There are some tours which simply should not be missed. The Big 3-0 was one of those tours. Straying a little out of the usual patch Gig Pigs caught up with this tour in Newcastle after a great run of shows in other parts of the country.
The tour was celebrating 3 great albums reaching the 30 year mark. GUN with their debut album ‘Taking on the World’, FM with ‘Tough it Out’, and Dan Reed Network with ‘Slam’. All three albums were landmark for the bands who are still touring and recording today. The tour was an even split, There were no ‘headliners’, no ‘supports’ just three great bands hitting the stage for the same length of time. The order of the bands were not set, which meant that fans of all three chose to get to the venue early to nab the best spots.
In Newcastle, GUN were first on the bill. The venue was busy when they hit the stage and they were met with huge cheers. The guys have a great rapport on stage enjoying the chance to play songs they don’t often play live. With an album shorter than the set time, they gave us all the tracks on the album, plus a few others that mean a lot to the band and their fans, including ‘Word Up’ and ‘Steal your Fire’. The band line-up now is very different to the line-up that recorded the album, with brothers Dante (vocals) and Joolz Gizzi (guitar) the only original members. With Tommy Gentry sharing guitar duties with Joolz, and Andy Carr (bass) and Paul McManus (Drums) making a great rhythm section, the band are a tight unit with a great rapport that spills into the audience. Finishing the set with ‘Shame on You’, and, finally, their familiar cover of ‘(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)’ brings the opening set to a close.
As fans of GUN moved away from the front vantage point, FM fans took their spots. Tough it out was a milestone album for FM, and the band recreated their classic rock album in their slot - starting at the beginning with the title track, and moving through most of the album with a skill that comes from over 30 years in the business.
Steve Overland has a great voice which has stood the test of time, and after 11 studio albums still delivers brilliantly. Jim Kirkpatrick is one of rocks great guitarists giving riff after riff and many fine solos. As they get to ‘Burning My Heart Down’, Jim Davis steps out from behind the keyboards and takes front stage on the Keytar - a move that is appreciated by the audience.
Bringing us right up to date, they finish off with ‘Killed By Love’ - one of the finest tracks from their most recent album, ‘Atomic Generation’ released in 2018.
A great set from one of the best bands around!
The final set of the evening is the Dan Reed Network, bringing is their album ‘Slam’ - one of the best albums of that era.
The band is visually entertaining - with Dan acting out every track, involving the audience as well as the rest of the band. As if the stage is too small, or he wants to get close to the crowd, he steps over the monitors to the very edge - getting close to the fans that are singing along with the title track.
They perform the album in its entirety, in almost the same order as the recording, and each track has the now packed O2 assisting with the vocals. Brion James (Guitar) works the left side of the stage - taking the centre for his many solos, while the distinctive thumb slap bass tones of Melvin Brannon dominates the right.
Dan Pred (Drums) and Rob Daiker (Keyboards) complete the line-up with Rob being the only current member who was not part of the band prior to their 9 year hiatus. His keyboards bringing the unique sound to DRNs funk rock sound.
All three bands were superb, performing old music in a new way. The albums stood the test of time and are as relevant in today’s music scene as they were 30 years ago. It was a great night out, and as the tour draws to a close, it will go down as one of the best triple headline tours of the year.