Paul Carrack / Mike + the Mechanics

Live at Shepherds Bush, London

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Mike + the Mechanics -- begun as a side project in the mid-'80s by Genesis guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford with vocalists Paul Carrack (Ace, Squeeze) and Paul Young (Sad Café) -- have created some of the finest adult pop/rock in recent memory. The band's songs often address heady topics such as frayed romantic relationships, parenthood, and aging. Young died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 2000, and the group went on indefinite hiatus. Eventually, Rutherford and Carrack re-formed the band as Mike + the Mechanics + Paul Carrack and released the new album Rewired in 2004. (This album, 1999's Mike + the Mechanics [aka M6], and 1996's Hits were first released internationally, but not in the U.S.) The 2005 DVD Live at Shepherds Bush London captures a September 7, 2004, concert at Shepherds Bush Empire, their first appearance in England since Young's death. Rutherford, Carrack, and original drummer Peter Van Hooke (now primarily on percussion) are supplemented by several other musicians and vocalists. This headlining performance is fine, if somewhat low-key at first. (The band had been opening for Rutherford's Genesis bandmate Phil Collins elsewhere in Europe.) Carrack is a fantastic singer, but Young's passionate energy is definitely missed. Sonically speaking, the polished production of the albums is obviously lost on-stage, but the songs themselves still stand up. "Falling," "Get Up," "If I Were You," "Another Cup of Coffee," and "Perfect Child" are notable early offerings. The pace picks up with "Silent Running," the Top Ten (yet underrated) hit from the band's 1985 eponymous debut. The number one tearjerker "The Living Years" dampens the mood a bit, but "Over My Shoulder" and the shoulda-been-a-smash anthem "Word of Mouth" end the proceedings on a high note. The exceptional DVD bonuses include insightful interviews with Rutherford and Carrack and the promotional videos for "Silent Running," "The Living Years," "Word of Mouth," "Over My Shoulder," "A Beggar on a Beach of Gold," "Another Cup of Coffee," and "One Left Standing" (a boring, animated, band-free clip that should have been replaced by "All I Need Is a Miracle" and "Taken In").

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