Extreme / Dan Reed Network Brixton Academy 20-12-17
Now this was a bill to warm the cockles of your heart at this festive time of year and one that really should have happened back in the day.
Dan Reed Network have toured the UK a couple of times in the last couple of years and fantastic to see them in bigger venues and at 7.40 they hit the stage with a false start as the wireless bass link up wasn't turned on!!
After that minor blip it was all systems go and for 50 minutes we were treated to a greatest hits set with one song the quite superb Champion from the comeback cd Fight Another Day.
This is what they played.
Under My Skin
Forgot To Make Her Mine
Baby Now I
Make It Easy
Get To You
The musical interplay and on stage chemistry between the front 3 of Dan Reed on vocals Brion James on guitar and Melvin Brannon II on bass staggers me every time I see them and the smiles they all share is life affirming.And to think they didn't play together for over 20 years at one point in their careers.
Rock,funk,soul all thrown into a blender to create songs with meaning and that always gets your body moving with Brannon's bass rumbling and a superb sound meaning James's guitar solo's were all crystal clear and showing the man's class.At the back Dan Pred on drums is rock solid and Rob Daiker on keys and backing vocals has been a welcome addition to The Network.
Dan Reed is a wonderful front man and enjoys catching the eye of the audience and his smile lights up any venue.He feels every note and he never stops moving with his body moving in time to the music.His vocals were perfect and within a few minutes he glistens with sweat and the front 3 gather at the front of the stage on many occasions joyous in music and the moment as it should be.
It is difficult to pick a highlight as it all was with me word perfect (cough) but it did amaze me how very few of the people stood by me appearing to know any words although the crowd response did grow song by song and by the end they got a standing ovation.
The mid set trio of Baby Now I all muscular riff and huge chorus,Rainbow Child with it's stunning chorus and James's extended guitar solo at the end had the hairs on the back of my neck stood to attention and then Champion with it's life affirming message of being positive was hard to beat.
Ritual finally had a few near me moving with the bass bobbing and Dan's voice soaring in the chorus before a funky Get To You had the set drawn to a wonderful conclusion.
Promising to return next year if I had a band that I wanted to draw the end of the year with I would pick Dan Reed Network every time.Bottle the feelings and uncork when required to make the world a better place.
All Dan Reed Network photos credited to Eric Duvet Photography with thanks.
Extreme were back on these shores after their headlining set at Ramblin' Man Fair in the summer and with it being 25 years since the release of 3 Sides To Every Story tonight saw 6 songs played from that opus.
Playing a 2 hour set of classics and a few rarely played numbers this is what they played.
It's A Monster
L'il Jack Horny
Get The Funk Out
Rest In Peace
Play With Me
Midnight Express (snippet of Bon Jovi Wanted Dead Or Alive)
Am I Ever Going To Change
Take Us Alive
Stop The World
Flight Of The Wounded Bumblebee
He Man Woman Hater
More Than Words(snippet of Stairway To Heaven)
We Are The Champions (Queen cover)
The crowd had found a voice from the word go with the opening trio of It's A Monster,L'il Jack Horny and Get The Funk Out all ecstatically received with Gary Cherone on vocals all over the stage from the out set with his near yoga like moves impressing.
To his left Nuno Bettencourt is stunning.The man is a guitar god and to see at close hand the speed of his fingers was mesmerising with every solo greeted madly by the crowd.
The rhythm team of Pat Badger on bass and the hard hitting Kevin Figueiredo on drums are up with very best and the interplay between them was top drawer.
I enjoyed the mid set break down with jackets donned and Kevin on stand up drums with Hole Hearted sang by the crowd with real gusto and Nuno on acoustic guitar.
The energy level never dropped with Am I Ever Going To Change heavy riff and big chorus superb and the rarely played Stop The World a welcome addition.
Nuno took centre stage for his tour de force solo spot Flight Of The Wounded Bumblebee which had jaw's dropping at the speed and dexterity of the man before the near feed back riff of He Man Woman Hater kicked in and to see him holding notes was a life highlight.
Decadence Dance brought the main set to a stunning close with crowd and band in perfect union before the first encore was that song as Nuno called it with More Than Words seeing the crowd word perfect and arms waved in the air.
We Are The Champions was an interesting cover to finish with but who cared as we all sang our heads off and brought a wonderful evening to a close.
2 superb sets and they must do it again as the 2 bands mesh so well together.
A marriage made in heaven.
Extreme photos by Mark Evans.