Photos and Words by SYLVIA BORGO
SAN DIEGO – With a setting almost empty of any obtrusive sound equipment, The Alarm’s lead singer, Mike Peters, took the stage and rocked The House of Blues San Diego on Thursday night.
There were three microphones set up for Peters at the foot of the stage. The rest of the band members played a few feet behind these microphones. This somewhat unconventional setup allowed Peters to command the stage with unbound energy.
Peters would sing a verse into one microphone, another verse into another microphone, and sing the chorus into yet another microphone. With this unique arrangement, as well as his heartfelt performance, Peters delivered a dynamic and crowd-pleasing set.
Even though James Stevenson, guitarist with the band since 1998, and Steve Barnard, drummer, were mostly located towards the back of the stage, they could not be ignored. Not only were they both clearly visible, but they gave rock-solid (pun intended) performances.
I heard a few people in the audience comment on the strength of Peters’ performance, making remarks like “He sounds better than ever!” “Doesn’t he sound a bit like Bryan Adams? No! Better! Like, Springsteen,” “Wow, what a voice!”
It might have surprised audience members, especially those who were “in the know” about his battles with cancer, to see a veteran of the music scene play with limitless vitality. I have to say, I got a bit emotional seeing Peters attack such a classic repertoire of hits with such vigor. He is proof that you should “never give it up without a fight.”
The solid setlist included the obvious crowd-pleasers: “The Stand,” “Rescue Me,” “Strength,” “Rain in the Summertime,” and “68 Guns” as an encore.
Openers Modern English and Gene Loves Jezebel each delivered performances that were as energetic now as at their peak of popularity in the 1980s.
Modern English has a range of great songs, but its admitted show-stopper is the hit “I Melt With You,” which lead vocalist Robbie Grey says is “the song that pays the bills.”
This is a tour that’s proves that strong character and strong music are always in style.