Review by Paul Quinton
Less than a year after their joint tour with The Dan Reed Network, when they played a set devoted to the 25th Anniversary of their magnificent debut album, Don’t Come Easy, Tyketto return to the UK in support of their latest studio set, the rather excellent Reach. The tour was originally arranged for last autumn, but had to be cancelled due to family illness, although the cancellation didn’t seem to have any effect on the attendance, as the venue was pretty busy when the show started and rapidly become positively packed as the evening went on.
Support on the night came from Romeo’s Daughter, who got a big cheer when they entered the stage, even with the house lights still on as they made their entrance. In their 40-minute set, they included songs from across their career, starting with ‘Heaven In The Back Seat’, from their debut, all the way to a couple from ‘Spin’, the most recent, although I have to say the newer songs didn’t sound quite as good in this setting. That’s not to say they’re bad songs, just that the older and often faster songs do seem to work better live. Overall the sound was pretty good, loud and clear, and singer Leigh Matty was in her usual fine voice, bringing a warm, almost sensual touch to ‘Cry Myself To Sleep’, while still bringing the rock with ‘Attracted To The Animal’ and set closer ‘Wild Child’, which always sounds superb live. Not the best I’ve seen them, but still a classy live band.
Advance reports from TYKETTO’s earlier dates had been positive to say the least, and it didn’t take long for the band to show that, if anything, these reports had underestimated the situation. After an intro tape that included samples from various radio and TV slots the band had done over the years, the individual members made their entrances and went straight into ‘Kick Like a Mule’ from the new album, and if ever a song was correctly named, this song is it. The song positively burst out of the PA, swept the crowd up with it, and created a high that lasted for the entire 100 or so minutes the band were on stage. They’ve always given off a sense of sheer joy in playing, regardless of the size of the venue, and this has created a firm and lasting bond with UK audiences, which gives an extra element to each of their shows on these shores, and there’s no doubt the band feed off this. Chris Green has been an inspired replacement for Brooke St James, able to do justice to the originals while putting his own stamp on the guitar parts, and he’s equally at home soloing or cranking out the riffs, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Chris Childs this animated on stage, even coming to the front to engage with the crowd and take a solo at the end of ‘Lay Your Body Down’.
Meanwhile Ged Rylands’ keyboards help to fill out the sound, and quite by the way, he’s an excellent backing vocalist. At the back, I thought Scott Rockenfield of Queensryche hit the drums harder than anyone I’d ever seen, but Michael Clayton Arbeeny took this to a whole new level, and my compliments go to the manufacturers of his kit, as how it’s not reduced to splinters by the end of a show is a mystery. As for Danny Vaughn, he obviously has a portrait of himself in his attic that does his aging for him. The man still has all the energy of a teenager, his voice, if anything, has become even better over the years, and he has to be one of, if not the best frontman around at the moment, again enhanced by his own love for playing in front of these crowds.
After having concentrated on a single album on the last tour, the band had promised to mix it up this time around, planning to play four tracks from each of the albums recorded with Danny Vaughn, although the last but one album, ‘Dig In Deep’ had its allocation cut to three, replaced by ‘Let it Go’ (no, not that one) from ‘Shine’, recorded when Steve Augeri, later of Journey, replaced Vaughn in the mid-1990s. Oddly, tonight ‘Let it Go’ did have a hint of Journey about it. This did mean the omission of favourites like ‘Seasons’ and ‘Strength In Numbers’, but did give the band a chance to show off the growing depth of their back catalogue. Of the new songs, each of them worked well live, even the title track, which as Vaughn said, has raised some doubts at their record company, but as he pointed out, judging by the number of people who were singing along with it, those doubts were being wiped away by the live version.
As ever, Tyketto delivered a quality show with excellent music, one of the very best singers around, and a tremendous response from the crowd and overall atmosphere, The only possible criticism I have of the show, apart from the fact that it could easily have been stretched out to a Springsteen like 3 hours plus, with no complaints from anyone there, would be that occasionally both Green’s guitar and Ryland’s keys were a little too low in the mix, but that’s live music for you. What we need now is a live album from this band, a permanent record of just how good they are. It’s only January, but this is already a serious contender for Gig of the Year.
Tyketto’s Reach Tour of the UK concludes at the Robin, Bilston, on Monday 30th January
- Kick Like A Mule
- Rescue Me
- I Need It Now
- Burning Down Inside
- Meet Me In The Night
- Dig In Deep
- Standing Alone
- Catch My Fall
- Let It Go
- Big Money
- Lay Your Body Down
- Love To Love
- Forever Young