MIKE & THE MECHANICS, 2014-06-27 (NL+E)
Gronau (Germany), Eventcenter Vennekötter
vrijdag, juni 27, 2014

Volkomen onverwachts kreeg ik het bericht van een openluchtoptreden van Mike Rutherford en zijn nieuwe Mechanics in het Duitse Gronau, net over de grens bij Enschede. Tot mijn niet geringe verbazing bleek onze grote regelneef Bert Treep (iO Pages) per omgaande een bevestiging te krijgen dat ondergetekende welkom was om het concert te verslaan en foto’s te maken. Een buitenkansje want deze tour lijkt Nederland voorbij te gaan. De pers mocht zelfs even kennis maken met de voormalige bassist van Genesis en zijn huidige zangers, de donkere Engelsman Andrew Roachford, die tevens keyboard speelt, en de Canadese zanger en acteur Tim Howar. De band bestond verder uit klassemuzikanten, te weten: Anthony Drennan (gitaar, bas), Luke Juby (keyboards, bas, saxofoon) en tenslotte Gary Wallis (drums).

Een heerlijke setlist met de meest bekende en vaak ook meest aansprekende nummers die Mike Rutherford en zijn Mechanics uitbrachten passeerden de revue en zelfs twee nummers van Genesis: Turn It On en I Can’t Dance. Dit alles tot groot genoegen van het niet in al te groten getale aanwezige publiek. Dat mocht de heren, die gelukkig wel droog stonden, evenwel niet deren. Na een nietszeggend voorprogramma en een enthousiaste DJ gingen Mike & The Mechanics er vrolijk tegenaan. Vooral Tim Howar genoot optimale vrijheid omdat hij niet beperkt werd door een instrument. Hij ontpopte zich als een volleerd entertainer en wist het voltallige publiek achter zich te krijgen. De beide Genesis-nummers kwamen mede dankzij hem uitstekend uit de verf.

Ook Andy Roachford had er zin in en hij grijnsde breeduit. Hij wist zijn eigen hit Cuddly Toy ook uitstekend uit te voeren. Rutherford zelf speelde ritme- en basgitaar en vertilde zich even aan een Jimi Hendrix-riffje bij het voorstellen van de band, maar dat ging toch niet helemaal goed. Onopvallend speelde deze legende van de symfonische rock, maar de man is zonder meer een fenomeen op compositorisch gebied al heeft hij met The Mechanics steeds hulp gehad van bekende songwriters als B.A. Robertson en Christopher Neil. Opnieuw een bewijs dat met verjonging ook oudere muziek in een nieuw jasje een prima manier is om jezelf ‘in the picture’ te houden. Ik kan dit optreden niet vergelijken met een optreden met Paul Young en Paul Carrack, maar ik vond dit een heerlijke show met een prima geluid. Jammer dat er niet veel meer Nederlanders op af gekomen zijn.


Unexpectedly and purely by coincidence I picked up that Mike Rutherfiord and his new Mechanics were to perform at a very nice venue just across the border from where I live. Just a few kilometers fom Enschede, I would have thought a lot of Dutch fans would be travelling to this Eventcenter Vennekötter in Gronau to see Mike & The Mechanics because up till now, no shows have been scheduled in the Netherlands. Only a week before the show I got to know about this small scale open air event and thinking ‘if one doesn’t try, one will not have any success’ I asked the PR-man at iO Pages Magazine (Bert Treep) if he’d be willing to try and get me a photo-pass. In less than a day the request resulted in a press and photo pass. So straight after work, I drove off to Gronau and parked my car in what later would appear to be quite a long way from the venue. The reception was very courteous and I was even allowed to go the area where Mike, Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar would be present for a press conference. To my surprise there were only a few people of the German press and I was the only one from the Dutch side. I was introduced to the legendary bass player of Genesis and shook hands with Mike, Tim and Andrew. While a DJ was playing music from the seventies and eighties there was a meet & greet for a few VIP’s and all press was guided to the stage where a German band entertained the people attending, only some 300 is my estimate. Of course, there were lots of beers going around and the German specialty, namely Bratwurst.

Around 9.30 PM the band I had been waiting for came on stage. Of course, all the music sounded differently with vocalists Andrew and Tim Howar, but the Canadian proved that he is a gifted entertainer. He managed to have everyone clapping, jumping and singing along in no time. Andrew Roachford, somewhat limited by the fact that he had to play keyboard as well, did a fine job too. The band played tight and because several musicians changed instruments - Mike: electric guitar, bass, acoustic guitar, Anthony Drennan (lead guitar, acoustic guitar, bass) and Luke Juby (keyboards, bass, saxophone) it was a lively spectacle.

Unfortunately it started to rain a bit about halfway through the show but luckily no-one seemed to care. With great enthusiasm all sang along with the Genesis-track Turn It On and thanks to the excellent stage performance by Tim Howar, one could almost think it was Genesis on stage when I Can’t Dance came along. There was also a fine solo spot for Andrew with the tune Cuddly Toy, once a hit by his former band Roachford. The legendary Rutherford seemed to be quite happy with his somewhat modest role. He played guitar and bass, but most of the soloing was done by Drennan. At the end of the show Mike introduced the members of the band and when the man himself was put in the spotlight, he tried to do a riff from guitar hero Jimi Hendrix but at the end of that short piece of Purple Haze it became obvious that Rutherford is not a lead guitarist at all. His strengths are playing the bass and compose gorgeous melodies. Although Mike has always had help from renowned composers like B.A. Robertson and Christopher Neil when he co-wrote all these beautiful songs, he should not be underestimated as a songwriter.

Not only Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel were successful in their solo careers, do not forget that MIke & The Mechanics also sold millions around the world. Recently Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, Tony Banks and Michael Rutherford of Genesis got together and there are a few photo’s published on the internet. Rumours has it, that it is not impossible to have the former members of Genesis reunited on stage...

In the meantime these one hour and 45 minutes went by like a smooth drink and even without Paul Young and Paul Carrack this band kicked ass and proved that the music is truly great, timeless and can in fact be performed successfully by other artists than the original ones. It’s a pity and a shame so few Dutch people came to this lovely place, probably because the promotion was not as extensive as it should or might have been. A big 'thank you' to the organizers to give me this opportunity to meet Mike Rutherford and to see these wonderful musicians playing all these great tunes!

Setlist: A Beggar On A Beach Of Gold (from Beggar On A Beach Of Gold), Another Cup Of Coffee (Beggar On A Beach Of Gold), Get Up (from Word Of Mouth), Try To Save (The Road), Seeing Is Beliveing (Living Years), Silent Running (Mike & The Mechanics), Turn It In (from Duke, Genesis), Nobody's Perfect (Living Years), Cuddlye Toy (Roachford), I Can't Dance (Genesis), The Living Years (Living Years), All I Need Is A Miracle (MIke & The Mechanics).

Encores: Over My Shoulder (Beggar On A Beach Of Gold), Word Of Mouth (Word Of Mouth)

Line-up: Michael Rutherford (guitar, bass), Andrew Roachford (vocals), Tim Howar (vocals), Anthony Drennan (gitaar, bas), Gary Wallis (drums) and Luke Juby (keyboards, saxophone)