at The Cluny, Newcastle, U.K., December 11, 2010

It’s just about 2 years to the day that Danny Vaughn last played at The Cluny, a special acoustic show that was captured on the The Road Less Travelled live album. Like then it also happened to be the final for the X Factor and fortunately, for those who appreciate real music, Danny Vaughn and his band were in town again to provide the perfect antidote to that vacuous, bloated TV circus.

Billed as the Inspirations and Aspirations tour, Vaughn promised a full electric show featuring highlights from his own career along with songs by artists that have inspired him over the years.

Danny VaughnAbly assisted by a band comprising of members of his The Ultimate Eagles band, which included Thunder’s Chris Childs (bass), Ryan Aston (drums), Christian Phillips (guitar), and John Pease (keyboards), Danny Vaughn set about delivering a scintillating mix of great songs.

Of Vaughn’s own material, songs from all periods of his career were covered from Waysted’s Save a Prayer (“Black and Blue”) to Tyketto (“Forever Young”) and his solo work, including “Fearless”, the acoustic stomp of “Is That All There Is?”, and “Bad Water” seeing Vaughn at his grandiose, epic best.

What set this apart from a regular show was the addition of the songs that have inspired Danny Vaughn over the years, and this was a real treat hearing him deliver a stellar selection of classic songs done his own way.

There were some more obvious selections including an impressive romp through Led Zeppelin’s “Gallows Pole” and a harmony drenched “Magical Mystery Tour” by The Beatles, while the haunting rendition of The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” had the Newcastle crowd singing along.

Danny VaughnIt was perhaps the least expected numbers where Vaughn really hit home, with arguably the most inspired choice reflecting his first ever gig at Madison Square Gardens in 1974. An absolute Funk monster of a take on Stevie Wonder’s “You Haven’t Done Nothing” was sensational, showing what natural bedfellows Funk and Rock really are. The floor of The Cluny literally bounced to the deep groove of Child’s and Aston’s rhythm section as Vaughn showed what a truly versatile vocalist he is. Vaughn’s very own “Stone Monkey” kept the hard groove going and it would certainly be interesting to hear more like this from him in the future. Maybe a collaboration with Stevie Salas would be worth considering??

Another great surprise was Vaughn tooting on his harmonica as the prelude to a rambunctious romp through the mighty Blackfoot’s “Train Train”, a band Vaughn grew up listening to and seeing live at one of the legendary Jam Festivals of the late ’70s. Hearing that great tune certainly makes one crave for a return of Florida’s finest to the live arena.

One of Vaughn’s big vocal inspirations sadly passed away this year, and with his death Metal lost one of its great talents. Tackling a song by the great Ronnie James Dio is always a gamble for a singer, but Vaughn certainly did justice to “Don’t Talk To Strangers”, and one thing’s for sure: Dio would certainly have approved of this tribute.

Danny VaughnOther inspirations during the night included Grand Funk Railroad’s “Footstompin’ Music”, which was a highly appropriate opener for the evening; Mr Big’s “Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy” complete with a drill for the solo, and set closer “The Rocker” by Thin Lizzy.

Danny Vaughn really is one of the finest vocalists of his generation and truly deserves wider recognition. His choice of covers highlighted the range, dynamics, and sheer versatility of his voice, and his energetic performance and playful banter with the crowd made a highly enjoyable evening and showed that there is true talent out there. Those in the sold out crowd had a real pre-Christmas musical feast with the only downside being that it was not recorded for a live album like his previous Cluny show in 2008.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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