In celebration of a special birthday, a gathering of cestrians was convened in sunny London to attend the Mike Peters, "Declaration" 2014 tour. The venue was the 02 Academy Islington and the tour is supporting the just released Declaration album, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the original release by revisiting it with new versions and ideas.
The evening consisted of two sets, with the first being a meander through the extensive back catalogue of the Alarm and Mike Peters. This is a blistering start to what promises to be a great evening. For one of the hardest working men in rock and roll, Mr Peters voice is a little ropey to start off with but quickly gets up to speed with some help from the audience. Each of the songs is punctuated with chat which is interesting, funny and not too long. of this section my personal favourites were hearing Breathe and Across The Border.
After a short break for 10 mins the second set starts and is devoted to playing the original Declaration album track list in it's entirety. However there is a noticeable departure in the style, arrangements and lyrics of how these songs are played. Some are as good as and some are even better than the original. I suppose that will be down to individual choice but my absolutely favourite of the new interpretations is Shout To the Devil the backing riff of which had been banging around in my head since I heard the new album.
The whole of evening was enhanced by the use of three mics for the vocals, a drum, mandolin, a variety of harmonicas, loops, samples sounds (?) and ONE excellent guitar. It gave the performance a little breadth and power without having a full band. The crowd were fairly lively and it was great to see Eddie Macdonald/Gaz Top enjoying the gig as well from the side.
I have had the pleasure and good fortune to hear Mr Peters live in various disguises for nearly 30 years as the Alarm, MP & Poets, DMW, Coloursound, with BIG C, and on his own in all sorts of settings. Of his solo performances this was a stand out one. After finishing with a rousing version of Blaze Of Glory he went off before returning to finish with some cracking encores as you can see from the set list below.
The venue was sold out but not uncomfortable and Mr Peters was in tip top form marching on to a level most could only aspire to. Thanks to Mr P and all the MPO team for an absolutely cracking night.