Judge Patrick Naugle listens as well as he hears, which isn't saying much.
Welcome to the living years.
Mike + The Mechanics (also known as M1ke + The Machan1c5, but the hell if I'm typing that out two dozen times) is an English rock/pop band that has been around since the 1980s, crafting adult contemporary rock that is still heard on radio today. The group was started as a side project by one of the founding members of Genesis, Mike Rutherford, and had a slew of top 40 songs throughout the '80s including "Silent Running" and the emotionally charged "The Living Years." Since the mid-1990s the group's output has been steady if unsuccessful in terms of their glory years. The band has also seen a switch up in their lineup; Mike Rutherford has been a constant presence, as has singer Paul Carrack until his departure in 2004. Singer Paul Young was with the band from its start until his death in 2000. Mike + The Mechanics has started and stopped over the years but are still going, releasing an album in 2011 titled "The Road" and a previous album in 2004 titled "Rewired," which is where Mike + The Mechanics + Paul Carrack: Live at Shepherds Bush comes in.
As support for their 2004 album "Rewired," Mike + The Mechanics + Paul Carrack: Live at Shepherds Bush features the band in full swing performing some of their biggest hits to a sold out audience. The show itself is just the band onstage playing and singing; no fancy pyrotechnic shows or theatrics, which allows the music to speak for itself. The set list runs 14 songs long and will pacify those looking to hear the band's biggest hits.
On a personal level, I'm a fan of Mike + The Mechanics. I realize they aren't the "coolest" or "hippest" band around and have now become a sort of nostalgia act on the touring circuit. Even so, the band members have clearly spent much time together—decades, to be exact—and their music sounds tightly focused and engaging on Mike + The Mechanics + Paul Carrack: Live at Shepherds Bush. Many of their familiar hits are here, including "The Living Years" and "Silent Running", as well as other cuts from previous albums. This is where it gets interesting; many of their more obscure songs play wonderfully onstage. "A Beggar on a Beach of Gold" tells the story of a man who has all the riches in the world (family, love, friends), but couldn't get his head around that fact that he's a wealthy man in spite of the desire for what other's have. "Get Up" makes for a wonderful anthem to make a difference in the world. "Word of Mouth" reminds the listener to avoid those living in the past and to never believe the second hand gossip on the streets. The songs performed here are rich and lush (sometimes a bit heavy on the synthesizer), but overall this is an entertaining concert that will most likely be enjoyed by no one under the age of 30. That's a shame, because Mike + The Mechanics is a band that has a lot of catchy tunes under its belt.
Mike + The Mechanics + Paul Carrack: Live at Shepherds Bush (Blu-ray) is presented in 1.78:1 1080i high definition. Overall this is a very attractive video transfer that sports deep black levels and a lot of colors from the stage lights. Again, this is not the most visually stunning of concert setups (unless you count some of the musicians' Hawaiian shirts as impressive), so don't expect to be blown away. The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround in English (as well as LPCM Stereo). This is a very engaging audio mix that focuses the music out of all the surround sound speakers. The songs are all crystal clear and envelop the viewer in a lush sound field. Overall this is an excellent audio mix. Also included are English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch subtitles.
Extra features include seven promotional videos for the songs "Silent Running," "The Living Years," "Word of Mouth," "Over My Shoulders," "A Beggar on a Beach of Golds," "Another Cup of Coffees," and "One Left Standings;" as well as a brief interview with musicians Mike Rutherford and Paul Carrack.
A worthy edition to any Mike + The Mechanics fan's collection.
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