Gathering 9

The Gathering 9.
Held at The North Wales Conference Centre, Llandudno, Wales
Friday 12th January 1999 – Acoustic Mike Peters in the round.
Joined for the encore by James Stevenson, Richard Llewellyn, Steve Grantley
Saturday 13th January 1999 – Full electric performance
Band Line up : Mike Peters, James Stevenson, Richard Llewellyn, Steve Grantley.
Special Guest Steve Allan-Jones, Craig Adams.

Press Release
Gathering 9 takes place on 12th and 13th January 2001 at the North Wales Conference Centre, Llandudno, North Wales.

The Gathering 9 is the ultimate Mike Peters and Alarm experience. A weekend New Year party celebration with a Mike Peters unplugged style concert on Friday January 12th and a full blown electric extravaganza performed by Mike Peters and The Alarm 2001 on Saturday January 13th.

Due to extra demand for tickets, 100 extra Gathering tickets have been released. Please contact MPO immediately if you still wish to make your reservation. Weekend ticket price £26. There are a few Saturday night only tickets remaining priced at £13.

The Gathering 9 – Friday
Opening set of The Gathering 9 Weekend – a 36 song acoustic unplugged session with something for everyone. Mike began with ‘Change II and proceeded to play a connoisseurs set focused on album tracks and b-sides chosen from just about every album he has ever recorded. The highlights were a superbly atmospheric ‘Ravens’, a welcome return of ‘Refugees’, a blistering ‘How The Mighty Fall’ and a superb crowd singalong to ‘Raw’ and ‘Freeworld’.

Mike then burst into a set of brand new songs. 10 in a row beginning with ‘The Innocent Party’ and ending with ‘In The Poppy Fields’. Possible stand out song was ‘Free Inside’, (Mike claimed the lyrics had only been written that morning), which received a standing ovation from many in the audience,

‘Alive’ and ‘Under The Sun’ from the Coloursound album paved the way for the grande finale which began with ‘Fade In-Fade Out-Fade Away’ during which Mike was joined one by one by the band. First by guitarist James Stevenson, then the rhythm section, drummer Steve Grantley and bass player Richard Llewellyn. The audience were now out of their seats and as the band struck the opening chords of ‘Marching On’ it was hard not to recall Elvis Presley’s 1968 comeback TV special. ‘Up For Murder’ was next and the Elvis connection was completed when Mike was handed a pair of chrome ‘Elvis’ shades by Steve Grantley and powered the band into ‘Gone Elvis’ which Mike couldn’t sing because he had forgotten the words, or as Mike put it “Elvis Presley has forgotten the lyrics”. Once Mike was reminded of the opening line by the fans the band ripped into the song for the second time and the place went wild and if that was not enough they then did ‘Bound For Glory’ which had everyone clapping and singing and dancing and standing on their seats (it certainly ‘looked’ brilliant on the video screen). Mike finished the song stood on top of his amp and was promptly pulled into the crowd by an over enthusiastic fan, but in true rock and roll style Mike climbed back out of the crowd, up onto the amp, leapt into the air and as he landed back on his feet, the band hit the final chord.

He played 36 songs tonight and must have been on stage for almost two and a half hours. Here is a complete list of all the songs.
Change II
No Frontiers
Refugees In The Westworld
How The Mighty Fall
Tell me
Father To Son
The Day The Ravens Left The Tower
Unbreak The Promise
You Are To Me
Broken Silence
Permanence In Change
Elders And Folklore
Rose Beyond The Wall
Breaking Point
Second Generation
The Wind Blows Away My Words
Rockin’ In The Freeworld
The Innocent Party
True Life
Free Inside
[ ] Happens
Festival Of Light
In The Poppy Fields
Under The Sun
Fade In – Fade Out – Fade Away
Marching On
Up For Murder
Gone Elvis
This Train Is Bound For Glory

The Gathering 9 – Saturday /Sunday
MPO Mastermind 2001: The convention began at 11.00 a.m. and was soon full of excited people chatting about last night’s show and meeting up with friends from previous Gatherings. There was a showing of The Alarm 2000 Day Documentary until around midday. ‘Modnus Modnusson’ then took to the mic and everyone settled down to the quiz. The Mastermind quiz involves teams of four answering questions of varying degrees of difficulty and has become a very popular part of The Gathering over the years. The questions as well as the answers make it very interesting, and there is always something to be learned, even for the most die-hard fan.
Eventually the competition yielded four finalists and before the captains of the winning teams took their places for the Mastermind final, Mike Peters was put on the spot by Mr. Modnusson. It was hilarious. Mike was asked questions about the old days of The Alarm and we all laughed out loud at the antics of the band, such as the night when The Alarm fell asleep in their van on the motorway after a late night party with Stiff Little Fingers in 1982, which involved a free bar…. Apparently, it took the police over three hours to wake the driver, Ian Wilson (the band’s manager) who had, by then, had enough time to sober up and pass the breathaliser test.
The final questions were very difficult this year and each captain got only three answers correct. A nail biting tie-break ensued and the mastermind quiz was eventually won by Graeme Aitken from Glasgow in Scotland whom Mike presented with the winning trophy.
Everyone then went outside onto the beach for The Gathering photo call with the local print media, and everyone who wanted got to take pictures with Mike and chat. It was now almost 2-30 and Mike went back inside the Centre for soundcheck, and we all went back to our hotels to have a rest and get ourselves psyched up for the Saturday evening electric performance.

Saturday Night:
Saturday night’s show was opened by local band Xell, who Mike has been helping out over the past year. The three brothers played a short but powerful set featuring their own material and a couple of cover versions that defied their ages (just 18, 15 & 12 years old), with young Lewis simultaneously staking his claim to both Mike Peters & Steve Grantly’s crowns with great performances both in front & behind the drum kit.

The Gathering 9 Saturday evening performance from Mike Peters and The Alarm 2001 lasted a staggering 2 hours and 55 minutes and contained 36 songs. The set began at 9.00 p.m. with ‘Shout To the Devil’ quickly followed by ‘For Freedom’ and ‘Marching On’ which immediately evoked memories of the very earliest Alarm shows from around 1982 to ’83. The band even came on to the ‘Light Of Experience’ by Gheorghe Zamfir which was also the intro tape to those early Alarm shows. For the fourth song, Mike strapped on his electric Gibson Les Paul and stabbed out the power chords to ‘Ground Zero’, it was great to see and hear songs from all eras of Mike’s career being greeted with such enthusiasm from the audience. The song crashed to a close and an unprompted extended singalong of the ‘death disco’ line broke out, chanting from left to right across the hall.

Mike was back on acoustic and harmonica for ‘Feel Free’ and then we were treated to a four song barrage -‘Deeside’, ‘Majority’, ‘The Wasting Land’ and ‘Poetic Justice’ which this time prompted a mass outbreak of movement in the crowd. Then came ‘Rise’ with the whole of the Gathering joining in on the ‘come together’ chorus. ‘The Deceiver’ sequed into ‘The Stand’ and if the show had ended here I don’t think anyone would have complained.

‘High On The Hill’ came next and this was probably the highlight of the early part of the show. Mike’s vocals soared, James Stevenson’s guitar blitzed the band into the chorus and when the solo hit – well it was as if the ghost of Mick Ronson (James’s hero) had descended from Heaven to play alongside him. Mike asked for a round of applause for James and well it just oozed respect. James then swapped his Gibson Les Paul Gold Top for a Fender Electric 12 string and arpeggioed the intro to ‘Breathe’, by now people were on each others shoulders and the temperature was soaring. Mike announced that it was twenty years ago since the release of ‘Unsafe Building’ and then he and the band played what is probably the best version of the song I have ever heard.

Mike and James both played electric guitars and (maybe the fact that they have both worked with Billy Duffy from The Cult), the song sounded more like something that Coloursound would play, it was incredible. Then came ‘Knife Edge’, ‘White Noise’ and ‘Burnout Syndrome’ all of which sounded the same but different if you know what I mean. It’s the first time I have seen Mike playing this much electric guitar since Coloursound and I hope he continues to do so, the songs definitely rocked a lot harder and a mosh pit began to form at the front with people being passed to the front and over the barrier. The first half of the set closed with James Stevenson’s extended soloing on ‘Burnout’ and MP screaming ‘fading out’ over the top of a wall of feedback. MP was then on top of the drum riser in front of Steve Grantleys’ drum soloing and as he leapt into the air the band smashed into the final chord.

Mike then introduced us to pianist Steve Allan Jones who had toured with The Alarm as keyboard player in 1990. The whole tone of the show changed for the next three songs as Mike crooned his way through ‘A New South Wales’, ‘Walk Forever’ and John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’. ‘One Step Closer To Home’ began the second half with the band coming back on half way through. Mike sang the lyrics the wrong way round on ‘In Circles’ and followed this with ‘Sold Me Down the River’, which was played almost twice as fast as the Alarm ever did, and is a much better song for the change of pace. Tonight instead of Mike starting it with acoustic it was introduced by James who made the riff sound, dare I say it more like The Cult.

‘Strength’ saw MP with his arms held high over his head with the back lighting recreating the ‘Strength’ tour of 1985 but any comparisons to ’85 ended there as the band performed a brilliant total electric assault on the music, Mike’s voice was in top form tonight and he sang the song with so much passion, it was as if he had written it only yesterday. ‘Rain In The Summertime’ with the whole of the front rows receiving a cooling shower from MP during the ‘Do you wanna feel the rain?’ section. ’21st Century’ then pulsed into life and mass singing came back from the crowd who might still be singing now if Richard Llewellyn hadn’t pumped up the bass intro to ‘Regeneration’. Question: Who does the best 1-2-3-4 in rock’n’roll? After The Gathering 9 my money is on MP. The way he belts out the count in to the fast sections of ‘Regen’ just has to be seen to be believed.

‘Where Were You Hiding’ was another song which we haven’t heard at the tail end of a show for ages and it sounded great with the two ‘electric’ guitar attack. A million playing cards flew into the air and then came ‘Sixty Eight Guns’ with Mike, James and Richard darting about the stage in the strobe lights and Steve Grantley thrashing the drum kit into submission. A ‘tommy gun’ ending and it’s goodnight from Mike and the band.

While the band were having a breather, we were treated to a football style chant of ‘Blaze Of Glory’ from the fans which was so good I’m tempted to include it as a song in this review, Mike led the band back on stage and launched into ‘Spirit Of ’76’. Mike asked the assembled to “raise their hands for the spirit of ’76” and if their was anyone of the 1500 in the hall who kept their hands down I couldn’t see them. ‘Spirit’ was followed by ‘Rescue Me’ and again, if you weren’t singing along, you were pogoing, being carried over the barrier or climbing onto someone’s shoulders. The band left the stage and came back with special guest Craig ‘Rufus Stone’ Adams from The Mission and treated us to rock-a-billy versions of ‘Gone Elvis’ and ‘Bound For Glory’. Mike then thanked everyone for coming to The Gathering before leading us into a closing ‘Blaze Of Glory’, and when I say us I mean exactly that. By now Mike had made us all feel like we were all part of the band, which is what makes The Gathering so special year after year. The band stayed on the stage and Mike introduced each member of the group, they all looked like they didn’t want to leave the stage. After the final bow and Mike’s last words of “see you all at Gathering 10”, (I think I can safely that every person who was at Gathering 9 – be they from Europe, The Americas or the Far East is going to come back to Gathering 10), Mike and the band eventually left the stage to ‘Going Out In A Blaze Of Glory’. The time on my watch read 11.55.

Postscript: Hours later during the after show party at the St. George’s Hotel. Mike was coerced by the D.J. into singing karaoke. For the record, he sang ‘It’s Not Unusual’ by Tom Jones, ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams, ‘Wonderwall’ by Oasis and ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra. Hours later again, he returned with Craig Adams and the two sang what sounded to me like a very drunken duet of ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, the Elton John/Kike Dee number. Craig Adams as Kiki Dee and Mike Peters as Elton John – you’ll only ever see that at The Gathering.
(Review by Dave Jones)

Gathering 9 Football Competition:
The Gathering 9 came to it’s traditional finale on Sunday lunchtime at the John Bright Sports Centre with the annual indoor football competition. Twice previous winners The Message looked set to continue their winning ways as they progressed into the final without problem, but they didn’t count on running into The Mad Vikings. The visitors from Norway (and one imported Brit) stunned the reigning champions, taking the trophy with a 5-3 victory.
After hitting his bed after 7am, Mike was up and about a few short hours later, signing autographs & then joining members of band & crew to take on the Vikings in the traditional closing challenge match and defeating the new champs.

Once again, the whole weekend was a great testimony to the passion, energy & music of Mike Peters & The Alarm. Thanks to all those who attended and contributed to a superb weekend from all at MPO.

Next year Gathering is 10 years old, and The Alarm will be 20 – we hope that all fans home & abroad will join us in Llandudno to celebrate 10 years of Gathering & 20 years since the demise of Seventeen & the birth of The Alarm.
The Gathering 10 – Anniversary Weekend – 11th & 12th January 2001.”

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