Crud Fanzines PLC present...

The Masque, Liverpool 06.02.03

(by Roger Subway)

Radio competitions.....don't you just love 'em!! Well, normally I'd say no i bloody don't but it came as a pleasant surprise and somewhat of a shock when the nice man from Century FM informed me on the phone that i was the lucky winner of a signed copy of The Alarm's new CD 'In the poppy fields : one' and also 2 tickets to see the guys at The Masque in Liverpool. At this point I'd like to thank the MPO for putting us on the guest list as the tickets didn't turn up in time. All I needed now was someone to transport me there in return for the second ticket.....step up Steve Sync!
Kirk Brandon was first to take to the stage playing a solo, acoustic set the highlight of which was the anthemic and rarely heard Spear of Destiny classic 'Never take me alive'. Having said that, coming in a close second was Theatre of Hate's 'Do you believe in the Westworld' which he played as an encore after much encouragement from the relatively small but veritably enthusiastic crowd.
Steve knows me well enough by now to know that I rarely drink when we go to concerts and he suddenly, in a theatrically shocked way 'realised' he was on his third pint! "You don't mind driving home do you Rog?....cheers mate!" And off he disappeared to the bar to try to drink them dry of alcopops!
A flurry of movement and deafening cheer thrust the driving duties to the back of my mind and signalled the arrival onstage of The Alarm. This tour is obviously to promote the new Poppy fields collection of albums but there was a balanced mix of new and old songs to keep fans of all eras happy.
From the newer collections came 'Right back where I started from', 'Close', 'The rock and roll' and my current personal favourite 'In the beauty of my surroundings' which has definite influences from their earlier song 'One step closer to home'. From 'In the poppy fields : three' came 'The drunk and the disorderly' which Mike Peters dedicated to the late Big Country frontman Stuart Adamson and from 'In the poppy fields : two' came '45rpm' which is a tribute to Mike's amassed record collection over the years.
The old standards were played with the energy and ease as in days gone by. 'Unsafe building', 'Knife edge', 'Rescue me' and a medley of 'Marching on', 'Where were you hiding when the storm broke' and '68 guns' kept the crowd dancing and singing along but it reached frenzy levels with the likes of 'Spirit of 76' , 'Absolute reality' in which Mike gave his own salute to The President of the United States (albeit a one fingered salute!), and the classic anthem 'Blaze of glory'. But my personal highlight of the evening was 'Rain in the summertime' which is, as some will know, my favourite track. The final song of the night was a cover of The Clash's 'Complete control' which Mike dedicated to the late, great Joe Strummer.
Ok, so having being an Alarm fan for 20 years or so may make me slightly biased but after a 2 hour set I think i can safely say nobody left the Masque disappointed. All in all a very enjoyable night and well worth the fact that I had to drive home! So as several hundred Alarm fans wandered off into the night singing 'Blaze of glory', we drove away in search of a McDonald's drive through which, hopefully, Steve will forget he paid for!

Roger Subway


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