Saturday, March 24, 2018

Mike & The Mechanics Bring Their "Let Me Fly" Tour To Central Florida

March 19, 2018

The Plaza Live
Orlando, Florida

by Michelle Wilson of Rock Legends Photographers

Mike & The Mechanics absolutely rocked The Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida with a blazing, one hour-and-forty minute set of all their hits, including a few Genesis tunes. Skipping an opener and taking the stage at 8pm, the band played straight through until 9:40pm, offering a warm, inviting vibe of genuine camaraderie among the members. Original Genesis bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford was backed on this tour by co-lead vocalists Tim “The Power” Howar, Andrew Roachford (keys), Anthony Drennan (guitar/bass), Gary Wallis (drums/percussions) and Toby Chapman (keys/bass).

Rutherford and Drennan traded off on bass and guitar (both electric and acoustic) throughout the show, and even Chapman came out from behind the keys to play bass on a few. While Rutherford and Drennan were a bit more laid back, their frontmen were anything but. The dynamic duo of Roachford and Howar delivered soaring vocals and welcomed heavy audience interaction. With his incredible range and Broadway background, Howar kept the crowd fully engaged, while Roachford's soulful sound was the perfect complement to Howar's theatrical presence. The joyful harmonies pouring out of these two were truly awe-inspiring.

Sharing material spanning their catalog, the group dove into such staples as “”Get Up,” “Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground),” “Over My Shoulder” and “A Beggar On A Beach Of Gold,” which Howar dedicated to the audience and also to “the late, great Paul Young.” (Young, an original member of the band, died of a heart attack in 2000.) Peppered throughout were five tracks off the latest record, Let Me Fly (2017), including “Are You Ready,” “The Best Is Yet To Come,” “High Life,” “Wonder” and the absolutely haunting title track, “Let Me Fly,” which featured Roachford on lead vocals and was a real highlight. Likely the most fun songs of the night were covers of Roachford's “Cuddly Toy” and the Genesis hit, “I Can't Dance.” Joking about early school bands and their names, Rutherford humbly mentioned that “we had a school band and it was named Genesis,” which met with exuberant applause and cheering, followed by another huge Genesis number, “Land of Confusion.” “There you go, the old school band,” Rutherford laughingly shared when it was done.

With Roachford on vocals, the soulful, R&B twist to “The Living Years” was an absolute breath of fresh air. The song took on a whole new dimension and rather than trying to sound like Paul Carrack, Roachford totally made it his own. Of course, it was a fan favorite that garnered a standing ovation. “All I Need Is A Miracle” rounded out the set, with an enchanting Howar crooning to a lucky lady in the front as well as a back-and-forth vocal with the showgoers. Many thought this was the end and started filing out of the venue, but the band did come back to close it out with solos including Roachford doing some Stevie Wonder and Rutherford some Jimi Hendrix, capping it off with “Word of Mouth.” It was a perfect ending to a pretty darn perfect show.

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