FUN. Musically, they gel better and better from year to year. Mike is getting more relaxed every year, and to my untrained ear, he seems to subtly overhaul his guitar parts in between tours, to give the old standards a new feel. The set list is a matter of record, but it’s shown below for those living in the dark ages.
They began with Get Up, allowing Tim to get the crowd going. There are quite a few reasons I love this venue; it’s very compact, wherever you are, the stage isn’t far. (Front row is anyway hard to top, and that is what we had). It’s all standing (as were all the European venues, according to Luke) so the bouncing is a given from the word go. The crowd is very knowledgeable, there aren’t really any casual fans who come by chance, so the level of audience participation is great. Another Cup of Coffee gave Tim a showcase for his softer vocals (normally Andrew’s domain) but it was easy to see what a great front man he is, as he made eye contact with one lady after another, leaving each feeling they’d been personally drawn into the show.
The hits were better than ever and the two newer songs “Are You Ready” and the title track of the next album “Let Me Fly” seem to bode well for the newer material. My companion had already speculated “I bet [Tim] composed his new vocal song” and she was bang on. Tim said after the gig that he and Mike had co-composed “Are You Ready” with Clark Datchler. It sounds lyrically deeper than anything on The Road and it was clear that Tim enjoys being a part of the song’s origin. He took on a new empathy with the lyrics, which he probably can’t do so easily when he’s covering the material of the two Pauls.
Andrew’s new track “Let Me Fly” stood up to the old grey whistle test too. Mike was serenaded with “Happy Birthday” more than once and he shared the fact that the band’s rebirth started with a gig exactly six years earlier. The set list seems quite short, but they played almost 2 hours, and no-one can complain about not getting value for their 38 Euros. On a personal note, I got autographs of the whole band, photos with most, Mike personally gave me his own plectrum from the stage, and the printed set list, which was stuck on the stage, also disappeared in my pocket. So I left Holland well happy at having made the decision to hit Boerderij at the last minute.
Another Cup of Coffee
Beggar on a Beach of Gold
Are You Ready
Try to Save
Let Me Fly
Land of Confusion
I Can’t Dance
All I Need is a Miracle
Over My Shoulder
Word of Mouth