Mike Rutherford – Bass, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Andrew Roachford – Vocals, Keyboards
Tim Howar – Vocals
Anthony Drennan – Guitar, Bass
Luke Juby – Keyboards, Bass, Whistle, Backing Vocals
Nic Collins – Drums, Percussion
THE SET LIST:
Set 1: 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 / Silent Running
Set 2: Acoustic Medley: Wonder; 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 / Encore: Word of Mouth (including solo spots)
With it being a Bank Holiday, the journey into Manchester city centre was untroubled by traffic, which meant we got to the venue much earlier than anticipated, so had time to enjoy a drink at the bar. The Bridgewater Hall is a classy venue and the theatre itself has hosted music concerts of all types over the years and is set up accordingly. The whole atmosphere is relaxed and the staff are courteous and friendly. Having seen the band on many occasions over the years I have seen changes in the lineup. Original singers Paul Carrack (now fully solo) and Paul Young (who sadly died too young 23 years ago) were replaced by Andrew Roachford and Tim Howar with Luke Juby and Anthony Drennan coming on board in 2011. Along with drummer Gary Wallis, that has been the live line-up ever since. With Wallis unavailable for this ‘Refueled’ tour, Rutherford asked Nic Collins (son of Phil), who had worked on the Genesis 2021/2 tour to step in. Collins is a tremendously gifted and energetic drummer who may well go on to establish a reputation as strong as his father’s, and, as Mike said, he also significantly lowers the average age of the group.
The staging and lighting for the show are geared to theatre venues and were simple but effective. The set contained mainly hits from the band’s catalogue plus some of the best material from their more recent albums, along with ‘a drop’ of Genesis. The sound during the first set took a short while to be balanced effectively, with the keyboards a little down in the mix in the early songs, but the band was in excellent form. Roachford has one of the best, most soulful voices in British music and Tim Howar (nicknamed “Power Howar” by the band) was a bag of energy. Highlights of the set for me were a blistering version of Roachford’s ‘Cuddly Toy’, a jubilant performance of ‘All I Need is a Miracle’ and the elongated, rocking and crowd-pleasing sing-a-long encore ‘Word of Mouth’. The show was mainly up-tempo, but nice renditions of ‘Let Me Fly’ and ‘The Living Years’ added contrast, as did a lovely acoustic medley of Mechanics and Genesis hits.
This is a band full of confidence and knowing what pleases its audience and I hope to see them again somewhere down the road.