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Mike + The Mechanics Refueled! Tour 2023

Mike + The Mechanics - Refueled! Tour 2023

live in Frankfurt, Jahrhunderthalle, 31 May 2023

Note: The photos for this concert review are not from Frankfurt, but from the shows in Sheffield and Northampton, taken by Scott "8By10ByScott "Saldinger with kind permission to publish them here. More photos by Scott can be found here.

On 31 May 2023, I was at the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt to witness the kick-off of the Mike & The Mechanics Refueled Tour Germany concerts. I've only been a Genesis fan since the early 90s, but then consistently got into all the eras and a lot of the solo projects over the coming years.

The Mechanics' hits from the 80s and 90s were of course in my ears as a child of my time, but "my" Mechanics album is certainly Beggar On A Beach Of Gold, which my mother gave me for my birthday at the time.

Foto: Scott Saldinger

After the much too early death of Paul Young and still a few years before Paul Carrack's departure after Rewired, the Mechanics got lost to me. That is to say: I'm not really familiar with the new edition of the band after 2010 and of the new Mechanics stuff I also only have The Road in my record collection. I found that album to be "cultivated boredom" and then didn't pursue the project any further. I was all the more excited to see Genesis on their The Last Domino? Tour, as the band appeared rejuvenated (Nic Collins) and full of enthusiasm. So I'll be honest: especially the announcement that Nic Collins would be joining the Mechanics on tour was the deciding factor for me to first try to attend a concert via the hr1 [German radio station] ticket alert raffle and a manageable level of expectation.

In the end, I didn't win my ticket because my best friend had the good sense to order me a ticket when only a few tickets were left and I still hadn't won, and gave it to me as a gift with the words: "Have fun, I couldn't wait any longer or the thing would have sold out later!" That alone was cool. But only since that evening in Frankfurt do I know how great this gift really was.

I hadn't paid much attention to the tour before the concert, but I had seen and heard a few snippets here on the forum, via the Facebook group and the Instagram accounts of Nic Collins and the Mechanics. The few video snippets I saw on Facebook from the UK leg of the tour didn't blow me away either, to be honest, but they seemed ok. As I said, I came here with reasonable expectations.

Foto: Scott Saldinger

The audience of the Mechanics shows is - at least that was my impression in Frankfurt - quite similar to that of Collins or Genesis concerts. This is not only based on the T-shirts worn, but also on my personal impressions of the last Collins and Genesis concerts I have attended in the last 20 years.

The people are of an upper-middle age, there is virtually no need for stewards and all the people are able to park in the 8-EUR car park of the Jahrhunderthalle in a halfway sensible and coordinated manner. In the hall itself, there is no crowd when queuing at the stands, the stage is monitored by a single security guard in a jacket and tie. Everything is cosy, everything is unexciting. People come to the edge of the stage to take a quick photo. No problem at all. You see family fathers whose twenty-something daughters have obviously made the joint concert visit with their parents a gift. The father enjoys it, his wife is slightly annoyed because he wants his hands free and doesn't want to hold his jacket.... The father gets his way. He will clap along persistently later in the evening. As one of the first to stand up in the upper tier and - quite obviously - enjoy the evening to the full.

Foto: Scott SaldingerAccording to the tickets, admission is at 6:30 pm and the concert starts at 8 pm. The end is announced on a monitor in the hall for 9:45 pm. This is surprising, because I had heard about the break in the set and had expected a playing time of around 2 hours. But good. Admission to the concert hall (and thus also to the merch stand) had been around 7 pm, I think. Here, too, everything was orderly, the stewards simply cleared the stairs and slowly the people, some with currywurst, beer or a glass of wine in their hands, made their way into the completely seated concert hall. For me, it was up to the balcony. My best friend told me not to expect too much from the seats. But they were great.

I had a clean view into the steadily filling hall, where there was light mist emanating from the stage. The stage was probably the same as the UK concerts. A plain skyline in the background, some lighting elements. Nic Collins' drums are in the middle, to my left are Roachford's keyboards (in front) and slightly offset and elevated behind them is that of Luke Juby, the "Whistler". On the other side of the stage, one discovers the guitar set-ups of Mike and Anthony Drennan.

There is a microphone stand between Nic and the keyboards. This is used extensively by Tim "The Power" Howar. From the seats in the upper tier you can see the plain stage well and little by little the hall fills up to almost full occupancy. At just after 8pm the band, led by Nic Collins, take to the stage. Mike appears, tall and slim, as a light figure in an all-white suit.

Without much ado, the first German concert of the Mechanics in about 4 years begins to the cheers of the approximately 4,000 spectators.

The setlist is probably the same as from the English concerts, except for a slightly different running order, but there is no break in Germany. The band starts shortly after 8 pm with a brilliant Get Up. Right from the first song it becomes clear: the band is in a playing mood, the speed of the song is appropriately fast, the sound of the instruments is clear, the vocals can be heard well and the basses of Mike and Anthony, as well as the drums of Nic Collins, are powerful. I immediately remember why people go to live concerts. Because of the joy of playing, because of the possibility to feel the sound and the atmosphere on stage (also physically).

There are no screens on or behind the stage, so I can't see any facial expressions from the distance I am to the stage, but I can feel the fun the band is having.

With Get Up we have a live classic by the band, to be found on the album Word Of Mouth. A nice, thematic start to the evening. And right at the first song it becomes clear to me personally, the new singers, who will support each other throughout the evening and at the same time allow the other the moment in the foreground, carry the old songs without any problems.

After Get Up come two songs that are important for me personally. A Beggar On A Beach Of Gold is the title track of "my" album. And it rocks. Well, maybe in a figurative sense now. I admit that I put on The Road again in preparation for the concert over the day (and again found it mostly cultivated boring), but also found myself warbling some of the old hits in the shower (the poor neighbours...) and humming to myself throughout the day. And Beggar was almost entirely heard in my private rehearsal.

The next number is one of the few Mechanics songs I had heard live before. In the Ringkirche in Wiesbaden, in October 2022, Ray Wilson had played Another Cup Of Coffee. The song was fun then too. But in the line-up with old and new mechanics it is even better. Much to the chagrin of a visitor recording half the concert with his mobile phone, I start singing along (very well) occasionally here at the latest.

In between, the band introduces itself. They are celebrated frenetically. And Mike explains in friendly German that they are currently on the "Aufgetankt" tour [German translation for "refueled"] and have now arrived in Germany. They are "completely overhauled". The audience thanked him with loud laughter and much applause. Tim Howar introduces the newest mechanic, saying he comes from a completely non-musical family. The audience freaks out a bit. Mike adds that there will be a few "drops of Genesis" over the evening. So far so good.

I already catch myself hoping for the interval to buy one of the less-than-pretty shirts at the merchandise stall, run by a lone roadie, to take away a physical memento of the evening. Going in, I had scouted the stall but wanted to make a purchase decision dependent on how the concert went. I didn't take any pictures of the merchandise. In general, I had planned to leave my mobile phone in the bag as much as possible this time and just take the concert experience 80s/90s style with me.

We continue with Are You Ready and Try To Save Me, two pieces from the newer era of the Mechanics, whereby I particularly liked Try To Save Me. The title alone makes Are You Ready a good choice for the early part of a concert and a good choice to bring in the "new" material after three old "hits".

Try To Save Me is then a nice, quieter number that Roachford carries with his strong voice. Oh, and, yes, it then occurred to me that this track is from The Road CD in my collection, about which I have already spoken not so kindly twice in this review already.

These two pieces are followed by the first "drop" of Genesis of the evening...

Jesus He Knows Me! Tim Howar's vocals are introduced by a whimsical announcement from Mike, who briefly explains that Phil, Tony and he wrote the song, the lyrics of which are dedicated to US TV preachers, in the 80s (!) and that a certain Tony was always worried that if you performed the song live, you would be in danger of having a brick thrown at you on stage. He then laughingly went on to say that he had reassured Tony at the time. The singer would be the target of such a brick throwing and not the other musicians. The audience laughs and Mike continues that the singer tonight is a certain Tim Howar. Then the band gets going and all the dire youtube snippet-induced fears that Tim Howar might not do the song justice evaporate.

What I notice negatively from time to time throughout the evening is that some of the classic keyboard sounds from the introductions of pieces are clearly changed compared to the original versions. I don't understand that. Some of the sounds seem extremely cheap to my ears. There must be a better way, or it's intentional. It doesn't matter, but it does affect the keyboard intro of Jesus, for example. The familiar timbre of the guitar and the powerful drums bring back memories of my very first CD, The Way We Walk Vol. I. And I realise that I'm also a fan of the music. And I notice that I don't get the high notes in the Mechanics version of the song either.

Tim Howar plays with the audience, performing an interesting mix of Phil Collins copy (Give me 180 Million Dollars by the Weekend) and his own accents and audience interactions. The song dispels another "worry" of the evening for me.

The Best Is Yet To Come and Let Me Fly are two more songs from the Mechanics' Let Me Fly album, which I will certainly have to treat myself to after this evening (small criticism: no CDs at the merch stand...). The soulful Let Me Fly is once again carried by Andrew Roachford's distinctive and super voice. The slightly livelier The Best Is Yet To Come I actually knew before and it's an auspicious track at this point in the set. Oh yes, the band plays well, Mike is clearly having fun, the musicians manage to pick up the "old" audience with their own songs and classic material and there are still plenty of hits to come... The Best Is Yet To Come.

And there it goes, back to the 1980s, with Silent Running from the Mechanics' first album. Again, the beginning is slightly different in terms of the intro, but Roachford's vocals quickly pick me up and win me over on this classic. I mean, it's the moment where additional light elements behind and around the drums shine in green, but I'm not sure. In general, the use of light is less pompous than on Genesis, but nevertheless kept in a successful simplicity that serves to transport the music and its inherent emotion and doesn't push itself distractingly into the foreground. Mike knows what he is doing, it seems to me. And Andrew Roachford knows it too. What an artist!

We should be approaching the break, I think to myself, and consider whether I want the hoodie with the mechanic at the petrol pump with a whispering bag in his hand or whether the number plate shirt will do. A good sign.

The hard-working hands of the roadies, who have often handed out new guitars between songs, now carry chairs and a miniature drum set to the front of the stage. There a small, they call it "acoustic set" takes place. This is a medley in which Mike and Anthony at least exchange the electric guitars for acoustic guitars.

The beautiful Wonder (from Let Me Fly) makes the start and then the next drops of Genesis follow: Invisible Touch is played in this version and goes into Don't Know What Came Over Me (also from the Let Me Fly album). Then it's back to the hit mechanics of the 1980s and 90s with Nobody's Perfect and Everybody Gets a Second Chance. With the latter, the hall sings along. With the former, you notice how well Howar and Roachford harmonise both humanly and musically. Add to this the beautiful background music of the band. Unobtrusive. Nostalgic. I have goosebumps (and sing along).

Then comes Follow You Follow Me. I can't help myself, get out my phone, turn on the torch in a bad digital lighter imitation and wave it back and forth as I languish along to the Genesis classic, deep in my own thoughts and memories. Stale? Well, sure! Still beautiful (again and again)? Oh yes.

Somehow it doesn't work out to be a break here and now, even though the band leaves the stage...I take it upon myself to invest the 35 EUR in a black shirt when I leave the hall and let myself continue to be carried along by nostalgia, while all around me clapping fans also enthusiastically join in. The helping hands quickly dismantle the mini-set, the band disappears. Except for Mike. Mike stands in the middle of the stage in a white cone of spotlights, alone with his electric guitar.

Throughout the evening, the coloured beams of light from the spotlights have gathered on his white suit, wrapping him again and again in new cloaks of colour, bathing him in different robes of light. Now he is gleaming white and he rocks out: the riff to I Can't Dance, the last drop of Genesis of the evening, fills the hall. The audience is thrilled.

Foto: Scott Saldlimger

Mike is joined by Tim Howar, who sings his heart out. Bit by bit the band comes back and joins in. Here, too, we have a song that's dead in the water, which I don't really like that much, but which I enjoyed again yesterday. But it fits really well into an 80s/90s hit set.

And the band also has what makes a good concert. They have (playing) fun. Tim Howar gets the last audience members off their chairs and pulls them to the edge of the stage. The fans may be older, but they are alive and having fun. The hall is standing.

After Tim Howar has been the centre of attention once again, it's Andrew Roachford's big hour. The band, but especially he, perform Cuddly Toy. What follows are several minutes of rich rock music, killer vocal performance, best showmanship, funny audience participation, strong guitars and basses and drums. The band rocks. The hall shakes. The audience is enthusiastic. Once again I am struck by how beautifully the two lead singers support each other.
They allow each other the limelight of their "own" song, only to sing together again - as just seen and heard in the medley - wonderfully on an equal footing. A great dynamic of a well-rehearsed band. And I can't single out Roachford enough. His Cuddly Toy is certainly one of the absolute highlights of the evening.
After this rock intermezzo, classics by the Mechanics close the programme.

Andrew Roachford gives a wonderfully kitschy The Living Years a new intro, a touch of his own, and still (or perhaps because of that?) totally gets me emotionally.

The thing is also a real masterpiece of 80s pop music by Mike. It's impressive that Andrew is able to perform it so well, after he had spent minutes on Cuddly Toy belting out everything, but really everything. Pro!

All I Need Is A Miracle is again a song for Howar. And the audience. What a board. Do I need to say again that it's a dead-ducked hit from the 80s? Hardly. But let's face it, that's why we're here. Sure, you might wish for the odd foray into the more obscure Mechanics tunes (for me, say: Why Me, A Call To Arms, Hanging By A Thread, Mea Culpa, Web Of Lies...) or something from the vast catalogue of the Genesis family, beyond the well-trodden hit paths, but the hits are needed too. And All I Need Is A Miracle is just that. A hit. The audience is at Tim Howar's feet - he even gets down on his knees for us or climbs up Nic's drum set platform a bit. The audience sings. The audience has also been dancing left and right in front of the stage for quite a while. The Youtube footage doesn't do justice to the atmosphere in the hall and the musical performance.

Over My Shoulder follows, another song from "my" album Beggar. Here, too, the audience, stopped and cheered on by Tim Howar and the band, sings and claps along enthusiastically. After all, this thing is a crowd pleaser. Luke "The Whistler", is on bass guitar for this song and also gets his moment centre-stage, whistling solo. He flutes skilfully and is celebrated accordingly. The song is fun for everyone and ends the regular part of the concert. The hall goes wild. The family man from higher up has already been standing for five or six songs and even his wife can't catch him. His daughters are thrilled and take turns filming the action on stage and their dad. What a gift for this happy man!

We clap the band back for an encore. Roachford shouts "encore" into his mic with a wink and the hall is at his feet too.

The "new" singers have made it. Both are different. Both are totally strong. Both have fun at work and both get along well. What an experience. The rest of the band is great too. Mike has fun (may be he messed up, I don't care, I didn't hear it), even if the Silent Running solo may not be monstrously virtuosic. But what the hell. He wrote the whole shebang! It would do for me, and I think he plays well tonight. So does Anthony Drennan. I still "know" him from the Calling All Stations Tour. I thought he was good then and here too, in the guise of a mechanic, he simply delivers solidly and convincingly. Not obtrusive, but skilful. I can understand why he was there as a back-up guitarist on Genesis' Last Domino Tour. Only Luke remains a bit pale, but that's more because he does everything (background vocals, keyboard parts, whistling...) but never really stands in the foreground for long. He gives me the impression of an ideal team player. While Nic Collins must have had a hard time keeping it together for half the evening (he was already very celebrated at the first band performance early in the evening and had to wave off behind the drum kit in shame), he now really spices up the drum part in the final number, the only encore of the evening, Word of Mouth. The whole thing then culminates in a band introduction, with each artist giving a solo. Tim Howar introduces the band again and also makes it clear that the Collins family might not be completely untalented as far as musicality is concerned. Then each artist plays a solo. Andrew Roachford's solo is first a homage to the recently deceased Tina Turner. He intones her Private Dancer. The hall goes along empathically. Then he moves on to Superstition (here, thankfully, the keyboard tones are spot on) and is frenetically celebrated. Not quite like his Cuddly Toy before, but you can tell the crowd love him. Luke plays a part from That's All (at least I think he does) and Mike plays Purple Haze - and without any major mistakes. I had been waiting for a Genesis solo, preferably the one from Second Home By The Sea, but I knew beforehand that it wouldn't happen. Instead, Anthony Drennan surprised with the Firth of Fifth solo.

Nic's closing drum solo is certainly another highlight of the concert (along with Cuddly Toy), here he shows not only his talent, the experience he has gained in the meantime, but also his youth and his independence from his father's style. Tim Howar doesn't get a solo of his own, instead resuming Word of Mouth after Nic Collins' massive drum solo and ending the evening with a sing-song between him and us.

I have long since stopped worrying whether my singing can be heard on my neighbours' mobile phone recording. I'm grinning incessantly and grateful to my best friend for not taking a gamble on winning, but for giving me such a fantastic evening. What a pleasure it was to see Mike Rutherford and Nic Collins again, after Amsterdam II (Genesis show in 2022). But I'm also glad to have given Andrew Roachford (what a voice and charisma!) and Tim Howar a chance. Luke, sorry, you come up short, but you played along perfectly! The same goes for Anthony Drennan. And again - the sound of live music, bass pedals and drums. There's just nothing like it.

The band takes a bow and then leaves to mighty applause, leaving the stage to Mike Rutherford for a brief moment, during which the fans thank him for decades of beautiful pop and rock music with a standing ovation. On the way out, I buy the ugly black shirt and proudly wear it to the car park, where the fans park out in an orderly manner and survive the traffic jam towards the motorway without any chavs.

A great evening comes to an end, a beautiful concert joins my memories of great concert evenings of the Genesis family. I am grateful and satisfied. My good mood lasts deep into the night. If you have the opportunity to see the Refueled tour (again), don't spare the money and treat yourself to the experience. In my opinion, it's totally worth it. It's a trip into the past, the 80s and 90s, sure. But it just feels nice. And good. Kind of like coming home. I keep writing about fun here. But that's exactly what I experienced and saw. Fun everywhere. With the band on stage and with the audience. Sounds like a cliché, but that's exactly what it was. And let's be honest. Isn't fun exactly what we all need right now...? The Best is Yet To Come - hopefully.

Author: Nico Bracht (Frankfurt Show)
Photos: Scott "8By10ByScott" Saldinger (UK-Shows)

Full Setlist:

Get Up
A Beggar On A Beach Of Gold
Another Cup Of Coffee
Are You Ready
Try To Save Me
Jesus He Knows Me
The Best Is Yet To Come
Let Me Fly
Silent Running
Invisible Touch
Don't Know What Came Over Me
Nobody's Perfect
Everybody Gets A Second Chance
Follow You Follow Me
I Can't Dance
Cuddly Toy
The Living Years
All I Need Is A Miracle
Over My Shoulder

Word Of Mouth

Anthony Drennan: Firth Of Fifth solo
Mike Rutherford: Purple Haze solo
Nic Collins: Drum solo
Luke Juby: That's All
Roachford: Private Dancer / Superstition

Mike Rutherford


MIKE + THE MECHANICS - Let Me Fly (CD) MIKE + THE MECHANICS - Let Me Fly (CD) Verse kaufen bei
MIKE + THE MECHANICS - Let Me Fly (CD) Verse kaufen bei

Latest album from 2017

Mike & The Mechanics - Living Years (2CD)

Mike & The Mechanics - Living Years (2CD) Mike & The Mechanics - Living Years (2CD) Verse kaufen bei

Second Mechanics-Album from 1988, contains the US-Nr. 1-Hit The Living Years.

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