The Dan Reed Network release their new studio album ‘Origins’ on the 23 November and have just set off on a UK tour that takes them on a 13 date trip the length and breadth of the country.

The last time the Dan Reed Network played the Newcastle Riverside, it was at the original Riverside venue almost 30 years ago in January 1990 and there was only one place I wanted to be for that gig …and that was front row.

Tonight, the Riverside venue is located in a building that used to be the old Quayside Fish Market, a stones-throw away from Newcastle’s iconic bridge, a venue perfect for both local and big bands.

On tour with the Network are two new upcoming bands and it’s not hard to see why Dan wanted them to open for the Network, unfortunately I missed the opening band Hollowstar but caught the full Mason Hill show and what a band, and if Hollowstar were anything like Mason Hill, these were bands that you’ll certainly be hearing more of.

As the lights dimmed down, the Dan Reed Network hit the stage to an enthusiastic crowd and opened the show with ‘Rock You All Night Long’ from their first LP and with a back catalogue reaching back over three decades, the audience were in for some classic Network tracks they all knew and loved.

You could see the smiles and delight in the band, but especially in Dan and there was a very special reason the start of this tour meant so much to Dan… as it was 7 Nov 2008 that Dan returned to the music scene after a long break away, returning and supported by a huge network of fans, started to rebuild on the Dan Reed legacy of such a superb singer songwriter and performer, delivering top class musicianship and an originality that sealed the Network as one of the top funk rock acts of the 80’s and 90’s and some 30 years later, there is no sign of them stopping.

And this evening, the band’s beaming smiles shone out along with Dan’s and they went on to deliver one of the most punchy, uplifting performances, packed with an energy and vitality that they’ve never lost; in fact, if anything – while maturing, their bond-ship has grown into an even more professionally explosive funk rock show that was not just very slick but musically tight – and it showed.

For me, the set list was just bang on; belting out classics like ‘Forgot To Make Her Mine’, ‘Under My Skin’ and ‘Doing the Love Thing’.

From The Heat LP/CD came ‘Baby now I’, that allows the band to have some fun as they slip in and out of mixing the track up with seamless choruses of Metallica’s, ‘Enter Sandman’, Kiss’, ‘I was Made For Loving You’, Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Relax and even Earth, Wind and Fire’s ‘Let’s Groove’ – slipping in a funky bass solo, the band bring it all back for a rousing ending.

‘Champion’ is one of my favourite tracks from ‘Fight Another Day’ and as SLAM comes up to its 30th Anniversary, the band deliver the all crowd favourite, ‘Rainbow Child’, with the contagious sing along, ‘Tiger In A Dress’ followed by the emotionally charged and powerful, ‘Stronger Than Steel’, …Dan informing us that this track was performed at a number of weddings, jokingly adding, “It was sung at one couples wedding, then at another couples wedding – then both couple’s split up, and got married to each other to the song again”, much to the rye smile of Dan and the laughs of the fans.

‘Make It Easy’ was a surprise request and the band showed their eagerness to give the fans what they wanted by instantly agreeing to slip this one into the nights set list. A couple of times, both Melvin and Dan Pred both found themselves openly admitting to themselves that they loved these songs, and I mean – really loved them with Melvin shouting across the stage to Dan, “God I love this man, I love this song, God bless this Muther … for writing this song!”

With a strict curfew, Dan asks the crowd for any requests, and with ‘Ritual’ being the chosen track, Dan again, jumps into the pit and hangs right over and into the crowd, my very good friend Craig, grabbing the outstretched mike to sing a few lines with his idol.

Musically, the band were on top form and the tightest I recall seeing them live; vocally, Dan delivered some piercingly high screams and after all these years, I can honestly say, his voice is as powerful and as stronger than ever and tonight the Dan Reed Network gave their all in a power packed show amidst a dazzling light show to a rowdy and a very happy Newcastle crowd.

To end the evening, the band put down their instruments and gathered at the front of the stage to sing a five part harmony rendition of ‘Long Way To Go’ with Melvin and Brion joining Dan on lead vocals, a track that unified both band and audience.

With Newcastle being only the second date of the Tour, the fans around the country are in for an awesome night of triple classic funk rock, mixed with new upcoming classic rock and with something special to mark the 30th Anniversary of SLAM, the fans are promised a return to Newcastle, as one of only a very few selected gigs to celebrate the recording and release of SLAM.

Check out the awesome Dan Reed Network on Tour this November and for any North East fans, Dan’s returns for a very special ‘one off’ intimate Solo show at Trimmers Live Lounge in South Shields, Friday 30 November 2018

Review & Photography 

Paul Dix 

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