Get Ready to ROCK!’s David Randall chatted to Dan Reed in April 2009 at the start of an acoustic tour and took the opportunity to explore the “golden era” of the late-1980s/early 1990s when the Dan Reed Network experienced their major period of success. (11:45)
The return of DRN – after a tentative reunion in their home town of Portland, Oregon, on New Year’s Eve 2012 – is one of the more interesting “comeback” stories in recent years. When we spoke to Dan Reed back in 2009 at the start of one of his early UK “acoustic” tours he indicated that a reunion would have to be relevant and not just a rehash. After a surprise appearance at the Enchanted Festival in the UK in 2013, the band played Download in 2014 and now plans are underway for a new album to be released in spring 2016.
Dan Reed has spent the past few years in the UK plying a more low-key acoustic show and – as he reminded us tonight – sometimes playing house gigs to adoring fans, stripping the DRN songs down to their core and demonstrating a full-tilt band is not always essential. But the truth is – as his 2013 semi-acoustic tour demonstrated – you can’t beat hearing the songs as they were originally intended.
This short tour is a far cry from an age in which Dan Reed was described as the new Prince and played stadium-filling tours with the likes of Bon Jovi. The Tivoli – a somewhat run-down former cinema in a quiet North Wales backwater - is at once humbling and fitting, for “The Tiv” played host to many a hair metaller in the 1990s. It’s faded rafters reverberated tonight to classic DRN with a mix of songs from their eponymous 1988 album and its successor ‘Slam’ co-produced with Nile Rodgers.
Only the addition of ‘I’m So Sorry’ and ‘Tamin’ The Wild Nights’ would have made a more satisfying selection from that 1988 debut and therefore attesting that it might even edge the follow up which was the band’s biggest album success in the UK. And we finally got to hear a very faithful version of ‘Tiger In A Dress’ one of the band’s standout tracks from ‘Slam’.
But it was a triple salvo of songs that really demonstrated the band’s relevance and their sheer infectiousness. ‘Ritual’ was punctuated by diminutive guitarist Brion James’ distinctive power chords and funky fills whilst the hypnotic ‘Get To You’ and a particularly muscular ‘Cruise Together’ underlined the supremely tight musicianship underpinned by Melvin Brannon II on bass and Dan Pred on drums. Dan Reed’s long-time collaborator Rob Daiker completed the line-up on keys.
Perhaps understandably ‘The Heat’ wasn’t really touched, it’s certainly the weakest of the band’s output and soon after 1991 they imploded, Dan Reed ultimately finding sanctuary outside of rock excess in a Tibetan monastery to re-emerge in the early Millennium with acoustic guitar in hand and a new set of values.
It’s heartening when a band reforms after 25 years and arguably sounds better than they ever did. Dan Reed Network demonstrated their durability tonight and the promise of fresh material and future touring to come should satiate the faithful and do much to further the band’s welcome revival.
Review and photos by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
Gig review (Dan Reed, 2013 and video interview)
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MILES NIELSEN AND THE RUSTED HEARTS Hands Up (indie)
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THE DARK ELEMENT If I Had A Heart (Frontiers)
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DIRTY SHIRLEY Here Comes The King (Frontiers)
CARRY THE CROWN Runaway (indie)
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09:00-12:00 WORK OF ART Exhibits (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SIGN X Like A Fire (Pride & Joy Music)
14:00-16:00 JACK BROADBENT Moonshine Blue (Creature Records)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)
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