Mike Peters and The Alarm’s annual Gathering celebration celebrated it’s 21st year with a complete sell out at Prestatyn, Pontins this weekend. Over 2,000 fans, many travelling from the four corners of the globe, began posting on the band’s Facebook page in the early hours of Sunday morning that the massive three hour set performed by Mike Peters and The Alarm on Saturday night ranked amongst the best ever seen.
“Awesome gig by Mike and the band last night who I thought where simply stunning and everything that has made me a Alarm fan for over 30yrs!!!!” Mick Thompson, Manchester.
“Really loved it; last night’s set : best ever. Brilliant” Helen Lymbery, Hampshire
“AMAAAAAAZING evening last night at Gathering 21 – absolutely ALARMED!!” Sioned Davies, N Wales.
“Headed back to Manchester Airport after another fabulous Gathering weekend…” Kelly Dooley, Kreek, Kansas City, USA.
“Heading back home to Sweden after a great weekend with nice people at Gathering 21 and the great music of The Alarm! Free Rock’n’roll!” Pertti Coyi Viljanen, Sweden
“Fantastic weekend of great friends and music. It just gets better every year”. Tim Leonard, NYC
The weekend itself began on Friday evening with Mike Peters taking to the stage ‘solo’ for an acoustic performance that was punctuated with impromptu requests from fans, some of whom were even invited on stage to join with the charismatic front man in singing their favourite ‘Alarm’ song during the two hour concert.
The Saturday morning began with a guitar masterclass that allowed ‘Alarm’ fans to perform with their hero, who gave out insights from his amazing rock and roll life story that has become the basis for the movie ‘Vinyl’, starring national acting treasure Phil Daniels (Quadrophenia) alongside Keith Allen (Trainspotting), and local actor Chris Turner who plays the character Gryff. ‘Vinyl’, which was shot on location in and around North Wales is all set to be released to cinemas nationwide on March 15th.
During the afternoon, fans became extras as Mike Peters and The Alarm shot a new music video for the song ‘Free Rock And Roll’ that is at the heart of the movie and also the main song on the band’s new ‘soundtrack’ album which will be released on March 4th to coincide with a nationwide tour that begins on March 1st in Cardiff.
The film distribution company ‘Altive’ sent along a DVD of some ‘sneak preview’ scenes of ‘Vinyl’ for The Alarm fans to see first and Mike Peters hosted a special screening that also included a first ever viewing of the official ‘Vinyl’ trailer that will begin screening at cinemas from Monday in the build up to the official release.
The Saturday evening ‘Alarm’ concert began with a lottery ticket draw to win two tickets to the ‘Vinyl’ film premiere at the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square, London on March 12th which was won by Alarm fan Pertti Coyi Viljanen who had travelled to The Gathering from Stockholm in Sweden. At 9.00 pm Mike Peters and The Alarm took to the stage and began with 45 RPM (the song that provided the inspiration for the rock and roll subterfuge that plays out in the ‘Vinyl’ movie).
Upon its original release in 2004, 45 RPM was released by The Alarm under the guise of a fake ‘young’ 18 year old band ‘The Poppy Fields’. Fooling the entire British music media along the way, the song charted in the UK Top Thirty before the young band was revealed to be The Alarm in disguise. The subsequent fallout triggered a massive international news media story that was shown to fans during the concert before The Alarm debuted some of the music from the forthcoming movie soundtrack for the first time ever, alongside many of their international hits such as the classic Sixty Eight Guns. It was the other side of midnight when Mike Peters and The Alarm walked off the stage and could be seen post-concert celebrating with fans in the aftershow party that went on all night.
At 10.00 am on Sunday morning Mike Peters was joined by his wife (and Gathering event organiser), Jules Peters and his two boys Dylan (8) and Evan (6) and together they led the fans to Barkby Beach for the now traditional closing walkathon and beach singalong to benefit Mike’s charity Love Hope Strength (which is now firmly established as the world’s leading rock and roll cancer charity). As the waves crashed upon the beach, a huge crowd of fans assembled to sing ‘Love Hope And Strength’ with Mike and his family who announced the date for the charity’s annual walk up Snowdon which will take place on September 14th 2013 to benefit cancer care in the North Wales community.
A meet and greet session allowed fans the opportunity to get their Alarm records and memorabilia signed before saying their goodbyes until next year.
Tickets for Gathering 22 (Jan 31-Feb 2 2014) go on sale on April 1st 2013.
(Photos: Jeff Pitt, Andy Labrow, Dr Ian).