It’s been a long three years since the last Gathering, so much has happened, the covid pandemic and Mike Peters own health issues to name a few. This weekend was going to be a special one, not only for the band, but the legion of fans who have travelled from all corners of the globe to be here.
A steady stream of fans began filing into the venue, for the opening night, of what was going to be a gathering to outdo any other. The fans were getting ready for Mike Peters of The Alarm in the round playing a totally acoustic set. The night opened in a truly special and emotional way with Gaz Top introducing Jules Jones Peters to the stage to say a few words, before she introduced the emotional video she record of Mike going through the long hard struggle with his health over the last year. The video was heart wrenching, giving everyone an insight into the journey Mike and the Peters family have been going through this past year and beyond.
After the video Jules returned to the stage to introduce Mike to the waiting crowd. What an emotional welcome awaited, as the fans sang The Alarm song Walk Forever By My Side, the emotion was evident on his face, his voice softly breaking as he thanks the assembled Gathering audience.
Tonight was going to be a special one, as he played the opening chords to A Breed Apart, the crowd in full voice sang along with him. Mike’s voice sounded great, performing the opening songs effortlessly, covering all sides of the room as he walked around the stage performing Neutral, Heroine, Cenotaph and Raindown. The set tonight had the feeling had been picked well in advance, making sure his voice was going to be able to cope with the strong vocal songs later in the set. The fans were delighted to hear Mike going through his solo album and giving some of the songs light of day including album titles Rise and Feel Free. Of course the fans favourites came out from the solo day including the excellent High on the Hill and Just Don’t Get Any Better Than This. A tremendous trip down memory lane to some of the highlights of Mike Peters solo day and tours with the Poets around the UK.
You could see by the reaction of the fans in the venue they really enjoyed this flash back before Mike treated them to classics from The Alarm back catalogue starting with Raw, Sold Me Down the River before the beautiful New South Wales. With the crowd in his hands from the off, the noise level in the venue from the singing was so powerful. The music, the audience and Mike Peters were as one, delivering an epic set. The set was almost at the half way stage, it was time to bring out the big hitters that would take the show to a different level, the classic One Step Closer to Home and the excellent Only The Thunder, and a brilliant version of the amazing We Are The Light.
Mike said he was looking for other songs to play and decided to play some of the staycation songs that had been requested by fans near and far, some a lot different from what you would expect to hear him play. He opened up the staycation requests section with the Woody Guthrie classic This Train is Bound for Glory before treating the fans to the George Michael classic Faith. This was a real fun moment, smiling he took the fun the extreme playing the Time Warp giving rise to a dance-a-thon from the cheering crowd.
There was only one way to end the show, and that was inviting his two boys up on stage to join him, Dylan and Evan, guitars in hand joined Mick to play the Oasis classic Wonderwall and the excellent One Guitar. Jules Jones Peters looked on at the epic moment with immense pride on her face, a father and his two boys performing in front of the sold-out venue. As the song came to an end the boys and Mike left the stage to a standing ovation.
Tonight will never be matched, emotions were running high in the venue, and rightly so, it was an honour watching a real live superhero deliver an amazing set from The Alarm and his own solo albums back catalogue, received by the venue with pride, it had been so long since the last time hearing the songs live and in the fresh. This was a superhero with one guitar fighting the good fight.
Review & Photographs by James Edmond