DAN REED & DANNY VAUGHN: Snake Oil And Harmony (Live)

At The Cluny, Newcastle, U.K., February 22, 2018

DAN REED & DANNY VAUGHN (Live at The Cluny, Newcastle, U.K., February 22, 2018)
Photo: Mick Burgess

This was only ever meant to be a one off; a series of dates featuring songs by Dan Reed and Danny Vaughn performed acoustically. The only issue for this one-off tour was that it just became too popular. The whole tour sold out and demand was high for another. The second tour exceeded the first and so now this one-off collaboration between Dan Reed and Danny Vaughn returns for a third run of shows with their biggest tour yet.

Reed and Vaughn made their names in the late 80s and early 90s with Reed fronting Funk Rockers Dan Reed Network and Vaughn at the helm of melodic Hard Rockers, Tyketto. Whereas the music scene changed dramatically with the onslaught of Grunge, the song writing talents of both singers remained undiminished.

Although they had never played together back in the day, they had crossed paths on many occasions and knew each other in passing. A chance encounter years later planted the initial seed and from this grew the Snake Oil and Harmony concept which centred on presenting acoustic versions of their songs along with some choice covers combined with some stories and banter along the way.

Reed opened the show with Smile while Vaughn responded with Is That All There Is from his solo album Soldiers and Sailors on Riverside with each singer providing harmonies to the other.

The onstage camaraderie was evident at a very early stage with plenty of jokes and banter flying between Reed and Vaughn and with the crowd too. A stunning Elvis cover, I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You hit the sweet spot and ended in one of many embraces between Reed and Vaughn throughout the night.

It’s easy to see why these shows are so popular. With no preconceived setlist, the song choices change night after night. Not only are the songs picked by Reed and Vaughn themselves depending on the flow and mood of the moment but shout outs from the crowd are more often than not rewarded with a song meaning that a birthday boy’s request for Champion was duly obliged.

There’s a real sense of spontaneity and intimacy, almost like a gathering of close friends brought together by the love of music. There’s no airs and graces from Reed or Vaughan and no division between performers and audience. During A Piece of Home, Reed forgot the words to the second verse. Rather than panic, he turned it into part of the show and made scratch lyrics up on the spot throwing in the rather untypical “witches from the forest” phrase much to Vaughn’s mirth and didn’t he enjoy reminding Reed of that phrase throughout the night.

Dan Reed Network’s Rainbow Child and Tyketto’s Wings of course sounded incredible. A great song remains a great song even when stripped down to their core components.

Vaughn threw in the unreleased Deep Water, a dark song about murder that Nick Cave would surely have been proud to pen, with a story so intense and captivating it keep the crowd were kept on their toes to the very end as Reed countered with an uplifting Avalanche.

The newly written, Where The Water Goes, bodes well for the forthcoming album, something that has been requested since the very first tour and now looks like coming to fruition.

Reed’s Mix It Up brought some Funky rhythms and Hip-Hop vibes to an acoustic show while Promised Land saw both Reed and Vaughn together on a moving song about the common bonds that tie mankind together.

As Vaughn’s Lay Your Body Down complete with some smoking harmonica and Reeds Get To You, brought the show to an emphatic close, their embrace was testament to another thrilling show in the Snake Oil and Harmony journey.

Review and Photographs By Mick Burgess


  • 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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