At The Cluny, Newcastle, U.K., May 8, 2016

DAN REED & DANNY VAUGHN (Live at The Cluny, Newcastle, U.K., May 8, 2016)
Photo: Mick Burgess

Last year’s Snake Oil and Harmony tour by two of music’s most enduring troubadours was such a rip roaring success it begged two questions. Why on earth had Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn and Dan Reed from Funk Rock pioneers Dan Reed Network not done this before and secondly, when would they do it again?

The first question cannot be explained. Such a compatible and complimentary pairing should have happened years ago but thankfully it happened, eventually, and now it was time for second helpings.

Both Reed and Vaughn are no strangers to Newcastle with Vaughn’s regular trips to The Cluny always a guaranteed to sell out while Reed’s intimate show at Bede’s World is still spoken about in hushed tones. By themselves they are unmissable, together a tour de force of music and personality.

Reed and Vaughn made quite a double act sparking off each other as they told witty stories between the songs and engaging in playful banter with the crowd. Imagine an intimate evening with a bunch of friends and this was exactly that, except there were a few hundred friends crammed into The Cluny. That ability to make everyone feel a part of the show as if they were performing exclusively for each and every person in the room is a real rarity these days but Reed and Vaughn pulled it off with ease.

The sign of a quality song is when it stands on its own when stripped of all of the electric refinery that a studio can bring leaving the skeleton of a melody, a voice and a guitar. Dipping into their respective back catalogues Reed and Vaughn stripped down the likes of “Burning Down Inside” and “Get To You” to their component parts without losing the essence of the song. Reed’s radically reworked “Mix It Up” was inspired and Vaughn’s “Standing Alone,” as always a show stopper, with his impassioned delivery and soaring range wringing every ounce of emotion out of a deeply moving song. Their exquisite two part harmonies were only bettered when joined by opening act Craig MacDonald for a lively romp through Queen’s “’39” to add an extra layer over an already classy blanket of harmony.

Reed’s warm, smooth tones brought new life into Dan Reed Network’s “Rainbow Child” and if there was ever a song that Prince should have covered before his untimely and tragic passing then this was it. Such was their love of his music Vaughn and Reed opened their show with a shimmering cover of Prince’s “In April It Snows.” David Bowie was also honoured and the Star Man would undoubtedly have approved of a golden take on “Space Oddity.”

Reed wouldn’t let Vaughn leave the stage at the end of the evening until he sang something by The Eagles. After almost two and a quarter hours on stage Vaughn duly obliged with “Take It Easy” in a classy end to a classy evening.

With Reed ready to release the first Dan Reed Network album in a quarter of a century when Fight Another Day hits the shops in a couple of weeks and Vaughn due to release Tyketto’s follow up to 2012’s Dig In Deep later this year, one can only hope that there is time in their busy schedules to sit down and record a Snake Oil and Harmony album at some point in the near future as it would be a crying shame not to capture the spirit of performances like this forever.


  • 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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