FM and Dare were back in the UK for a couple more co-headliner shows following an eventful trip to Spain where FM had their equipment and merchandise stolen and in the FM set vocalist Steve Overland made it clear how happy the band were to be back home.
It was a good turn out as Reading doesn’t normally get many rock bands at the Sub 89, bar a seemingly endless stream of badly punned tribute bands going by the posters adorned on the wall.
I last saw Dare live back in the late 80’s in Birmingham, so was very keen to see them again. Darren Wharton and guitarist Vinny Burns still remain from those days, along with bassist Nigel Clutterbuck, who has been in the band since 1992, drummer Kevin Whitehead and Marc Roberts on keyboards.
Darren Wharton did say early on he was suffering from a chest infection, although he put on an impressive performance with Vinny Burns, Nigel Clutterbuck and Kevin Whitehead helping out on the backing vocals.
The start of the set featured songs of their most recent studio album ‘Sacred Ground’, including a brilliant run through ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’. However, their set really hit its stride once the songs from their first two albums were played, including the heavy duo of ‘Wings Of Fire’ and ‘We Don’t Need A Reason’.
To hear ‘Abandon’ performed live made this aging AOR fan very happy, which along with ‘King Of Spades’, were the set highlights. Dare played a blinder, despite health issues and Darren Wharton still has the vocal power and melodious tone that makes Dare one of the finest AOR bands around.
FM took to the stage with smoke bombs and the rocking ‘Black Magic’ to start their set off with a bang. Their set may lean heavily on their first two albums ‘Indiscreet’ and ‘Tough It Out’, however they add a good spread of songs of their albums since reuniting in 2007. In fact newer songs like ‘Life Is A Highway’ and ‘Killed By Love’ sit well with the classics like ‘Face To Face’ (which get a mighty roar from the crowd) and ‘That Girl’.
Steve Overland’s voice is still in fine fettle, soulful for the slower numbers like ‘Closer To Heaven’ and then upping the power on ‘Bad Luck’.
The encore saw Steve Overland take the limelight for his singing on ‘Someday (You’ll Come Running)’, backed by Jem Davis on keys, before the rest of the band returned to stage. Before the final song of the night – a rousing run through ‘Other Side Of Midnight’ – drummer Pete Jupp was presented with a birthday cake by his family to mark his sixtieth. A nice touch.
A real fans’ setlist with plenty of dips into their 80′s era and a good smattering of songs from the current line-up since 2007. As a band they are tighter than the proverbial gnat’s chuff and like Dare, the backing vocals of guitarist Jim Kirkpatrick, bassist Merv Goldsworthy and the aforementioned Jem Davis, add greatly to the band’s live sound. Proper live singing, no backing tracks.
Two of the UK’s finest ever AOR bands in one night, what more could you ask for? A return soon to Reading that’s what!
Review by Jason Ritchie, photos by Andy Nathan (except where stated)
Setlist; Black Magic/ Bad Luck/ That Girl/ Life Is A Highway/ Let Love Be The Leader/ Closer to Heaven/ Dangerous/
Face to Face/ The Dream That Died/ Metropolis/ Over You/ Does It Feel Like Love/ I Belong To The Night/ Tough It Out/ Killed by Love/ Story of My Life Encores: Someday (You’ll Come Running)/ Other Side of Midnight
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