Mike + The Mechanics – Miracle Mania (Elements Of Crime-041)

Miracle Mania (Elements Of Crime-041)

Tower Theater, Upper Darby, PA – June 19th, 1986

(66:06):  Hanging By A Thread, Silent Running, Maxine, Taken In, A Call To Arms, Tempted, I Get The Feeling, All I Need Is A Miracle.  Bonus tracks, Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, PA – March 30th, 1989:  Nobody’s Perfect, I Believe, The Living Years

Each of the three remaining members of Genesis tried a solo career in the eighties.  Of course Phil Collins was most successful right from the start.  His first solo album Face Value and the single “In The Air Tonight” are classics as are many other song that helped define 80’s pop music (for better or for worse).  Tony Banks also attempted a solo career but without much success.

Mike Rutherford released two solo albums in the early eighties before settling upon the side group Mike + Mechanics.  An unexpected hit, the album yielded several hit singles “Silent Running,” “All I Need Is a Miracle” and “Taken In.”  Several months before Genesis began the Invisible Touch tour in September,  Rutherford brought his side band for a month of dates in the US in the summer of 1986.  The June 19th show in Tower Theatre in Philly was recorded, edited, and broadcast on King Biscuit.  

Philadelphia was chosen because it is one of the biggest hotbeds for British progressive rock in the world.  The audience give Mike + The Mechanics much enthusiasm.  Miracle Mania has excellent sound quality.  Obviously sourced from vinyl (with faint surface noise), it has the short broadcast including station ID’s and talking at points.

The label acknowledges the source by manufacturing the disc to look like an old LP.   

Despite the great sound quality, the entire show has surfaced on Wolfgang’s Vault making this obsolete.  Missing are “Halfway There,” “Par Avion,” “I Don’t Wanna Know,” “Take The Reins” and the Spencer Davis cover in the encore “Gimme Some Lovin’.”

KBFH left in some of the best songs from the night.  The three hit singles are included, as is “A Call To Arms” which Rutherford describes as a song Genesis were going to do but didn’t.  It is one of the songs written in the wake of Live Aid the previous summer, celebrating rock’s empathy.  

Paul Carrack sings “Tempted,” the song he wrote and sang when he was in Squeeze several years before.  

Element Of Crime include three bonus tracks from the March 30th, 1989 show in the same venue as the KBFH show.  They are sourced from a poor sounding broadcast.  This is the second tour for Mike + The Mechanics to support the second album The Living Years.

Miracle Mania is not a bad release, but both shows are available in full and in much better quality.  The packaging is quite cheap and the label got the date of the 1986 show wrong (listing it as June 2nd).  It’s good to have, but it would be nice to have definitive versions on silver of these shows from better sources.     

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