THE BIG 3-0 TOUR
FM / Dan Reed Network / Gun
O2 Academy – Leeds, U.K. 12/18/19
Review and Pictures: Nicky Barker
3 Bands. 3 Classic Albums. 1 Show.
For me personally the 1980’s produced some of the best rock and metal music there ever was. So when the big 3-0 tour was announced I was thrilled. Three classic rock bands, FM, Gun and Dan Reed Network playing their iconic albums from the 80’s in their entirety. This 30th anniversary tour was certainly going to be something special.
FM – Tough It Out
First on stage tonight were British melodic rockers, FM, playing their brilliant album ‘Tough It Out‘. I have loved FM since I first saw them in 1986. Their music has stood the test of time and sounds as good now as it did back then. They are genuinely nice guys and on stage you can clearly see they love what they do. As they opened their set with the title track to the album, ‘Tough It Out‘, the crowd moved forward and began singing along passionately. The room was not full but that didn’t matter as the crowd filled the room with their voices.
I have seen FM lots of times and they just never falter. They always put on a high class, well polished show and tonight was no exception as they stormed through the iconic album. Half way through the show Steve Overlund told us he had a surprise for us and brought out on stage former member of the band Didge Digital. Didge played the keyboard and keytar for FM from the early eighties until his departure in 1991. Tonight, he pounded the keys on his keytar during ‘Burning My Heart Down‘.
The rest of the set went by in a flash. I suppose time does fly when you’re having fun. The final two songs of the their set were old and new. ‘That Girl‘ from the band’s first album and ‘Killed by Love‘ from their last. Before they left the stage, Steve mentioned the band were currently working on a new album for release in 2020. Hopefully this will mean a return to the stage for FM. The support is definitely still there for this brilliant band. I know for sure I will be there.
Dan Reed Network – Slam
Next up were Dan Reed Network. Dan began the set a cappella under a single spotlight singing ‘All My Lovin‘ before the rest of the set exploded with ‘Make It Easy‘. Dan with his shaven head as opposed to the long curly locks he used to don 30 years ago bouncing all over the stage. As with the FM set, the DRN songs are timeless and Dan vocally, still sounds the business. He effortlessly had the attention of the crowd who were absolutely loving the set.
As it was almost Christmas, guitarist Brion James treated us to some Christmas cheer as he played ‘Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire‘. The energy on and off stage carried on through the entire set and as ‘Seven Sisters Road‘ brought the end to Dan Reeds set, the crowd clearly wanted more. They were enjoying this far too much for it to end. Hopefully Dan Reed Network will be back soon. Melvin had mentioned to his band mates before the tour that nobody would turn up. He was wrong, very wrong.
Gun – Taking On The World
Last but not least were Scottish rockers Gun. Throughout the tour the three bands have changed the show line up. Tonight, it was Gun who were to close out the evening. Ripping straight into ‘Better Days‘ The crowd clapping and cheering. I had heard mixed reviews of Gun’s recent performances so was not sure what to expect. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed their set. Even though the band has gone through several member changes they put on a solid performance and really did the classic album justice.
The crowd sang every word of ‘Taking on The World‘ and the Cameo cover, ‘Word Up‘ which is always a crowd pleaser. The evening and the big 3-0 party was brought to a close with the perfect choice of song, Beastie Boys’ cover ‘(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party)‘.
This was a brilliant night brought to us by impeccable musicians whose classic albums have stood the test of time and sound as good now, if not better as they were three decades ago. The loyal fans also made the evening, singing and dancing in full appreciation of the bands. I still can not believe these albums are 30 years old. I am sure it was just yesterday I used to play them with the sound up to max on my stacking hi-fi!