Gig: 1/23/2004, Mike Peters, North Wales Conference Centre, Llandudno

1/23/2004: Mike Peters, North Wales Conference Centre, Llandudno

Summary

Press Release
THE GATHERING 2004

The Gathering 2004 will take place on Friday January 23rd and Saturday
24th of January 2004 at the North Wales Conference Centre, Llandudno,
North Wales.

G11 was such a phenomenal success (see review below) that MPO has
already sold over 900 tickets since the dates were announced on the
phone-lines so don’t delay in booking your tickets for next years
event.

The Gathering Ticket Hotline is open now 011 44 [0] 1745 571571 or
tickets can be booked via www.thealarm.com

A weekend ticket is priced at �32.50 + �1 booking fee.

Often imitated but never bettered, The Gathering – the ultimate rock
and roll party weekend, will feature both acoustic and electric
performances from Mike Peters and The Alarm. At GX1, the band were
joined on stage by Mr. Dave Sharp and so you never know who just might
show up at next year’s event.

As usual we will host the classic ‘Alarm Mastermind’ during the
Saturday convention, rare films plus a chance (if you book early
enough), to come to the late night after show party. All this and more
set against the dramatic backdrop of the North Wales Coastline.

The Gathering XI 24.01.2003
‘What a night – What a band’

An incredible night at The Gathering XI was made all the more special
for Alarm fans when Mike Peters introduced original Alarm guitarist –
Dave Sharp – to the stage. Dave, who opened his solo set with a
reworking of ‘Change II’, growled his way through a fine set of
proto-blues before closing with a poignant rendition of his Alarm
classic ‘One Step Closer To Home’. It was then Dave’s turn to
introduce Mike Peters to the stage. A very public showing of unity,
friendship and maturity that highlights the unique way in which the
rebirth of The Alarm has been conducted by all concerned.

If Dave Sharp’s heart is in the blues and the music culture of the
past, Mike Peters spirit is all about the now. Beginning with ’21st
Century’, the entire audience immediately took up the refrain. Then, a
new song – ‘The Innocent Party’ – a brutal onslaught of acoustic and
lyrical power. ‘Rise’ followed, a beautiful piece of hope and optimism
highlighted by another new song: ‘It’s Going To Be A Good Year’.

Mike then took a moment to express his fears over the potential
conflict against Iraq before performing ‘The Deceiver’ which was
beautifully sequed into the rarely played ‘Third Light’. The First
World War references further emphasising the confusion and mistrust
that has people divided over reasons for war in the Gulf.

Another new song ‘Raindown’ was followed by ‘Father To Son’ and ‘The
Day The Ravens Left The Tower’. Mike then dedicated ‘When Everything
Was Perfect’, to the late ‘Clash’ frontman Joe Strummer. It was a
spine tingling moment, especially when Mike spontaneously changed the
lyrics to “I have stared into the eyes of Joe Strummer”.

‘Unbreak The Promise’ and a rousing ‘We Are The Light’ were followed
by the introduction of pianist and long time Alarm collaborator Mark
Taylor. The two peformed an amazing version of ‘A New South Wales’.
With Mark at the piano and Mike enjoying the freedom to move around
the stage without his guitar, singing to all sides of the jam-packed
venue. Mike Peters dedicated ‘Walk Forever By My Side’ to his wife
Jules and spoke of the time when Mark Taylor had played the piano at
their wedding in 1988. With that in mind, the audience sang every line
of the hymn like song.

Mike Peters then introduced the new members of the Alarm to the stage;
Craig Adams, James Stevenson and Steve Grantley, who were all given a
huge reception. It was quite a sight to see all the band on stage
together all dressed in black suits (they looked like they had just
stepped off the ‘Reservoire Dogs’ film set). The band were also
joined by trumpet player Ian Davies.

Mike lead the band into a series of songs from the ‘Edward Henry
Street’ album. Fast, furious, melodic, anthemic and stirring all at
the same time. ‘1959’, ‘The Crescent’, ‘Edward Henry Street’,
‘Wherearewegoingandwhatarewegoingtodowhenwegetthere?’ all prompted a
huge singalong from the audience, and considering this was the first
time these songs had ever been played live, it was amazing. Mike then
spoke of meeting Nigel Twist in a Rhyl night club, ‘The Downtown’ on
New Years Eve 1975 and had used that meeting as the source of the
lyric for the next song ‘Up Downtown’. Mike stabbed out the
Kinks/Clash style riff on his Fender Telecaster and the band roared in
behind him. ‘In You I see The World’ was instantly catchy and Ian
Davies performed an scorching trumpet solo. Mike then sang a short
version of Seventeen’s ‘Bank Holiday Weekend’ before hurtling into
‘Mercenary Skank’. It was Dexy’s, The Clash, The Kinks, The Jam, Punk
Rock, Northern Soul, Beat and Power Pop all rolled into one. It was
all of these but most importanly, it was – The Alarm at their best.

Steve Grantley then took up the rhythm of ‘Swansong’ with Mike
dedicating the song to “absent friends”. The Gathering fans knew the
lyrics better than Mike who stumbled over a few of the lines but that
still did not detract from what is obviously a very powerful piece of
music destined to become a live classic. James Stevenson played a
superb guitar solo and the audience even started to sing the chorus
unprompted. Then came another new one ‘When You Can’t Have What
Everybody Else Has?, I was caught by surprise by this one as it had
not grabbed my attention on the CD’s but live it became a tour de
force. I get the feeling that a lot of people (me included) are going
to be going back to their ‘In the Poppy fields’ CD’s after GXI and
hear them in a whole new light.

‘Deeside’, ‘Majority’ and ‘The Stand’ took us back to more familiar
material and closed the set in frantic style. An encore was demanded
and we got ‘Gone Elvis’ and ‘Bound For Glory’. What a night. What a
band.

The Gathering XI 25.01.2003
‘The Alarm – ‘THE’ Rock And Roll’

At precisely 21.00 Hours on the 25th January 2003, Mike Peters and The
Alarm took to the stage and delivered a 2 hour and 50 minute rock and
roll extravaganza of brilliant new songs and and the best that their
illustrious past has to offer.
On entering the venue, which was decked out in huge swathes of poppy
fields projected onto walls, back drops and matching white
amplification and drums, we were walking into an evening of total
immersion in the spirit of ‘In the Poppy Fields’, honouring the past
and celebrating the future. Recorded and released over five frantic
months ‘In The Poppy Fields’ is surely destined to become The Alarm’s
modern masterpiece.

The tone for the evening was set with ‘Coming Home’. An explosive
piece of new Alarm music that had the audience gripped from the
opening twin guitar onslaught of Mike Peters and James Stevenson, who
were superbly complimented by the powerhouse drumming of Steve
Grantley and the welcome return of Craig Adams on bass. With Mark
Taylor back on the keyboards there was even more colour to the sound
than ever before. Mike Peters who was in fine voice right from the get
go, finished the song as he does on the record with the immortal lines
– “It’s been a long time coming but it’s good to be back”. The old
meets the new. Straight into ‘Unsafe Building’ still sounding as fresh
and vibrant as ever.
Mike Peters introduced ‘In The Beauty Of My Surroundings’ and although
the song is only a few months old you would swear – by the reaction of
the audience – it had been around as long as ‘Unsafe’. The audience
took up the vocals of the outro, and it was as if the song had been in
the set for ever. ‘Absolute Reality’ was greeted like an old friend.
Mike said the next song was inspired by being ‘The Alarm’ again when
he was recording ‘In the Poppy Fields’ and what a song it was – ‘Right
back Where I Started From’. Brilliant lyrically, the song strikes a
chord with everyone who hears it. Everyone has been where Mike Peters
has been and vice versa. Once again I was struck by the audience
reaction to what is still essentially a new song. Mike was conducting
proceedings from the stage, band and audience working together as
choir and orchestra, a connection that only the truly great performers
can achieve.

The lone voice of Mike Peters filled the room during the intro to
‘Breathe’ and the band brought all they could to the driving rhythm.
Another new song ‘The Normal Rules Do Not Apply’ was beautifully
delivered. The audience rose to it’s feet as the atmospheric intro was
shattered by the band crashing in and Mike Peters singing his heart
out – the passion all too evident in his ‘X-Ray eyes”. ‘Rain In The
Summertime’ resplendent with the addition of Mark Taylor’s counter
point keyboard lines sounded fresher than it has done in a long while.

Then came ‘The Unexplained’ a monumental song that seeped into the
venue before exploding into life with some brilliant slide guitar
playing from James Stevenson. Once again the audience took up the
refrain. The heat inside the venue was intensifying by the second as
James Stevenson’s e-bow flooded the P.A.. ‘How Long And How Much
Longer’ was brilliant. Impassioned vocals, scything chopped rock
guitar riffs and a pulsating groove. Another track destined to be live
classic of the future. The quick – slow – quick – slow dynamics of
both ‘Knife Edge’ and ‘Regeneration’ explored familiar territory and
then came ‘Federal Motor Voter’. I don’t know what an F.M.V. is, but I
do know a serious slice of R.N.R. when I see it. It starts it stops,
it starts again with a chorus that rocks like a modern ‘My Generation’
– classic – and it’s even better live than on record as all great rock
songs should be.

Mike took a few moments to describe the intense procedures that
surrounded the recording of ‘In the Poppy Fields’ and brought on the
first guest of the evening, his I.T.P.F. co-producer Martin Wilding
who set up ‘The Rock And Roll’ with some beautiful ‘infinite’ guitar.
One of Mike Peters best lyrics – ‘The Rock And Roll’, with it’s
reference points to Alarm songs past and present was a defining moment
in the concert. Something has happened to Mike Peters since he became
The Alarm again, his writing has become more personal than ever yet at
the same time it seems to say just as much about other peoples lives
as it does his own.

‘Resurrection’ and the psychedlic glam rock heavy metal of
‘Trafficking’ both explored new ground for both the band and the fans,
and although still a little unfamiliar at this stage these two could
prove to be real faves in gigs to come. I remember being in the
audience at an Alarm show of 1985, at the Marquee club in London
during the beginning of the ‘Strength’ tour and hearing ‘Knife Edge’
and ‘Sprirt Of 76’ for the first time. I’d listened to the songs on
the record and liked them, but It was when I ‘heard’ them live that I
fell in love with them. I sensed a lot of people falling in love with
the ‘In the Poppy Fields’ collection this weekend.

‘High On the Hill’ was beautiful. ‘Contenders’ was excellent and then
out of the blue came ‘The Drunk And The Disorderly’. This is surely
going to grow into one of the greatest Alarm songs of all time.
Hooligan rock and roll with a lyric that, like ‘The RockAnd Roll’ will
be seen as one of Peters’ best. Amazing. A frantic ( a bit too frantic
actually), medley of ‘Marching On’ and ‘Where Were You Hiding?’ was
segued into ’68 Guns’. The band followed ’68’ with ‘Close’ and
although it is a ‘new’ song you wouldn’t have known it. 1500 pairs of
hands reached for the air, every voice sang the chorus. Any normal
band would have finished there, but this is not a normal band and
these are extraordinary times for all concerned. ‘Spirit Of ’76’ and
the instant classic ’45 RPM’ drained every last ounce of energy from
the audience.

By now everybody in the hall knew what was going to happen next. The
band came back for the first encore and without further ado Mike
Peters introduced his old friend and guitarist Dave Sharp to the
stage. These days, Sharp looks and acts like a long lost blues legend
returning from the past. It was appropriate then that he should strike
up the blues rock of ‘Sold Me Down The River’. It was a great sight to
see Sharp and Peters together again on a big stage. ‘Devolution
Working Man Blues’ from 1989’s ‘Change’ continued the bluesy theme.
Then, while Sharp swapped his Telecaster for a Strat, Mike Peters held
his arms aloft in the trade mark stance that is the signal for the
beginning of ‘Strength’, Sharp dug into the guitar riff, the band
played with a respect and a deference to what was obviously an
emotional moment for both Mike, Dave and many of us ‘older’ Alarm fans
alike. 1-2-3-4. ‘Rescue Me’ brought the house down with a mass
celebratory sing-along. As the band discreetly left the stage Mike and
Dave found themselves alone together in front of an audience who
spontaneously serenaded them with ‘Going Out In A Blaze Of Glory’.

Mike Peters and Dave Sharp both seem incredibly happy men, both seem
free from the constraints of ‘having’ to work with each other. Both
are being incredibly public in their support of each others musical
endeavours. Dave supports Mike in his quest to take The Alarm forward
and Mike supports Dave in his quest to recast himself as an earthy
singer songwriter. Both obviously have immense respect for each other
and it is a good thing that everyone, themselves included can now move
forward without being tied down to the past exclusively. What a decade
we have in store as Alarm fans.

Mike Peters led the band back on to the stage for a second encore and
began by telling a story of seeing The Clash for the first time in
1977 and how much it had changed his life, he went on to tell of the
various meetings / run-ins he had had with the late Joe Strummer
including an hilarious tale of standing next to all four members of
The Clash in a toilet prior to a Clash show in Birmingham. He spoke of
a fan who had written to him when Strummer died in December telling
how Joe Strummer had had to admit to the fan that “although he felt he
was not supposed to ‘like’ The Alarm every time he heard one of their
songs on the radio he had to admit to a a certain amount of respect
for the band”. Dedicated to Joe Strummer, the band burst into
‘Complete Control’, with a huge picture of Joe Strummer’s face
projected onto the venue walls. Mike then introduced one of his ‘Dead
Men Walking;’ collaborators Kirk Brandon to the stage who joined the
band for a hurtling ‘White Riot’. Then, a full band version of ‘Blaze
of Glory’ and it was all over for another year.

When you get home whatever do don’t throw away your ticket stub, keep
it safe so that one day you can say ‘I was There’…… and prove it.Set List

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