At The Riverside, Newcastle 8th November 2018

After seemingly disappearing off the scene for a while when the Dan Reed Network went on an indefinite hiatus after their 1991 album, The Heat, Dan Reed sought solace in a Tibetan Monastery only to be coaxed back into music by a Monk asking to be taught Queen`s We Will Rock You. Such is the power of music.

Dan Reed has been more than making up for lost time.   Whether it`s his solo acoustic shows, the Snake Oil and Harmony duo with Tyketto`s Danny Vaughn or with the Dan Reed Network, Reed has been a busy man.

Since reuniting on New Year`s Eve back in 2012, the Dan Reed Network have slowly but surely been building on what they had achieved in their early days.  Hard touring, great support slots with the likes of Extreme and a first studio album in 25 years with another due for imminent release, all point to a bright future ahead.  What`s best of all is how much fun they look like they have on stage.

There`s no “us and them” at a DRN show as Reed spends as much time up against the crash barrier with the crowd as he does on stage.  Pre-conceived setlists fly out of the window as calls for Make It Easy were duly obliged and when Reed jokingly called out Melvin Brannon II for a mistake, they did the ending again and nailed it.  No wonder Booker T has enlisted Brannon for his touring band.

Some shows can be a little serious but there`s something so addictive when musicians are clearly enjoying themselves as Baby Now I was elevated into an extended Funk jam incorporating such delights as Let`s Groove by Earth Wind and Fire, Metallica`s Enter Sandman, Kiss`s I Was made For Lovin` You and Frankie`s Relax all seamlessly linked without missing a beat.

Champion from their latest Fight Another Day album saw Reed at his most reflective, with his warm, smooth emotive voice pulling at the heartstrings before Tiger In A Dress brought the tempo right back up.

With the curfew fast approaching there was still time for the Tribal Funk of Ritual and the groove and hook heavy Get To You which had the whole place dancing. A rather wonderful acapella version of Long Way To Go featuring a spirited four-part harmony was the musical equivalent to the sportsman`s warm down before Reed and his band headed out into the crowd for a beer and a chat.  If only all concerts were this much fun.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess

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