SIGMA TOUR 2019 – PSALM [LIVE IN LA] VIDEO PREMIERE plus ORAL / AUDIO VISUAL HISTORY
THE ALARM – SIGMA 2019 – ORAL / AUDIO VISUAL HISTORY
Psalm – Recorded live at the Microsoft Theatre, Los Angeles on July 27th 2019
Directed and Edited by Emyr Afan.
The Alarm premiere a brand new ‘live’ performance video of Psalm that was directed and edited by Avanti Television’s Emyr Afan.
Emyr had parachuted into the Alarm Sigma LXXXV US Tour to spend a few days on board the tour bus with the band.
After witnessing a show in Temecula CA, where the band’s performance of Psalm took centre stage, Emyr suggested making a unique and impromptu video in Los Angeles, to highlight the impact the song had been making since being released as part the band’s brand new album ∑ Sigma (which entered the UK Rock album chart at Number One).
Once Psalm was introduced into the set list during the Sigma LXXXV Tour, each and every rendition of the songs emotive lyric and chord structure created a central and defining moment during The Alarm’s performances, with fans taking to holding up their cell phones and lighting the venue throughout the second verse and choruses.
Emyr suggested making a performance clip using the same technology as the fans, and so positioned iPhones with cameras all throughout the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on July 27th. In order to capture the moment in as true a form as possible, Emyr also directed the Tour MC and Podcast producer Gareth Jones, to set up his Zoom Audio Recorder at the mixing desk to help capture the ambient sound of the concert.
Emyr explained “I would walk barefoot to the ends of the earth for Mike and Jules but when they challenged me to capture the essence of the moment with Psalm, using only all crew iPhones and a zoom recorder I scratched my head a bit until I realised that one of the US tour moments WAS the crowd using iPhones to light the room. It was an inspiring challenge and somehow the rawness and imediacy of it works.”
What you will see is a fantastic real life document of an evening that turned that into an absolute triumph for The Alarm, with the famous LA Weekly Magazine giving the band a great review and describing Mike Peters as the MVP (Most Valuable Player), of the event.
“Brave arrangements and dramatic shifts in texture” – Music Press
“A Love letter to optimism, perseverance and love itself”– Music Journal
“an astonishing piece of work. To explain the album best is to put it in the context of cinema, if Equals is The Godfather then ∑ Sigma is The Godfather II ” – The Big Takeover
“Refreshing, engaging, and catchy…..Sigma is yet another vessel of The Alarm’s affecting music.” – Cryptic Rock
“Passionate and powerful rock songs” – Vinyl Mag
“The Strongest the band has delivered” – The Journal
“Sigma bristles, soars and flat out rocks with a collection of heartfelt and infectious originals that equal the band’s best efforts from the ’80s and ’90s.” – Rock and Roll Truth
“Sigma is the genre-smashing new album from Mike Peters and The Alarm.”8Bit Rocket
“Mike Peters marches on with genuine passion, determination and enthusiasm.” Uber Rock
Sigma contains a dozen songs that immediately draw your attention. Mike Peters personifies the triumph of the human spirit – Music Minded
Peters is a great performer. You almost take for granted that he’s going to give a fantastic performance, but when he takes the stage he surprises you with his energy and passion. In a perfect world, both The Alarm and Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel would have been allowed to play all night. No one in the audience would have minded. I don’t even think Stevenson, despite playing in both bands, would have protested. – Slug Magazine, Salt Lake City
As always, the cult-like following turned out to see The Alarm and its steadfast frontman Mike Peters. The energy he brings to the stage, as well as that which he exalts from the fans is unlike any other live show.The intensity never faltered for a solitary second throughout the entire set. That ever-enduring voice of Peters almost effortlessly filled the theater and swirled from the stage to the rafters start to finish. –Live 80’s Kansas City
You really can’t tell that Mike Peters has been through hell and back. The frontman for The Alarm was so active and lively onstage at Liberty Hall on Saturday, you likely broke a sweat just watching him. Despite being a seated affair for a decades-old fan base, the audience never stood still. They were happy to get as close as they could to the stage, dancing and singing along. –– I Heart Local Music Kansas
If there were any concerns that the Alarm’s leader Mike Peters might be unable to headline a lengthy tour after his long battle with cancer, he pushed that aside Wednesday night in Spokane. Taking the stage in a silver military jacket, Peters kicked off the Alarm’s set with a new song, “Blood Red Viral Black,” a tune written while his wife and bandmate Jules went through drastic cancer treatments of her own three years ago. The crowd was already on its feet to greet Peters on his first Spokane visit since a mid-’80s gig at the Spokane Coliseum opening for Pat Benatar, and the band kept the audience at attention by quickly following with the song that introduced most Americans to the Alarm, “The Stand.” – Pacific Northwest Inlander
With Peters playing both acoustic guitar and harmonica, as well as long-time guitarist James Stevenson on a double-neck guitar and bass, The Alarm belted out “The Stand,” “Rescue Me,” and “Sold Me Down the River” with as much conviction as they ever did. And after wrapping up their set with “Sixty Eight Guns,” The Alarm showed that they are as relevant as they ever were. SF Sonic, San Francisco
You can forget the expensive fountain of youth potions and pills. The Alarm’s Sigma Tour came to San Francisco and their performance had everyone returning to their youth with full vitality and energy. – Music Junkie Press, San Francisco
The Alarm hit the stage and the clock started turning back again. The crowd was rejuvenated and the adrenaline was present as every fan rocked out to each song. You were taken back to the first time you heard the songs, and instantly fell in love all over again. Each song was like a magical potion rewinding the years of your life, washing away our worries and concerns, and whatever burdens we were carrying seemed much lighter at that moment. The music whisked us away to
better times. – Music Junkie Press, San Francisco
Lead by vocalist Mike Peters, The Alarm opened their set with “Blood Red Viral Black” from the ‘Sigma’ album, immediately followed by “The Stand” – an early favorite inspired by Stephen King’s novel of the same name – before getting into “Peace Now” from the ‘Equals’ album. Although “Peace Now” is a newer song, the sold-out crowd was singing along, getting particularly loud during the “not another brick in the wall” refrain. Singing along would be a recurring theme throughout the set. The Sacramento crowd wasn’t messing around – they knew the words and weren’t afraid to join in! The entire set was energetic and fun, with songs spanning the band’s 38 year career, including additional hits like “Rescue Me,” “Sold Me Down the River” and “Strength.” The night ended with a rousing rendition of “Sixty Eight Guns,” which sent the crowd home happy if not a little hoarse from all the singing. — Sacramento Press, Sacramernto, California
Welsh rockers The Alarm were the MVPs. Mike Peters gave the set his everything and “68 Guns” is a bone fide banger. LA Weekly, Los Angeles
The Alarm’s music still resonates with the modern world, offering hope, empathy and strength – News 12 Long Island
As happy as the crowd was to be there reliving their 20s, no one was happier than Mike. You’d have a hard time believing Mike’s age (according to Wikipedia) or that he’s a cancer survivor given the way he moved around on stage with more energy than a six-month-old lab. Clearly, he was not just milking some old hits to squeeze blood out of the turnips of his faithful fans; he loved being on stage, and it really showed. The crowd knew it– and loved it. – Rock on Purpose, Los Angeles
Peters had everyone’s attention the entire night, transporting you back to the 80’s with the classics, then reminding you they still have what it takes to makes great music with cuts off their latest CD. – On A Musical Note New York
Guitar-wielding swashbuckler Mike Peters and his rockstar crew highjacked the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, recently on the strength of sheer charisma. Mike, a seasoned showman, wailed and strummed his way through a dramatic set celebrating the summer release of a new album, Sigma, and all of the Celtic power of the post-punk band’s famous numbers. – Park Life Washington DC
The Alarm gives Asbury Park an unforgettable night of pure rock and roll. – Asbury Park Vibes, New Jersey
Day One – Nashville July 17th 2019
It’s been the usual mad round of events getting to the start of the tour at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville.
The trailer carrying all our equipment was derailed somewhere in the middle of nowhere, and so we had to hang around at Nashville airport for six hours or so, before we could climb aboard the tour bus!
It’s a massive operation of many moving parts getting all our team into the one place. Smiley our drummer flew in from London with Gareth Jones our tour MC. James Stevenson (guitars / bass), landed from Los Angeles after rehearsals with Jay Aston and the @GeneLovesJezebel guys… myself, Jules, Dylan and Evan came in from Wales with our tour manager Andy Labrow and Jeff Clarke our driver and crew member from Wisconsin and Adam Pate our back line tech from Alabama. That’s a lot of air miles.
The gig at the Mercy Lounge was a great start to events with a very responsive audience. Managed to slip in a few acoustic requests We Are the Light / One Step Closer to Home – Remastered and despite the fact that we haven’t played since Kubix Festival the vibe was there right from the beginning chords of Blood Red Viral Black
Met up with all the guys who help us with equipment – Doug Sparkes from Auden Guitars / Blackstar Amos, Derek Frank from Hohner Harmonicas and John Farquharson from Pearl Drums. It was a good day to be alive and now we are bound for Memphis and Sun Studio.
It’s always a thrill to walk off the tour bus and see the iconic neon sign of SUN STUDIO – Memphis Recording Services.
I had been here a couple of times in the past, once in 1988 when The Alarm were on tour with Bob Dylan and again on 1995 when I was touring the Feel Free album.
This time I am with my sons Dylan (15), and Evan (12) and together we took the tour with the extremely enthusiastic guide – Mark, who painted some very clear pictures of the historic moments that lead to the first rock & roll recordings by Elvis Presley and to hear That’s All Right blasting out in the room it was recorded was special.
To be able to pass on the heritage of rock & roll to my two budding musician children is a right of passage. I’m sure they will remember this moment for the rest of their lives.
Later that evening we had the studio to ourselves and Evan threw a few Elvis shapes with the microphone, while Dylan could be heard attempting a few pisno licks from Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls of Fire
The spirit of rock & roll now resides in these young kids and who knows what they will do with it in the future, or indeed where it will take them.
Once our gear we set up it was the turn of The Alarm to blast out a few songs over the internet and we managed to drop in abcover of “40” – Remastered 2008 and a version of Bound For Glory As the faders were lowered by Ples the engineer, we left for TX
Day Three – Austin TX July 19th 2019
After a long overnight drive the tour bus pulled up outside 3Ten Live for the first night of the Sigma LXXXV Tour proper.
It’s a totally SOLD OUT affair with our friends Modern English and Gene Loves Jezebel joining us for the next 38 shows across the US landscape.
It’s great to see everyone in the same space after all the months of planning and after soundchecks we can finally get down to the business of playing.
Our first engagements are the Pre-Show EXPERIENCE events whereby people can come in before show time and hear us all play acoustic and answer questions. We have a second performance space set up for this, and it’s always humbling to meet people who have taken the music we have lovingly created into their lives.
The doors to the venue open so I invite everyone back to the dressing room and before you know it Gene Loves Jezebel are on stage with Jay Aston is giving his all. Modern English follow and really get the audience going and by the time I get to hit the stage with The Alarm the place is absolutely sweltering in the heatwave that is gripping the country right now.
It was a brilliant night all around and possibly the hottest gig I have ever played!! My colour coordinated Silver Sigma jacket made me feel like I was literally cooking as I sang Brighter Than The Sun and by the time we got to Two Rivers I almost passed out. What an opening night it was.. THNXTX
Day Four – Dallas TX July 20th 2019
Today we all went to Dallas Cowboys Golf Club and were welcomed by our great friend Blake Walker and his team, who kitted Smiley, Dylan, Evan anc myself out for some golf. Surprisingly, we all played well on a beautiful course. In fact, each of us could lay claim to having played the shot of the day!
After golf, Jules and I headed to the Baylor Institute in downtown Dallas to take some photos for a future project. It was here that we met James Chippendale back in 2006. My health was in a bad way from a newly diagnosed Leukaemia, but luckily for me James took me to meet the renowned Dr. Joseph Fay here, and together with my NHS Haemotolgist – Dr. Edwards back in Wales the path to the healthy future I now inhabit was set in motion. For Jules I to be here in happier times is very special indeed.
The Gas Monkey is a fantastic three tiered open air Theater. When we hit the stage it was packed both high and wide. Going on in the hour of darkness meant that the heat was not quite so intense, but the reaction from the fans more than made up for it. Smiley and Janes gave in and had chosen to wear T-Shirts but not Jules and I. Cowboy hats and silver coated denim is the derigueure look for this tour, designed to reflect the look of our Sigma album cover. It turned out to be a fantastic unforgettable night with Robbie from Modern English and Jay from Gene Loves Jezebel joining for Two Rivers
Day Five – Oklahoma City, OK July 21st 2019
Oklahoma City is a new place for The Alarm to play. We have no real history here, so (correct me if I’m wrong), but I can only think of one other show in Oklahoma state and that was in Norman, Oklahoma back in 1983 during the War Tour with U2 . It was part of a run through the ‘Bible Belt’ of America.
It was a good night all round, the experience part of the evening was memorable for playing Statue Of Liberty and having the theatre staff come over to say how much they had been moved by my grandad’s story that is written into the song.
We hit the stage to play to a very enthusiastic audience and in recognition of the fact that this was uncharted Alarm territory we slipped in an encore medley of Declaration 1984-1985 songs for those who had waited many years to get to see and hear The Alarm in concert.
Before the show, Jules, Smiley and I headed off on a long walk and spotted a cool area called The Passeo , that had some atmospheric looking bars, and seeing as we have a day off from rock and roll tomorrow, we decided to take all the band and crew for a drink to the Bunker bar.
There were some hip tracks blasting out of the juke box such as T.V. Eye by The Stooges and Kick Out The Jams (Original Uncensored Version) by MC5 it was good to relax together and enjoy each other’s company outside of being on the tour bus or inside the venue. Looking forward to Las Vegas next stop.
Day Six – Interstate 40, USA July 22nd 2019
We have two days to drive to Las Vegas – a distance of 1,118 Miles.
Interstate 40 was constructed to replace the old US Mother Road – the historic Route 66 , and as we pull off into the town of Vega for breakfast, the remnants of the old road are all around us. Abandoned pickup trucks, closed down motels and all the other elements of small town life that has been literally bypassed by the huge interstate that carries the infrastructure of the USA from Coast to Coast.
We prefer to pull off the interstate and visit small diners as it is much more welcoming and fascinating than dropping into the huge travel centres on the highway.
Today we are at the Hickory Cafe in Vega, Texas and as we tuck into our home cooked food, we are surrounded by Texas ranchers and cow hands dressed to match our surroundings.
I take the wheel of the Bandwagon with Jules up top with me. It’s a big beast to manoeuvre but once the rig is out on the open road with the music blasting, the long straight road ahead makes for an easy 250 mile ride to New Mexico and our destination for the evening Albuquerque.
We all go to watch the movie Yesterday which is based on the music of The Beatles and it was interesting to see Ed Sheeran playing himself, with some really nice self deprecating touches. We all enjoyed it immensely.
A post movie stroll took place and it was time to get back on the road again.
Day Seven- Four Corners, USA July 23rd 2019
I awoke on the tour bus just as we pulled into the Four Corners National Monument but while everyone went to enjoy the setting, I was soon prowling the desert parking lot doing interviews with media outlets in advance of shows further ahead in the tour schedule for Denver, St. Louis, Chicago and others.
In the eighties ‘phoners’ had to be conducted from hotel rooms and set up way in advance, now they happen in real time on cell phones while on the move, but with the signal not being that strong in the desert it was best to speak whilst the tour bus is stationary.
I have to say I have been overwhelmed by the positivity generated by our new album Sigma which has now racked up over 100,000 plays here on Spotify and with it going into the UK Rock chart at number one and featuring on the Billboard Chart in the USA is well on its way to establishing itself as one of the most successful albums in Alarm history.
Today we are heading to Monument Valley which is an amazing landscape – alive with the spirit of First Nation America. Then it’s up to Desert View to take in the splendour of sunset at the Grand Canyon.
We whiled away the hours miles in between listening to some new music and chatting amongst ourselves about the exciting days ahead with big shows coming in San Diego and a Sell Out at the 6,000 capacity Microsoft Theater in LA where we will be joined by The Beat
The Alarm – Rock and Roll Tour Diary with Mike Peters
Day Eight – Las Vegas, NV USA July 24th 2019
The bandwagon pulled into the secure backstage area of House Of Blues Las Vegas and we all stepped into a beautiful venue that offered a setting and potential for a great gig.
The house crew set to loading in the equipment and so Jules, Smiley and myself (with Dylan and Evan in tow), hit the strip for our daily 5K walk.
Surprisingly, The Alarm doesn’t have much history in Vegas. It was a city we never really got to play during the Eighties although Jules and I came here in 1990 on a road trip and got to see the mighty Welshman Tom Jones singing in his pomp.
I played an acoustic set here a few years back when the kids were young, and while they slept at the hotel, a celebrity audience descended on the show and I got to meet Tre Cool from Green Day and Duff McKagan from Guns N’ Roses who were both in town to celebrate Billie Joe Armstrong’s wedding anniversary. They invited me to join in their all-star jam but I missed it because of my own stage time!!
I was also here last year for the finale of Grand Canyon Rocks playing guitar and singing with Billy Duffy from The Cult and Robin Wilson from Gin Blossoms which was a great night for the Love Hope Strength Acoustic Band
We had a fantastic turn out at the House of Blues. The audience roared us on and we played a version of Psalm from our new album Sigma while everyone help up their phone torches. It was a beautiful sight.
Day Nine- San Diego, CA USA July 25th 2019
It was a long drive to San Diego and I took the opportunity to catch up on some artwork layouts for a forthcoming project. I’ve always been involved in the creation of the Alarm artwork and have a fairly decent knowledge of how to create in Photoshop, Illustrator & Quatk XPress. I find that being involved in this process allows for a greater connection from the actual music all the way through to the listener who (if you are anything like me), likes to listen to a new album while devouring the sleeve notes and lyrics.
I’ve been listening to a lot of double albums lately, especially as services like this one, tend to lead the listener to playlists and random selection. It’s almost a forgotten art to listen to / conceive a long form piece of music that is connected from start to finish. There are dynamics & disciplines involved that I am hoping to reconnect with for the future.
Albums I have got into lately are Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Remastered 2014 by Elton John, Quadrophenia by The Who, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (Remastered 2008) by Genesis and The Blue Hour by Suede, I’ve also been listening to some Dylan Thomas Reads His Own Poetryjust for good measure.
These long road trips offer a great opportunity to sit back and enjoy music and then at the end of the day I get to run out onto the stage with The Alarmand play to a packed house of Blues in San Diego. Bliss.
Day Ten – Temecula, CA USA July 26th 2019
It was so hot out in Californian wine country that Smiley, myself, Dylan and Evan spent most of the day at the swimming pool.
We didn’t do much swimming mind, we spent most of our time in the water chatting about the forthcoming UK Premiere League season and generally having a good old laugh.
It’s great to have my two boys out here with me, Dylan (15), strings all my guitars now, and is a willing and helpful part of the road crew team. Evan (12), is the drum tech for Smiley and sets up the drum kit every day. In between sets they both help out on the Merch desk with the T-Shirts and albums, and running errands for the adult crew members.
It’s a real family affair on this tour and having Gareth Jones as MC just reinforces the family ties.
Gareth was our first ever roadie back in 1979 and has been part of the family ever since. The stories and reflections have been coming thick & fast, not to mention all the laughs, and it’s been quite something to have him introducing the bands every night and hearing him share stories and insights with the fans before we hit the stage.
t’s a throw back to the old punk review tours when bands like The Clash would take DJ Barry Myers out on the road to spin records before they came on. It creates an amazing atmosphere and makes all the audience members feel at home in the immersive vibe that The Alarm – Sigma tour is giving out.
Day Eleven- Los Angeles, CA USA July 27th 2019
Where would we all be without TV shows like Top Of The Pops or American Bandstand? Many of you reading this will testify (as I have), to having their lives changed by seeing an artist for the first time in these often diverse musical environments.
There’s nothing like it on TV anymore (or radio for that matter), rock bands are pitted against rocks bands and pop artists only heard on pop stations. The diversity of music is not really represented in the ‘Music Biz’ anymore outside of the internet and fan created playlists.
To play tonight’s festival style show with such diverse acts as Vanilla Ice, Erasure and Romeo Void (who went on after The Alarm and before U2 on our first ever US show in San Francisco back in 1983), requires that I draw on the experience of playing in those first ever TV show appearances when we were playing our brand new and now iconic singles for the first time.
I therefore determine that we should be playing new songs Psalm and Two Rivers amongst the iconic Sixty Eight Guns, Rain in the Summertime – Remastered, and Strength 1985-1986
The set list worked amazingly well and I think the audience of 7,500 recognised that The Alarm is a band born in the eighties but with a heart set on the future. We will be sharing a video from the evening when everyone held their cell phone torches aloft during Psalm it was a special unforgettable evening.
“Welsh rockers The Alarm were the MVPs. Mike Peters gave the set his everything and “68 Guns” is a bone fide banger.” – LA Weekly
“As happy as the crowd was to be there reliving their 20s, no one was happier than Mike. You’d have a hard time believing Mike’s age (according to Wikipedia) or that he’s a cancer survivor given the way he moved around on stage with more energy than a six-month-old lab. Clearly, he was not just milking some old hits to squeeze blood out of the turnips of his faithful fans; he loved being on stage, and it really showed. The crowd knew it– and loved it.” – Rock on Purpose
Day Twelve / Thirteen / Fourteen – California / Arizona USA July 28-30th 2019
After the high of Los Angeles where The Alarm picked up a great review in the LA Weekly, it was a day off and a chance to recharge the batteries on the beach in Santa Monica.
In the evening, both the band and crew walked through Venice Beach to a restaurant for dinner together. It was a great night laughing and joking and talking about all the adventures the tour has thrown our way so far. As we kicked back, there was some great music played including songs by our friends Gin Blossoms.
Monday morning was a day for interviews at Sirius XM and other outlets followed by a night drive out to Joshua Tree and an opportunity to visit the National Park.
I took the wheel of the tour bus and the only soundtrack for this kind of drive was The Joshua Tree and it sounded wonderful in the desert setting. Surrounded by the surreal beauty of the park itself, we stopped to take photos and shoot some video footage for Psalm
After the shoot I was again back at the wheel of the bandwagon. I love these moments driving through the landscape of America and seeing all its diversity through the windscreen as the miles go by. Apparently it’s called Living The Dream…..
As we approached Phoenix a thunderstorm lit up the night sky and it was so beautiful. The rain came down like a waterfall and it was hard to make out the road ahead in the deluge. Lucky Man
Day Fifteen – Phoenix AZ USA July 31st 2019
The Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix is built around a circular stage. It is perfectly suited to the way The Alarm plays in this current era. Today I have mics set up front, left & right of the circle so I can play to all sides. Everything sounds great at soundcheck so I have time to set up my laptop in the dressing room and catch up on some work related to future projects.
I take a walk through the historic venue which has played host to the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteenand many more. There’s all kinds of memorabilia on the walls and as an artist, It’s always exciting to play in the same room as the legends.
Today, we have quite a few people signed up for the pre-show Acoustic Experience which takes place back stage in the Green Room. It’s great to meet people in this setting and talk, take questions, tell stories and play acoustic songs. I’ve really enjoyed this part of the tour as it is more relaxed and intimate and has thrown up some magic moments. Today’s event is really special and moving for everyone involved.
At 9:30 we hit the stage and everyone is up and out of their seats from the beginning. The Stand goes down a storm and I end up singing Neutral amongst the audience on two sides of the auditorium. The roar at the end of each song is so loud that it keeps pushing us on to one of the best shows so far.
Day Sixteen / Seventeen- San Francisco CA USA August 1st / 2nd 2019
A long drive from Arizona through California took us through Ojai to meet with our friends at Paradise Artists and then it was North on the 101 towards San Francisco for a beautiful coastal drive made even more spectacular by the blood red sunset over the Pacific to our left.
Dropped a line to my old friend Nigel Twist from Declaration 1984-1985 and we cooked up a plan to have him join us on stage for Shout to the Deviland Sixty Eight Guns (Drum Take Version).
With plans in place, Jules, Smiley and I headed off to take some photos at the Civic Auditorium where The Alarm played it’s first gig on US soil back on 1983.
The show was another riotous affair topped off with a storming encore that saw the Twistman trade drum places with Smiley for the aforementioned Alarm classics. We wrapped up the night with the words of Two Rivers (Reprise) and a full house singing along with the refrain as the members of the original and current members of the band came together as one. The way it should be, the way it is.
Back on the tour bus after the show we all gathered together to chat for the ontourage podcast that we have been producing with Gareth Jones (Tour MC)… I had been challenged to play Second Generation and Caroline Isenberg – Band Mix during the pre show experience and I still don’t know how I remembered the lyrics. Tune in to find out more.
“With Peters playing both acoustic guitar and harmonica, as well as long-time guitarist James Stevenson on a double-neck guitar and bass, The Alarm belted out “The Stand,” “Rescue Me,” and “Sold Me Down the River” with as much conviction as they ever did. And after wrapping up their set with “Sixty Eight Guns,” The Alarm showed that they are as relevant as they ever were.” – SF Sonic
“You can forget the expensive fountain of youth potions and pills. The Alarm’s Sigma Tour came to San Francisco and their performance had everyone returning to their youth with full vitality and energy.” – Music Junkie Press
“The Alarm hit the stage and the clock started turning back again. The crowd was rejuvenated and the adrenaline was present as every fan rocked out to each song. You were taken back to the first time you heard the songs, and instantly fell in love all over again. Each song was like a magical potion rewinding the years of your life, washing away our worries and concerns, and whatever burdens we were carrying seemed much lighter at that moment. The music whisked us away to better times.” – Music Junkie Press
Day Eighteen- Sacramento CA USA August 3rd 2019
It was a beautiful morning in San Francisco as Jules, Smiley and I headed down to the water and traverse across land to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Spectacular scenery highlighted the way all across the bridge to the Sausalito side of the bay. 12.5K was the distance recorded on my phone monitor and it was a hike worth every step. It’s great to walk and talk with your best friends.
The bus caught up with us, and we all held our breath and made a wish as we drove through the Robin Williams Rainbow Bridge on the road to Sacramento for a sell out show at the 1000 capacity Ace of Spades.
Upon arrival my youngest son Evan (12), had learned of a record shop nearby named Kicksville. Evan has become obsessed with Ramones on this tour and is on a mission to spend his tour wages on their LP’s.
With Dylan in tow we headed over to the store and rendezvoused with all the other vinyl collectors on the tour (there are a few).
The manager seemed thrilled to have all the tour musicians in his store so offered us a discount. Needless to say Evan got what he wanted and picked up a coloured vinyl edition of End Of The Century (Expanded & Remastered).
His mission is to go home with all the Ramones albums and I have no doubt he will succeed.
Back at the show it was immensely hot, even at the acoustic pre-show experience which was as much fun as the blisteringly hot show later in the evening.
“Lead by vocalist Mike Peters, The Alarm opened their set with “Blood Red Viral Black” from the ‘Sigma’ album, immediately followed by “The Stand” – an early favorite inspired by Stephen King’s novel of the same name – before getting into “Peace Now” from the ‘Equals’ album. Although “Peace Now” is a newer song, the sold-out crowd was singing along, getting particularly loud during the “not another brick in the wall” refrain. Singing along would be a recurring theme throughout the set. The Sacramento crowd wasn’t messing around – they knew the words and weren’t afraid to join in! The entire set was energetic and fun, with songs spanning the band’s 38 year career, including additional hits like “Rescue Me,” “Sold Me Down the River” and “Strength.” The night ended with a rousing rendition of “Sixty Eight Guns,” which sent the crowd home happy if not a little hoarse from all the singing.” – Sacramento Press
Episode 6 – The Road to Portland
Day Nineteen / Twenty Portland OR USA August 4th /5th 2019
It was a beautiful, scorching hot day as the tour bus pulled out of Sacramento heading North towards Oregon. I was at the wheel as we drove through some beautiful California lakeside scenery. We decided to take the scenic tour and drive through the Redwood National Forest on Highway 101.
The trees are absolutely massive and reach up towards the sky like nature’s own version of the skyscraper. Dylan & Evan enjoyed the romp through the forest, rediscovering their inner child, climbing &clambering over the fallen trees & huge stumps. We all stopped to marvel at the unique beauty Mother Nature as expressed here amongst the Redwoods.
We pulled into Eureka at night for some food but still kept thundering through and over the mountain passes that took us all the way to Portland OR.
The Aladdin theatre is a great place to play and the sound system is excellent. The promoter had cleared out the seats near the stage so everyone who wanted to sit and watch could do their thing, while those who wanted to get involved by the stage could do what they wished also. Up top there was a balcony that meant everyone was involved in the action of the concert from a vantage point of their own choosing which always makes for a great show.
Modern English and @Gene Loves Jezebel both know how to get an audience going, so by the time The Alarm hit the stage the place is ready to rock.
Beautiful morning to wake up to here in Seattle. The tour bus was driven over night so we could arise and play nine holes of golf at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge which is run by our friends at Arcis Golf and home to the Boeing Classic.
On the first tee are Smiley, Evan, Dylan & yours truly. Jules is also along for the ride to film for the VLOG series she has been putting together based on all the backstage / offstage antics. Needless to say we will all be fighting over the edit button to try and erase some of the challenges we all faced trying to dig our way out of the championship sized bunkers!! What a great course Snoqualmie Ridge is though… breathtaking views and superb fairways and greens! We all had a brilliant time and enjoyed a communal band and crew lunch in the clubhouse.
Once in Seattle we went for our traditional walk along the waterfront (cue Waterfront – 2002 Remaster). Even managed to visit Holy Cow records where I was almost tempted by a Ramones- Leave Home LP.
The show was Sold Out at the Triple Door and it was a brilliant gig all round. As we played I could see Modern English looking over the stage from the dressing room window, so I serenaded them with an impromptu version of I Melt With You
After the show we all piled into the dressing room for a group photo. It’s great to be part of this touring rock and roll community!!!! Roll on Spokane!
Day Twenty Two Spokane WA USA August 7th 2019
It was a two walk day today. Jules, Smiley and I aiming for our daily 5 miles. It’s important to stay fit on the road in order to meet the physically demanding performance levels that an Alarm show requires.
Smiley gives everything he has got every night and is such a presence on stage. The rapport we have is uncanny. Whenever I step on to the stage I know he has always got my back and ready to follow me on any tangent that I may take.
To play drums the way he does, involves a huge exertion of energy and it helps to keep me going too.
Running across the stage, into the audience and singing like I do, is fuelled by a love for the lyrics, the songs and what the band stands for. To have that commitment reflected in every single drum beat pushes me onwards. Smiley generates the fuel that the whole band runs on!
The two walks either side of soundcheck were beautiful for the mind and the spirit. We even took a cable car ride into the heart of the Spokane River’s upper and lower falls.
Reenergised, we hit the stage st the Bing Crosby Theatre with a spring in our step and even pulled out Blaze of Glory during the encore. What a night!
After the show we got out on to the open roads through Montana and passed through Butte, where we shot the video for Sold Me Down the River – Remastered although we passed in the pitch black of night with still another 12 hours to Salt Lake Day
“If there were any concerns that the Alarm’s leader Mike Peters might be unable to headline a lengthy tour after his long battle with cancer, he pushed that aside Wednesday night in Spokane. Taking the stage in a silver military jacket, Peters kicked off the Alarm’s set with a new song, “Blood Red Viral Black,” a tune written while his wife and bandmate Jules went through drastic cancer treatments of her own three years ago. The crowd was already on its feet to greet Peters on his first Spokane visit since a mid-’80s gig at the Spokane Coliseum opening for Pat Benatar, and the band kept the audience at attention by quickly following with the song that introduced most Americans to the Alarm, “The Stand.” – Pacific Northwest Inlander
Twenty Three Salt Lake City UT USA August 8th 2019
It was a day for Rain in the Summertime – Remastered as we arrived into Salt Lake City. It had been a massive drive through the night to get here. Hats off to Jeff, Andy, Gareth and Adam for big shifts at the wheel through the night!
You can’t have a band on the road for this long and for this amount of shows without a loyal and dedicated team. Playing six shows in a row with thousands of miles in between can be testing on everyone. Luckily The Alarm are blessed to have great people on board the tour bus.
Tonight it’s just The Alarm and Gene Loves Jezebel so we can stretch out a little and play a few extra songs.
The pre show experience was really cool today and started with a request for Hallowed Ground – Remastered and that set the scene for a story telling / q&a / request session centred around Eye of the Hurricane (1987-1988 Remastered) . It made me realise how much I’m looking forward to the acoustic Hurricane of Change UK tour in October / November and that it’s not that far away either!
Back to tonight though and what a great saying the Complex Salt Lake City provides for an The Alarm show. The audience where with us all the way and Neutral was a real highlight. I love getting into the audience and found my old friend Richard Rees (the founder of he Love Hope Strength founders) was down the front dancing along and I could not resist giving him a hug.
“Peters is a great performer. You almost take for granted that he’s going to give a fantastic performance, but when he takes the stage he surprises you with his energy and passion.” – Slug Magazine
Another massive over night drive from SLC to Denver. Upon arrival we all go for a 5 mile walk and I spent some time with my boys Dylan (15), and Evan. (12).
They have both grown up immensely these last few weeks. Upon arrival, they both jump out of the tour bus and help with the load in. Both then set up the drums for Smiley. Dylan strings my guitars. Adam and I gave him a lesson at the start of the tour and he picked it up super quick and now he’s become a real part of the technical team who pride themselves on setting up and getting sound check under way as quickly as possible.
Once all the equipment is in place the theatre audio staff take over placing all the microphones so Dylan and Evan then help Jeff set up the merchandise stand.
Just before show time Evan mixes the honey and lemon that keeps my vocal chords oiled whilst helping Andy the tour manager with set lists and any other manner of last minute requests from band members.
While the show is on Evan watches from the side lines with Adam and captures photos and film for our social media output.
At times when I head into the audience he sometimes lights the floor with his flashlight so I can find my way through the back stage maze to front of house.
Dylan is usually with Jeff helping with the CD / LP / T-Shirts and at the end of the night both help with the breakdown and transfer to the trailer. Proud Dad
Day Twenty Five / Twenty Six Lawrence, KS USA August 10-11th 2019
It was a beautiful day in Lawrence, Kansas as Jules and I took Dylan and Evan on a walk through the Main Street for a family meal together. Of course we couldn’t resist going into the Love Garden Record Shop on the way back to the venue. Met some great fans outside who had driven from Omaha, Nebraska amd also from Wichita (where we almost played with U2 in 1983 but the show got cancelled).
The pre show experience was another memorable one as I got to play Rain Down. The concert was also another special night in a historic venue where Oscar Wilde once gave a lecture. After the show we all went for a beer to a famous old venue called the Bottleneck, so we could all wind down after six shows in a row and an impromptu pool tournament broke out that was won by Dylan (I forgot to tell everyone that he is a bandit on the pool table).
The next morning was soccer time!!!! Man United v Chelsea. Great to have premier league football back on the tour bus.
In the afternoon we found the public swimming pool and hung out together swimming and chatting in the sunshine.
Managed to get our traditional 5 mike hike in before a family dinner and an early night so that all human batteries can be charged for the run through the mid west which starts in St. Louis besides the Mississippi River.
Roll over Beethoven tell Chuck Berry the news. The Alarm are heading East.
“As always, the cult-like following turned out to see The Alarm and its steadfast frontman Mike Peters. The energy he brings to the stage, as well as that which he exalts from the fans is unlike any other live show.The intensity never faltered for a solitary second throughout the entire set. That ever-enduring voice of Peters almost effortlessly filled the theater and swirled from the stage to the rafters start to finish.”Live 80’s Kansas City
“You really can’t tell that Mike Peters has been through hell and back. The frontman for The Alarm was so active and lively onstage at Liberty Hall on Saturday, you likely broke a sweat just watching him. Despite being a seated affair for a decades-old fan base, the audience never stood still. They were happy to get as close as they could to the stage, dancing and singing along.”– I Heart Local Music Kansas
Day Twenty Seven St. Louis, MI USA August 12th 2019
The tour bus landed at the Delmar Hall, St. Louis and before soundcheck, Evan and I ventured out to the Vintage Vinyl store nearby and managed to pick up a copy of Road to Ruin (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition). I couldn’t resist getting a picture of Evan with the Chuck Berry statue! “Dad -,Is he the guy in Back To The Future?” Dylan was stringing guitars as we got back although we found time for a quick game of soccer in the car park.
The pre show was another great little gig all of its own, with lots of song requests and interesting questions about Spirit of ’86 (30th Anniversary Edition). Also managed to present one of the attendees with a look at the special edition Auden Deceiver guitars which a lot of people have been purchasing direct from Auden in the UK and finished up with a rendition of Knocking on Heaven’s Door – Live / Spirit of ’76 Single B-Side.
The show was another cracker and the audience where with us all the way. During Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke? – Live / Spirit of ’76 Single B-Side Everyone swapped instruments so we could reenact the stage set of American Bandstand 1984 with yours truly taking the part of Dick Clark! I brought out tour MC Gareth Jones to play bass and Evan to play guitar! The playing cards exploded into the sky and for a second the flux capacitor kicked in and we were instantly transported back to the future!
Day Twenty Eight / Twenty Nine Minneapolis, MN USA August 13 / 14th 2019
After the St. Louis show a pop up party broke out by the tour bus. In the balmy heat around midnight, the camp chairs and beers were broken out, a Bluetooth speaker was fired up, and instead of ‘going out’ we stayed ‘out’ by the bus drinking and laughing about all the adventures of the tour so far. It was a special moment, everyone was there, band, crew, kids and even a homeless guy stopped by and got himself a beer! Great times.
The next day we spent at the St. Louis Arch. We drank cold lemonade as we sat by the Mississippi River, watching the water flow before the long overnightt drive north to Minneapolis. I had to be on the phone doing a ton of advance press and when we arrived in the city, went for a training run around the Target Field baseball stadium.
Smiley was dressing room DJ before the show at Fine Line and got us in the mood with a set of songs by the late Twin Cities resident Prince. Smiley banged out the classics such as Sexy M.F., When Doves Cry and all the Prince Greatest Hits. We all agreed that he was one of the greatest musicians ever. He could write, sing, produce, play guitar, drums and anything else you can imagine. We spoke of our own Prince stories and of seeing him live, and felt very inspired when we jumped up on stage. A brilliant audience was waiting for us, and we leapt into the music grateful to be alive and living.
Day Thirty Milwaukee, WI USA August 15th 2019
Today’s walk was a family affair as we headed to one of my favourite record shops – Musical Memories. It’s a great little place full of vintage vinyl. Evan was in his element and managed to get the album he has been after all tour Ramones (2017 Remaster). He’s been teaching himself to play Blitzkrieg Bop – 2016 Remaster on guitar with some help from his older brother Dylan.
After the soundcheck / acoustic experience, we went on another training run and did some circuits down by the riverwalk near the bronze Fonz! I really like Milwaukee it’s a cool place with a great ambience and lots of water around every corner.
The stage at the Turner Hall is an old music hall style layout that slopes down towards the audience. The spring dance floor slopes towards the stage so it feels like everyone is pushing up against each other.
The atmosphere was electric from the word go. Definitely one of the best sounding shows on stage for us, and everyone played really well individually.
The nature of this tour dictates that we pack in as much as we can during our time on stage, and while there’s not much room for manoeuvre in terms of changing things around, the discipline of this long tour has made us super tight and we are locked in to every nuance of the music.
We put Psalm back into the set and with a little help from our Wisconsin friends created a beautiful torchlight procession.
The tour bus pulled into the parking lot at the House of Blues Chicago and from that point on I never left the venue.
It was a busy day of interviews with press outlets previewing the upcoming shows on the East Coast.
James Chippendale of Love Hope Strength was also here to visit, and so Jules and I spent a lot of the afternoon catching up and making plans for the future of Love Hope Strength.
It was great having James back in the fold. We all get along so well. Everyone in the band and crew loves him and he’s like a big brother/uncle to Dylan and Evan.
The experience was another surprising event of requests and lyrical challenges. Gareth Jones (Tour MC), and I have so many memories of shows and adventures from The Alarm
history, that we have had the absolute best of times recounting our own experiences at these small intimate pre-show gatherings.
The concert was another fire cracker of a show. The Audience was up for it from the second we hit the stage. I was right in amongst everyone for Neutral and even Gareth was bouncing up and down alongside me and I could see James Chippendale rocking in the balcony too. It was one of the best shows of the tour so far!
Back in the dressing room we had visitors from Live Nation and so while Jules and I talked with them, James took Smiley and James for drinks in the Foundation Room as the crew celebrated with Pizza on the bus.
Arrived at St. Andrews Hall early. It’s a place that I played with The Alarm back in 1987 on the Eye Of The Hurricane Tour. It’s a great venue. Sprung ballroom floor and a balcony running on three sides of the room. It’s quite a high stage which means everyone gets to see and once on stage I can pick out every member of the audience.
After soundcheck, I went for a run along the waterfront and found myself almost a stones throw from Canada. It’s a warm evening as I run. On the way back I bump into Jules and Smiley, so we decide to walk some more miles and run into a busking drummer playing Superstition by Stevie Wonder. What a groove!
Back at the bus, we held a Motor City DJ session and blasted out The Stooges, MC5 and Ball Of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today).
Inspired – we hit the stage hard, and with the audience behind us all the way, we played a blinder – even if I say so myself.
After the show we had an impromptu party on board and ordered pizza for everyone. On the stereo, we played some original old Sokol Hip hop to the boys. Grandmaster Flash, Run–D.M.C.Public Enemy & N.W.A.
The words to The Message – Extended Version are to me, still the best lyrics ever written in this genre and Gareth and I are instantly transported back to our early 1980’s flat at 13 Emu Road, Battersea, London where it was constantly on the turntable. Motor City / Music City.
Day Thirty Three Cleveland, OH USA August 18th 2019
Walk and talk, talk and walk. That’s what we do either before or after soundcheck. Today we hit the sidewalks of Cleveland and headed down to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which was very cool and well worth the visit if you get a chance.
Back at the venue we had a jam / mash up of The Message – Extended Version and Subterranean Homesick Blues and then headed out for another few miles of sidewalking.
About a mile out, we got a call from the tour manager that Billy Corgan from The Smashing Pumpkins had turned up to see the show and wanted to say hello. We instantly turned back.
Billy is a lovely gentle man. He had found out about the show and was staying across the street before playing Cleveland the next night, so spent his evening coming to see our set. Billy is a big fan of Gene Loves Jezebel also and had performed their song Stephen in London a few years back.
Billy has also appeared in Man in the Camo Jacket: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and also took part in the OnTourAge podcast with Gareth.
I only casually asked him if he wanted to join us on stage and he said Rain in the Summertime – Remastered so before you could say Gish he was on stage with The Alarm singing with me on the mic, and playing an Alarm / Auden electro acoustic Deceiver guitar.
After the show we decamped to the dressing room and chatted for hours about all things and everything.
Day Thirty Four / Thirty Five Portland, MN USA August 19th / 20th 2019
A huge 12 hour drive to Portland Maine was our fate for the day off. Whiling away the hours of the journey, we all spent time catching up with editing VLOG’s, creating podcasts and diary entries. Our aim was to get to Portland in one hop so that we could enjoy the day of show on the coast and take in some sea air.
It proved to be a good call as we all got to enjoy time in Portland. Jules and I walked for miles along the waterfront and enjoyed quality time together. We even managed a second stretch with Smiley later in the evening too.
I managed to get a vinyl copy of Private Revolution by World Party on my (father and sons), trip to the local Vintage and Vinyl record store and couldn’t resist a copy of Wings Over America especially as it had a live version of Hi, Hi, Hi – Live / Remastered which has always been one of my favourite McCartney post The Beatles tunes. I’ve been loving educating my boys about music as we travel through America. Precious times indeed.
The Aura is a brand new venue with an excellent sound system and facilities. I remember playing in Portland back in 1986 with Pat Benatar on the Seven The Hard Way tour and am greeted outside the venue by fans who had been at that show. I couldn’t resist adding in a blast of Love Is A Battlefield during Sold Me Down The River
I’m already looking forward to coming back. Boston tomorrow!
Day Thirty Six Boston, MA USA August 21st 2019
Arrived outside the Paradise and it feels good to be back in Boston. Today, Jules and I have a date with Alarm history and we head to the Wang Theatre where Electric Folklore (Live 1987-1988) [Remastered] was recorded.
It was great to go back there and the memories certainly came flooding back! After our tour of the facility, we took a long walk back along the Charles River chatting about future plans and tonight’s show.
We got caught in the rain in the Massachusetts summertime for the last ten minutes of our walk but it only helped to highlight the sense of anticipation.
The sound check was all completed with a minimum of fuss and we retired to the dressing room for -The Wait, which passed by super quick with the unannounced and surprise arrival of our boys best friends from Wales. Dylan and Evan where caught totally unawares and it was great to see them with their best mates!
The audience was immense when we hit the stage, the venue bursting with anticipation and a sense of occasion. We tore into it Blood Red Viral Blackand followed with The Stand. The roar that followed the dead stop took my breath away. No wonder so many live recordings by The Alarm have been captured in this city.
Smiley, James and Jules all played great tonight and together we are playing with a razor sharp intensity that comes from playing night after night. Boston brought out the best in us.
Day Thirty Seven / Thirty Eight Huntington NY USA August 22nd / 23rd 2019
Stopped at great little diner in Worcester and then to New London for the ferry to Orient Point on the north shore of Long Island.
The Cross Sound Ferry was so great. The air was balmy and the sights across the water beautifully framed by the setting sun. It was the perfect moment for a cold beer so we all got our refreshments from the bar and stood on deck chatting and enjoying this special moment.
We docked and headed into Bridgeport for dinner at First and South and all was good in our world.
The Paramount is a huge venue and there was an anticipation about this show which we all felt.
Jules, Smiley and I went for a massive walk and prepared for the show.
As we walked on to the stage and into the arc of the lights, it looked even bigger with people packed into the balconies and all the way back to the far end of the hall.
There was only one thing on my mind. Count off the start to Blood Red Viral Black and get right into it.
The crowd must have felt the same because they were with us on every single call and response that I demanded from them.
When everything clicks like this, it’s a thrilling ride all the way to the encore. Everything is sounding great on and off stage and you can almost touch the connection.
Long Island rocked and we all came off stage drained of all energy yet still ready to do it all again tomorrow. What a life!!
Day Thirty Nine Jim Thorpe, PA USA August 24th 2019
Arrived at Penn’s Peak in deepest Pennsylvania. It’s a beautiful room and from the outdoor patio, looks way into the distance. Lots of back stage facilities and an amazing sound system, so when we headed on to the stage it was a bit of a surprise to hear Smiley shouting that he wasn’t ready to start. From the frantic movement of the road crew I was able to work out pretty quickly that the in-ear monitor system was down.
I’m a bit of a traditionalist myself, and prefer to work with monitor speakers to hear what everyone else is doing.
When I see bands like Simple Minds or Squeeze (who only use in ear monitors), it can sound really strange at the side of the stage, as the only instrument you can hear are the drums, with everyone else on stage cocooned in a world of sound coming from their headphones.
I like trad monitors, I think they connect me to the front line fans, who are often hearing a similar sound to me.
When things go down, I trust in the acoustic guitar and the songs. I’ve always believed that The Alarm works as a collective, or through the power of the individual and an Alarm song played acoustic. From the beginning, it’s always been part of an Alarm show, be it Dave Sharp singing One Step Closer To Home or myself on Unbreak the Promise – Acoustic Version. I drop Unsafe Building into proceedings and the set list goes out the window! Unsafe/Unpredictable.
Day Forty / Forty One Falls Church,VA USA August 25th / 26th 2019
Always exciting to pull up at a venue when you know it’s all sold out in advance. The State Theatre has been at capacity for sometime now and a lot of excited fans were waiting as I stepped off the bus for soundcheck.
It was a great acoustic experience and I was challenged to play How The Mighty Fall which has always been one of my favourite songs from the Change (1989 -1990 Remastered) era.
Went for a long training run with my son Evan, and we talked about music every step of the way.
We have been in the US for six weeks now and are heading into the final stretch. It’s safe to say we are all still having a great time. Family, band and crew spirits are all still really high. In fact I don’t think any one really wants this tour to end.
The show was another rocking affair made a little more special by the fact that there was no barrier, so everyone was pushed close to the stage and joined together with the band.
We took a ride after the show all the way to the Jersey Shore and Point Pleasant Beach, where we all had an open air sea view lunch on the boardwalk, followed by an afternoon on the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.
The waves were high and the ‘No Swim’ red flags were flying so instead, I went for a run along the beach. It was great to feel alive by the tumbling surf and to take the sea air into my lungs. Two more weeks to rock the USA!
Day Forty Two / Forty Three, Albany,!NY USA August 27th / 28th 2019
It was a day for Jules and I to celebrate our 31st Wedding Anniversary. We had an excellent day with the boys who had got Mum and Dad a card signed by everyone on the tour.
On stage at the Skyloft, we celebrated with a version of the song we played at our wedding in 1988 – Walk Forever by My Side – 2019 Remaster. It was a special moment for both of us. Smiley and James joined in and together we created a beautiful version that involved everyone in the audience and made it feel like we were having our own personal ceremony.
Jules first The Alarm show in the USA was in Albany back in 1987 so it seemed even more appropriate. It was great to stretch out a little bit and play for longer and we got to play a few different songs in the set.
Afterwards we celebrated with a few drinks and enjoyed a great band / crew / family party together before hitting the road to New Jersey.
We had been invited by our friend Jimmy from The Smithereens to enjoy our day off at his house. We had a superb day, spent mostly on the pool playing HORSE. The water basketball game was won by MC Gareth. Smiley, Dylan, Evan and I played soccer in the big garden complete with goals and nets and yours truly won the crossbar challenge.
Lots of music was played and good times were had by all. The sun went down as we chatted and shared our rock and roll adventure stories in the dark.
Day Forty Four Asbury Park, NJ USA August 29th 2019
The boardwalk was calling as we pulled into the Asbury Lanes. Jules, Smiley and I went for a high intensity 5 mile walk, taking in Bradley Beach along the way. It was a beautiful day to be alive, the sun was high in the sky with a cool sea breeze.
Dylan and Evan were having a great time with the crew when we got back, everyone was Bowling and the competition was intense but fun at the same time.
The show itself was Sold Out and the Pre-show experience was pretty magical, with one attendee telling Gareth and I a story of how she became a fan after seeing The Alarm arrive at the Iroquois Hotel, NY in our van in ‘83. She had stepped out of her office for lunch and saw us drive by all looking UP out of the windows, we happened to stop right outside her office and when she saw us pulling guitars out of the vehicle. Intrigued, she came over to say hello and we told her we were playing with U2 that night and so she came to the show and has been coming ever since Amazing!
We hit the stage with a spring in our step and what an audience awaited. So Loud – like only a New Jersey crowd can be. It was packed to the roof and when I went in after Knife Edge – 2019 Remaster for Neutral everyone was going crazy.
We ripped through the set list and finished on a high with Spirit of ’76 – 2019 Remaster and encored with a medley of Declaration 1984-1985 songs and Two Rivers. NJ ROCKED.
“The Alarm gives Asbury Park an unforgettable night of pure rock and roll”. – Asbury Park Vibes, New Jersey
Day Forty Five Staten Island, NY USA August 30th 2019
The St. George’s Theatre has to qualify as the most beautiful theatre of the tour so far. It’s a magnificent structure and beautifully ornate.
We decided to head into Manhattan and, with the anticipation of a great show, board the Staten Island Ferry for the crossing that takes us right past the Statue of Liberty.
Our destination is Grand Central Station which was a hub for me during the 1995 period when I was writing the Feel Free album and learning to live with the Big C. We took the subway and once our mission was complete, walked all the way back to the Ferry. We took the kids to the John Varvatos Store which is at the site of the old CBGB’s. Evan loved seeing the old memorabilia on the walls and being in the same space that helped bring Ramones into the world.
The venue lived up to its billing and it was a great privilege to be on the stage in such a dramatic setting. A theatre this grand requires a different kind of performance and we all rose to the challenge required to send the music out to every member of the audience. It was a wide platform to communicate from, and as a lead singer you have to make use of every inch of the stage. I was literally having to sprint from right to left, and put in a lot of miles moving up stage, down stage and back. We were note perfect on every song and I loved singing every single word to an amazing crowd. Thanks NY.
Day Forty Six Glenside, PA USA August 31st 2019
I played at the Keswick Theatre with The Alarm on the Raw – Remastered Tour in 1991. I was reminded by the fans outside, that we started with Raw itself, but I personally don’t remember too much else. I took Evan for a haircut to the barber across the street and also walked all through the town with Smiley and Jules but still didn’t recall too much about the ‘91 visit which is strange because I usually have a good memory for most venues. I remember we played the Bayou in Washington the night before, and I can recall that venue like it was yesterday. Maybe it was a show that we pulled in late, jumped on stage and left straight after the show which sometimes happened in those days when you were cocooned on non self drive tour bus. This time around it was an amazing show and one I won’t forget in a hurry. The Keswick is a great theatre although we have to adhere to a very strict union curfew. We got on stage 4 minutes early but I was still very conscious of the time, so cut back some of the in between song speak and also cut the song endings tighter than usual. The audience were up out of their seats from the first second and the set went by so fast. We actually saved ourselves quite a few minutes and by the encore I found we had time to spare, so turned to Smiley and called up Blaze of Glory (which wasn’t on the set list) and finished bang on 11pm. Unforgettable night!
Day Forty Seven / Forty Eight Norfolk, VA USA September 1st / 2nd 2019
The last time I was at the NorVa I saw Prince perform. It was April 2001 during his Hit and Run secret tour phase and The Alarm MMI just happened to be passing on a day off before playing the next night. Luckily, I spotted the name above the venue as we drove by and our tour manager got us all on the guest list.
Prince started his set with Purple Rain and what a night it was.
For our arrival in 2019, the venue staff treated us like royalty. The room was packed when we came on stage and it turned into one of the best shows of the tour so far.
Afterwards in the dressing room, the owner Rick cane to talk to us and said he thought it was the best show he had seen at the NorVa in years – high praise indeed – especially coming from the man who had actually taken the call from Prince himself all those years ago!
Next day we found ourselves out on Virginia Beach itself, it was our last day off before heading home and we all gathered in the sun and the surf – boogie boarding through the waves as one big happy family.
We now have six shows in a row and a hurricane to contend with before flying home. 34 shows in, and still no chance of us slowing down!
We are all excited about the coming week and I sense that if there was an opportunity to go back to the start and do it all again, then we would take it. North Carolina, Atlanta and Florida look out.
Day Forty Nine Charlotte, NC USA September 3rd 2019
Charlotte, North Carolina is another part of the USA where there isn’t that much The Alarm concert history.
I did play here in my role as singer for Big Country during the Big Country – The Journey Tour in 2013. I also managed to see The Cult the night before and my son Dylan got to see Billy Duffy playing up close and was blown away.
This time around we are playing at the Neighbourhood Theatre and it’s a great looking old school ballroom with a raked floor. A great room for a live band like us to play!
Craig Shurn has driven down to see me tonight. Craig was the U.K. distributor for the Vinyl movie back in 2012. Craig, Jules and I worked closely together setting up acoustic performances at cinemas that coincided with Alarm shows as the film played in the U.K.. The movie is becoming something of a cult classic these days, and has just been picked up by Amazon Prime. Check it out if you haven’t seen it, as it’s got some great moments and performances from Phil Daniels and Keith Allen plus the soundtrack by The Alarm Vinyl totally rocks!
The acoustic pre show experience threw up some first time requests and was a rather enjoyable part of the day. It’s also the start of the final leg of the tour and tonight’s electric performance is the first of six on the run.
The band is like a finely tuned piece of machinery now and so Charlotte got the full works and more. 200%+
We have a brilliant and adaptable crew on this tour and without their hard work and dedication it would be impossible to be out here this long.
Andy Labrow is Tour Manager, responsible for The Alarm and also Modern English and Gene Loves Jezebel inside the venues.
Steve Kravac is the front of house sound engineer and also responsible for Modern English when they are on the road and at hotels etc.
Gareth Jones is the tour host and MC and his responsibilities include setting up the pre-show experience and hosting the main show. Gareth also works with Andy to ensure all the bands hit the stage on time and that the changeovers run smoothly.
Andi Badge is the lighting director for the Sigma Tour. Adam Pate looks after the instruments / back line for all three bands and we also have Jeff Clarke running merchandise for The Alarm and Modern English while Kim looks after Gene Loves Jezebel.
Dylan and Evan Peters both help with load in / load out while Dylan strings all the guitars and then helps out at the merchandise stand during the shows.
Evan is drum tech for Smiley, and makes sure his kit is set up and taken down before, after and between bands. Evan also helps with stage clothes, making honey and lemon and (with Dylan), that our dressing room rider of drinks and snacks makes it on to the tour bus at the end of each evening.
Can’t sleep – still buzzing – still thinking – unsafe – unsound – unknown – unwanted – unnecessary – I’ve been condemned – I’m UNSAFE – whatever you think you are today – you can be tomorrow – the hurricane of change – a new day – new frontiers – new borderlines- to take us anywhere – The Stream will change EVERYTHING – Bring It On.
DayFifty Two Bonita Springs, FL USA September 6th 2019
Iceland Rocks is coming up next week, so got to keep the training going. Two 5k walks for me today, three for Jules. I did manage to spot and purchase a Ramones T-Shirt at a Flea Market for Evan who wore it proudly all night.
Thinking about going home now although when we do get back to Wales at 6:30am on Tuesday, there’s literally only time to unpack, get the Boys ready for school and drop them off with the grandparents, pack the ruck sack and climbing boots and board a vehicle st 4am bound for Heathrow and a flight to Reykjavík. First day there includes a 26k hike too! Phew!
Swapping the tour bus for a tent is going to be fun though, and I’m looking forward to meeting up with everyone from Love Hope Strength and hopefully seeing the Northern Lights!
I think it’s safe to say that the band is on top form right now, especially having played so many shows, nand it was another great show at the South West Florida Event Centre.
The complete change of set list in Orlando really freshened things up for us, and there was a purpose about the show tonight that we all brought up the proceedings.
The audience (although seated), were with us all the way. The sound on stage and in the auditorium was first class, and I reckon I covered a lot of ground between the microphones to UP my fitness levels even more!
Tomorrow we head to Miami for the first Alarm show since 1983!
One of the benefits of touring is that sometimes you get to wake up beside the ocean.
This morning we all woke on the tour bus and stepped across the sidewalk to Miami North Beach. We were greeted by the clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Within minutes we are in the water. It was so beautifully warm and salty. It was an amazing experience to be able to float on the sea with the hot sun overhead and relaxing exactly as nature intended. The kids and the ‘kids’ in the band and the crew – all of us as one in the water.
Lots of photos were taken – in and out of the water, it felt like the perfect ending to this part of our ‘holiday’ of a life time. Certainly a moment none of us will ever forget and quite possibly the abiding memory of this tour we will all remember forever.
We have two more shows to contemplate but this morning seemed to crystallise our feelings and encapsulate the bonds we have forged, as we have traversed the USA together as one frontier family on this our band wagon train.
The Club Space in Miami was a classic rock and roll venue layout without a barrier. We played our hearts out. Each and everyone of us giving our all and not just the band but the crew too.
A lot of the reviews have remarked on the feel good factor that comes from having Gareth as MC and our entire road crew taking part in the shows with us. One for all all for one!
Day Fifty Four / Fifty Five St. Petersburg, FL USA September 8th 2019
Our last show of the tour is at Ferg’s in St. Petersburg and it’s an outdoor stage event. The final acoustic experience in the shade by the river was especially emotional for Gareth and I as we have shared some great stories, memories and times together having known each other for 41 years.