Rescue Rooms, Nottingham ~ The good and kind people of Nottingham had turned out in numbers tonight, not just to support Troy Redfern but for a band that they know and love - and they weren’t to be disappointed.
When you’ve been around as long as these guys have, and you’ve got a rich back catalogue to call upon, you don’t need fillers to make up the numbers, so Dare enter stage right and hit ‘em hard from the first moment with ‘Born in the Storm’ and ‘Cradle to the Grave’. It is a very good start.
Wharton’s tells us about a time when he was “living in North Wales (still does apparently), being in the band and it all just felt good” as he introduces ‘Home’. This was all getting rather warm and friendly with a synergy between the band and audience showing through, which is just as well as Wharton starts off “Lovers and Friends” with the 2nd verse, then forgets the lot, and admits that he was “gonna feck it up”, so he stops, resets and starts again. “Who wrote the song?” says a wag in the crowd. Everyone laughs. Nobody minds.
‘Days of Summer’ tells the story of “when you see a girl and immediately fall in love” before we’re back on script with the title track of the new album ‘Road to Eden’. Wharton then tells us about a song “tucked away in my heart, a song that I love” and ‘Sea of Roses’ begins with a long keyboard led intro that literally makes you picture the mist rolling across the sea.
‘Into the Fire’ from the band’s first album ‘Out of the Silence’ from way back in ‘88, was ‘stadium rock’ at its very best and must have opened many a gig in its day. What a tune. A big tune and a big favourite, driven by keyboards and drums which are visually hidden away in some ways, behind the three animated frontmen of Wharton, Burns and Clutterbuck, but Whitehead and Roberts are very much part of it all with Whitehead providing a solid backbeat with an absolutely gorgeous green drum kit, and a myriad of cymbals including a china - oh how I miss china cymbals, very much of the 80s, but very much at home in this genre.
‘Wings of Fire’ from ‘91’s Blood From Stone is another anthem and features Burns at his very best, but then we are transported forward 30 years for ‘Fire Never Fades’ “about a father and son conversation” says Wharton, from the latest album, written in lockdown “when we were all locked down and none of us knew what was going to happen next“ and the inspiration behind “Thy Kingdom Come’ - which was meant to be the last track of the night, well, before the fake encore, but Wharton tells us “we’re on a strict curfew tonight so we’re not going to go off and come back on again, there isn’t time” (apparently there’s some Manchester rapper called Aitch - no, me neither - on at the venue next door, and we have to have staggered exits) so, being generous to a fault Wharton asks what we would like for said encore, which he probably shouldn’t have done because there’s a deluge and two dozen suggestions are hurled forward.
We settle on ‘King of Spades’, so that everybody can reminisce about Phil Lynott (doff of cap) and all the good times that were had, ‘The Raindance’ and ‘Return the Heart’, another blinding anthem to circulate the head for the journey home.
So, at ‘half nine’ on a Friday (yes, you did read that correctly – ‘half nine’ ! !) we were done and off to the bar next door which the band had spotted on their way in and to which Wharton had extended an open invitation to anyone that wished to join them, to meet, greet, reminisce and drink beer for as long as they could. Now that my friends, is a most pleasant way to spend a Friday night in Nottingham.
Written for Rock at Night Magazine