Saturday night in Llandudno and the place is buzzing after an incredible first night at The Gathering. The Saturday show is the full band show, with special guest support in former The Alarm guitarist Dave Sharp opening the show.
The venue filling up fast as the Birthday boy himself, Dave Sharp takes to the stage, a few fans singing happy birthday as he takes up his position in front of the microphone. The opening chords of Graceland filled the room as a personal tribute to the late Lisa Marie Presley. This was a beautiful touch, and a welcome addition to Dave’s set list. The crowd responded and sang a long as Dave put his own interpretation to the song. For some, not having seen Dave play live, this was the perfect song to start the set, showcasing his awesome guitar technique. Dave’s set was short, as are all support slots, it was crammed fit to bursting in true Sharpie style, including his Alarm signature song One Step Closer To Home and his biography song in Looking This World Over. Dave was on top form, interacting with the audience, enjoying every minute of the set. Finishing up, he showed his gratitude to the fans and thanked them whole heartly, the venue close to capacity, the late arriving fans caught the last of what was a brilliant set from the former The Alarm Guitarist.
As the lights came up the road crew where eagerly clearing the stage and putting in the final touches before it was time to welcome The Alarm to the stage, the buzz and atmosphere within the venue was electric, tonight was going to be an awesome night.
As the lights went down, New Orders Everything Gone Green began playing, the camouflage back drop light up ready to welcome Jules Jones Peters, Smiley, James Stevenson and the one and only Mike Peters to the stage. The band burst right into song, with the excellent new song from the album of the same name Forward, taking the audience by surprise, it was great opening track to kickstart the night, if this track is anything to go by, the new album is going to be very powerful.
Mike Peters, fired up and ready to rock with a superb setlist of tracks, moving around the stage using the four mics front of stage, taking in every smiling face beaming from the audience on all sides of the venue. The opening tracks had the wow factor, Superchannel, Strength, Drunk and Disorderly followed by the excellent Rain in the Summertime. The band were taking this show to the audience, making up for lost time, delivering a night of music that has been sorely missed over the last three years. It was clear for all to see, the band were glad to be back performing in front of a sold-out venue, as they played the excellent Warriors before Two Rivers. The band took a short breather, Mike on the small stage at the rear, was ready to perform an acoustic set, starting off with It’s Alright, It’s Ok that had the venue in full voice. Mike introducing Without a Fight, saying he has been waiting a while to perform this song.
The opening chords of Breathe started, instantly the crowd were in full voice, as the band started to take their places on the main stage, joining in half way through creating an amazing musical experience, ending the track with the drum beat still sounding, Into the 21st Century from one of Mike and the Poets early albums was next up to knock the socks off the gathered Alarm fans. Mike, returning to the main stage joined the band to perform the fantastic Walk forever by my Side. It was time for the big hitters to be unfurled, with the likes of Shout to the Devil, For Freedom, Marching on and The Deceiver, finishing up this run of tracks with Third Light and The Stand from the outstanding Declaration album.
The fans as always were in top form, their voices singing loud and proud Deeside from the Strength album. Next up fans favourite Majority was just getting started, when the band had to stop as a fan had been injured in the crowd, after a short pause the band started back with Second Generation blending in well where they stopped in Majority. The atmosphere was electric, the power coming from the stage was awesome, hard to believe after the sort of year Mike had experienced beforehand.
The set was nearing the end, the band finishing up with a fantastic run of tracks in Unsafe Buildings, Where Were You Hiding When the Strom Broke, Knife Edge and the excellent Sixty-Eight Guns. The passion and emotion from the stage was unbelievable, just over two hours of awesome tracks, Mike was on a real high, performing a brilliant version of the Spirit of 76, at the last verse after singing a long note he shouted I’m Back! the crowd roared to the statement with a thunderous applause. They finished the set with Rescue Me, Blaze of Glory and In the Poppyfields, ending with Declaration before the band left the stage.
After a noticeably short break the band returned to perform a fantastic run of tracks, My Town, Absolute Reality, 45rpm, ending with the excellent Psalm and Blaze of Glory (reprise). The band and Mike looked as if they could go on all night, with an audience who would’ve down likewise, this was a special weekend, two nights and not one song played twice, two powerful sets delivered filled with passion and emotion. Tonight, the lights were shinning bright in the North Wales seaside town of Llandudno as Mike Peters and The Alarm performed a powerful set without a safety net, delighting family and fans from all over the globe.
Review & Photographs by James Edmond