Pictures and Live Review Credit: Adrian Hextall
Aside from a reunion show at the Enchanted Festival in Essex last autumn, Dan Reed Network have not played in the south of England for 20 years. I remember their last major show in London in 1993 at the Town & Country Club (now renamed The Forum) and the fact that the sound was so loud and distorted it meant that I always assumed that would be my lasting memory of their final show. Fast forward to 2012 when, following a return to music as a solo artist, Dan Reed ‘puts the band back together’ and they reunite to play a New Year’s Eve show in Portland. Clearly happy with the feedback, the band have continued to play and tonight sees a packed house where fans and various members of some big British bands have all come to see them perform their unique blend of funk and rock. Over the last few years, as a solo artist, Dan Reed has performed multiple acoustic shows. Clearly a fan of this medium, he’s opted to have Peter Shoulder (lead singer of The Union) open the show tonight and for 30 minutes we get a wonderfully mellow warm up by one of the great voices in British music at the moment. PETER SHOULDER He performs a heartfelt set and gets a warm response from the crowd which gradually swells as he’s on stage to hit capacity before DRN take to the stage.
DAN REED NETWORK So, 20 years on, the immediate concern about sound quality is immediately erased as the band launch into ‘Cruise Together’ and follow up with a greatest hits set that focusses on every album of their career to date. Speaking of career to date, there is a roar from the crowd when Dan announces that the band have been talking and “how would you feel about a new album?”. Roll on the new material! Given the band have not played together on more than a handful of occasions over the last two decades it’s amazing just how tight they are. The years fade away and we are transported back to the late ‘80s / early ‘90s when music was fun, energetic and none did it better than DRN. Brion James knows every shape in the book and looks every inch the guitar god on stage. His partner in crime Melvin Brannon struts and funks his way through tracks and brings the groove to the whole show. Staple favourites like ‘Rainbow Child’, their biggest UK hit, are sung back to the band word for word and after we get personal favourite ‘Ritual’ we’re invited to suggest songs to be played. As such we get an impromptu mix \ medley of tracks based purely on the loudest voices in the crowd. Again, the band prove just how well they gel and each segment is note perfect. Blake Sakamoto and Dan Pred are hidden at the back of the stage in the shadows but bring the wall of sound together with Dan Reed striding, jumping and bouncing around the stage with the energy of someone 20 years younger. It’s as if it’s still 1993 and the passing years never happened. They finish with ‘Tiger in a Dress’ and an a cappella version of ‘Long Way to Go’ which has many of the audience almost in tears and wanting to hug everyone nearby (or was that just me?) A stunning return to the capitol after such a long hiatus and a great warm up in advance of DRN playing and headlining one of the smaller stages at Download 2014. New music on the way, DRN touring again, life is good!
Under My Skin
Forgot to Make Her Mine
Baby Now I
Come Back Baby
Make it Easy
Baby Don’t Fade / (Incl. bass solo)
Tamin’ the Wild Nights / (Impromptu first verse, by request)
Mix It Up / (Impromptu first verse)
Lover / (Impromptu first verse)
Doin’ the Love Thing / (Impromptu first verse, by request)
Stronger Than Steel
World Has a Heart Too / (Intro)
Seven Sisters Road
Get To You
Tiger in a Dress
Long Way to Go / (A cappella)
Dan Reed – Lead Vocals,
Brion James – Guitars, Vocals.
Melvin Brannon II – Bass, Vocals.
Blake Sakamoto – Keyboards, Vocals.
Dan Pred – Drums