Review by Woody, photos by Lisa Billingham
The concept behind this tour is basically to take two one man and his guitar storytelling shows, and put them onstage at the same time. Now, I’ve seen both Danny Vaughn and Dan Reed do their acoustic thing on many occasions and know this is something both artists excel at so it was a no brainer – my ass was getting down to the Slade Rooms tonight for what promised to be a unique experience.
This tour has been called the Snake Oil and Harmony tour and Vaughn informs us this title is based on the fact that the pair would help each other out on their songs and provide harmony and the Snake Oil was about a bit of showmanship or, as Vaughn puts it, “a little bit of bullshit”. I’ve seen Vaughn on many occasions, with and without Tyketto, and he always had a personable stage presence and can adapt to different atmospheres depending on the style of the show he is performing. He revels in the chance to relax, joke and have fun with his time on stage. That said the emotive and passionate vocal doesn’t disappear when he performs his songs but his stage banter with Reed allows him to showcase other aspects to his personality and performance.
The set flowed fluidly between Vaughn and Reed as they traded lead vocals, banter and stories. Whilst the evening was very relaxed, it never failed to entertain and the air was frequently filled with laughter. The set lists have changed from show to show so you never really knew what was going to come next. Vaughn even jested about him opening up requests to his fans becoming a nightmare as there was so much variation in the requests, keeping everyone happy was not as easy as he first thought, fully expecting most people to request the usual suspect songs.
They opened with the Dan Reed Network classic ‘Baby Now I’ and Reed punctuated the Network songs with those from his recently released solo album Transmission – so from Reed’s songs we got ‘Losing My Fear’, ‘Brave New World’, ‘Closer’, ‘Stronger Than Steel’ and ‘Get To You’. I was really looking forward to ‘Rainbow Child’, one of my favourite tunes of his, and he did a great job with it and made it really enjoyable. He even changed a few words making it a little bit cheeky! Actually I think one of my favourite tunes from Reed was a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘My Hometown’. Being very proud of my town and loving where I live makes songs like this really resonate with me, and I really loved Reed’s interpretation.
In a potential riot moment, Vaughn announces that Dan Reed was not only going to sing one of his songs but that song was to be ‘Standing Alone’. Now knowing how precious that song is to many, I thought regardless of how talented Reed is that may rankle a few grumbles from the Vaughn die hards and was waiting for some boos. Thankfully the crowd tonight were extremely open minded and not only enjoyed Reed taking the song on with massive backing from Vaughn, they also cheered and showed their love of Reed’s version of the song.
The Vaughn lead songs which reached from all over his varied musical back catalogue included ‘Traveller’, ‘Fearless’, Waysted’s ‘Singing To The Night’, and ‘Suddenly’ which without doubt was one of my highlights of Vaughn’s material tonight. He also played his take on John Hiatt’s ‘Through Your Hands’, and of course the uplifting and crowd pleasing classics ‘Wings’ and ‘Forever Young’ saw the Wolvo massive in loud voice on backing vocals. Danny is one of my favourite live musicians; he never fails to make you laugh and feel emotion. His passion never fails to hit you and this unique concert tonight is another highlight in my gig going history.
The encore features a tribute to Ronnie James Dio when they play ‘Holy Diver’. There is a great chemistry and harmony shown between Vaughn and Reed not just in their onstage banter and story swapping but also in how they back each other up on each song.
Apparently the ‘Network’ are working on a UK tour with five potential headline shows on the cards later in the year so I’ve got my fingers crossed really hard for a Midlands date! They also stated that they had discussed a Tyketto and Dan Reed Network joint headline tour which I think would be a really explosive combination of awesomeness if that happens next year!