Gig Review: Extreme/Dan Reed Network (O2 Academy Glasgow, 14/12/17)

By Keith Reid, pics by Billy Doyle

It may have been slippery (not when wet though!) conditions outside the O2 Academy in Glasgow this Thursday evening but for the crowd that formed a sizeable queue outside the venue the music inside would warm their hearts and hands.

Dan Reed Network

Dan Reed Network were first to take the stage on this co-headlining tour with compatriots Extreme, a tour that your reviewer was informed about whilst I was driving the lead singer to the airport following his solo show at Dreadnought Rock Bathgate. Dan told me that The Network would be returning to the UK later that year, (after their successful UK tour in March, which included a stop at Oran Mor supported by VEGA).

What I didn’t know at that time was who the other band on this co-headlining tour would be – I did askJ (trust me) but due to reasons of confidentially Dan couldn’t tell me. Upon this tour being announced I thought that this would be a good fit for the bands concerned with Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme Guitarist) having featuring on one of DRN’s finest songs, namely Long Way To Go.

The opening strains of Resurrect were audible as your reviewer made his way towards to the stage, though there was no reappearance of the kilts worn by the band on their previous trip to the city.

As those who follow Dan on various social media platforms will know, he is passionate about the subjects which matter to him and this was evident throughout tonight’s performance, which was also full of energy, vigor and fine musicianship from Rob Daiker (Keyboards), Brion James (Guitar), Melvin Brannon Jr (Bass) and Dan Pred (Drums).

The truncated set, which was apparently cut short by two songs, mostly consisted of tracks  from their self-titled release & Slam but also Champion from their excellent latest release Fight Another Day – the song which was dedicated to those who persevere with their dream and against those who suck your soul. Persevere is the motto of my home town and a great motto to adopt. Also included in the set was the outstanding Rainbow Child, which Dan wrote about his experience at a Grateful Dead concert.

Dan also apologises to those in the crowd who missed part of the set due to problems with the venue’s doors – those who did missed a wonderful performance from an energised band, fully deserving of their co-headlining status with some in the crowd (taking nothing away from Extreme) wishing for a role reversal. It’s always a pleasure to see Dan perform whether it be with The Network, Solo, Trio or with Danny Vaughn (on Snake Oil & Harmony Tours- which I would urge you to go and see if you can).

All too soon the band were gone via Get to You, which surely can’t have failed to get to the musical hearts of this Glasgow crowd.

Dan Reed Network Setlist 14/12/17
Resurrect
Under My Skin
Forgot to Make Her Mine
Baby Now I
Rainbow Child
Champion
Ritual
Get to You

Extreme

Extreme fans had endured a 3 year wait to see the return to Glasgow and the excitement was palpable as the band took the stage to One Vision by Queen – a band with whom lead singer Gary Cherone shares a connection having performed with the remaining memeberswhen he performed Hammer To Fall onstage with the three surviving members of Queen at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in the 90s. Cherone struck a pose at the rear of the stage before the band launched into It‘s A Monster from Extreme II: Pornograffitti the album which projected Extreme into the rock stratosphere. It was from this release and from the album that is considered by many to be their finest work, III Sides To Every Story, that the majority of the songs in tonight’s set are taken.

The Bostonians are clearly as pleased to see this Glasgow audience as the audience are to see them, though they waste little time chatting between songs. Fleet-fingered guitarist Nuno Bettencort later explains this simply allows them to cram more songs into their set.

Bettencort is aided by a fine rhythm section in bass player Pat Badger & drummer/percussionist Kevin Figueiredo.

Lead singer Cherone’s energy and stage presence brings to mind a hybrid of Freddie Mercury & Mick Jagger, but he also brings his own dynamic to the band.

Get The Funk Out, the studio version of which featured Pat Travers, starred early in the bands set – the song whose funky grooves brought them to the attention of the rock fraternity, even whilst the single did not chart (in the UK). Also featuring in a two hour set were Kid Ego – a song that they “hadn’t played in 30 years” which Chereno notes is remarkable as he’s “only 28!

The band clearly love playing the city with Cherone referring to the crowd as “Glasgownians”

Given the virtuosity of the group, the set featured a solo slot from Figueiredo, with Bettencort later joining in on toms at the side of the stage, before restarting proceedings with his signature Washburn N4 guitar. Bettencort’s own solo spot was then particularly memorable, launching afterwards into Decadence Dance, which brought proceedings to an end.

The band return to the stage for the song with which they are most associated and which took them to the top of the Billboard Charts and to No2 in the UK Charts. – More Than Words.

The band tell the crowd the song has “always been a duet between you and us” and the Glasgow audience join in with gusto.

The band finish their evening appropriately with Queen’s We Are The Champions and later posted on their official website, “Glasgow we had high expectations for you last night and you did not disappoint! A memorable show indeed. Scotland always represents!”

The band also showed their class by coming to the barrier to shake hands with the fans. To shake a hand which was reportedly insured for $1m (Nuno Bettencort) was a pleasure indeed!

Extreme Set List 14/12/17
It’s a Monster
Li’l Jack Horny
Get the Funk Out
Rest in Peace
Hip Today
Kid Ego
Play with Me (Incl. Drum Solo)
Tragic Comic (Acoustic)
Hole Hearted (Acoustic)
Midnight Express (Nuno -Acoustic Solo)
Cupid’s Dead (with ‘Cupid’ by Sam Cooke covered as intro)
Am I Ever Gonna Change
Take Us Alive
Stop the World
Flight of the Wounded Bumblebee
He-Man Woman Hater
Decadence Dance
Encore:
More Than Words
Peacemaker Die
We Are the Champions (Queen cover)

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