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THE ALARM GIVES ASBURY PARK
AN UNFORGETTABLE NIGHT OF PURE ROCK AND ROLL!
BY MELISSA LAWLOR
SEPTEMBER 2, 2019
On July 17, 2019, The Alarm began their summer “Sigma LXXXV” Tour along with their friends Modern English and Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel, hitting cities across the US in rapid succession. After having just released their new album ∑ Sigma (NUMBER ONE ROCK ALBUM IN THE UK), The Alarm were eager to get out and spread new music, along with their collection of classic tunes that we all know and love! The three bands made a stop in Asbury Park on August 29th for their sold-out show at Asbury Lanes. The packed house full of fans who traveled from all over, sang and danced to songs that have been on their play list for decades. Mike Peters and The Alarm have been coming to Asbury Park for a long time now, but it was a real treat to have this trio of bands in our beloved musical town by the sea.
While excitedly waiting for The Alarm to come on, I chatted with people around me who were happy to share stories about their mutual passion for Mike Peters and The Alarm. One particular fan, Bill King from Elizabeth, NJ, was eager to tell me that this was show number 83 for him, and that he would be seeing them again the next night in Staten Island. He definitely had me beat! One thing that is certain, The Alarm have an army of dedicated fans who travel all over to see them. He agreed and also talked about several of the "gathering events" he had been to, and what an incredible experience they all were. “We in the NYC/NJ Metro Area have a large contingent of Alarm fans and we have gotten to be friends attending gigs and get-togethers,” he said. This universal admiration was felt all around the room.
As The Alarm hit the stage, Mike Peters greeted the audience with a giant smile that seemed to never leave his face for the rest of the night. He is a powerhouse of energy as he runs from the three microphones singing in each one while also playing guitar and harmonica. He is an incredible front man, musician, songwriter, and all-around human being. Mike Peters brings the warmth of unity to every crowd he performs to and is backed by a wonderful band consisting of Steve ‘Smiley’ Barnard on drums, James Stevenson on guitar and bass (who also played with Gene Loves Jezebel) and his lovely wife, Jules Peters on keyboard and hand percussion.
Their set was a fantastic blend of new and old music. They began with "Blood Red Viral Black" off of the Sigma album, then exploded into "The Stand," "Peace Now," and "Rescue Me." But then right after having a minor technical difficulty during "Sold Me Down the River," Mike Peters humored the crowd and said, “So New Jersey…we’re allowed a few technical problems when we get to play this part of the world. We’re all old friends. We go all the way back to Rutgers University! So we’re going to throw something in that’s not on the setlist tonight and make it up.” Then went immediately into "Knife Edge" off of the 1985 Strength album.
Following that was a more relaxed song called "Psalm" off of the new album. While performing, Mike Peters asked the crowd to take out their cell phones. And as the house lights were turned down, the sea of lights from everyone’s phones waved as the crowd joined in singing, “Cuz I pray, pray, pray, pray for love tonight…yes I pray, pray, pray, don’t give up the fight”. It felt very powerful and emotional because both Mike and Jules Peters are true fighters. Both are cancer survivors and through their battles, have continued to stay strong and rise above.
Immediately following was their song "Neutral," which turned the energy to a higher direction where Mike Peters surprised the crowd by joining everyone on the floor while singing and dancing, and encouraging everyone to join in. It’s times like this when you realize that we are all just one in the same. All there for the same reason, which is a love for music.
The band built upon the momentum by pumping out "Strength," followed by the big crowd favorite "Rain in the Summertime" off of the Eye of the Hurricane album. For fans who have previously seen The Alarm, they know what is about to happen next just by the devilish grin on Mike Peters’ face as he picks up the water bottle. But for newcomers, this is a fun moment to watch as he sprays water all over the crowd! Afterwards ... the energy kept a steady pace as they did "Spirit of ‘76," "Declaration," “Marching On," “Where Were You Hiding When the Storm Broke," "68 Guns," and finally ending with "Two Rivers." This was an exciting show to say the least! These are three bands that many of us began listening to in our teens and have continued to listen to as adults and pass along to our children. Thank you for all the wonderful memories!