Last year I was fortunate to see Dan Reed Network put on a world class show at the same venue with all monies from ticket sales and the auction going to Fat Boys Charity who give gifts to children and their families who are suffering from cancer and its devastating consequences.
Seeing the first night of the tour was back at Level 3 Swindon tickets were purchased in double quick time.
After a talk from Mike Rees from the charity who introduced us to a mum who's daughter had received a gift of a flat screen tv from the charity and she spoke with such love for all involved and left a lump in everyone's throat.
Opening act Vega I absolutely adore and after some early sound difficulties settled into their stride and produced a 50 minute set of high quality melodic rock with huge choruses and showed off their undoubted qualities to all there.
Here is what they played.
Kiss Of Life
Gonna Need Some Love Tonight
What The Hell
Fade Into Flames
Hands In The Air
Wherever We Are
Nick Workman on vocals owned the stage like it was Wembley Stadium and his vocal range and melodic tone soared to the heavens as he implored us to give more with their big choruses featuring plenty of woah woah's and audience participation a given.
One very minor complaint I have always had with Vega was the lack of live dates which over the course of 4 albums had been sporadic to say the least but with latest album Who We Are they are finally hitting the boards more regularly and you can see it in their confidence in their material and stage craft and obvious joy at playing together.
Marcus Thurston on guitar adds fiery solo after fiery solo all showing a melodic sound just a little sad on the small stage he was rather in the dark!!
From first albums Kiss Of Life to the pop rock of Gonna Need Some Love Tonight,showed what Vega are all about which is songs with huge choruses with hooks large enough to catch a Blue Whale that need to be sang to stadiums of fans,and as the last notes of Saving Grace rang out as Nick again led us though a sing along Vega had conquered another crowd.
Playing for around 95 minutes with the set list discarded and fan favourites being shouted out from the crowd this is what they played
Under My Skin
Forgot To Make Her Mine
Baby Now I
Rock You All Night Long(a little of)
Save The World
Get To You
Tiger In A Dress
Easy On You
All My Lovin" (acapella)
Again after some early sound gremlins the band settled into their rock funk groove and Dan as ever the focal point.The man's voice really does get better with age and he never stops moving and within a song or two his t shirt is soaked with sweat.
I love the fact he loves to pick out audience members with a look or nod and offers his microphone to many enthusiastic singers and he feels the music with his body permanently on the go whether it's a hand or head movement and his face paints a thousand pictures too and he ends every song with his body finishing off a drum roll or guitar riff.
His chemistry with Melvin Brannon 11 on bass,Brion James on guitar and Dan Pred on drums is telepathic and life affirming and the smiles on all of their faces shows they are getting off on it as much as the crowd does.Dan will look at Melvin who will start a bass funk groove and during Baby Now I it went off at a tangent with Kiss's I Was Made For Lovin' You and Metallica's Enter Sandman and a couple of other songs appearing from nowhere and just because they can.
First album's Rock You All Night Long was called for by the crowd and it was great to see Melvin talking Brion through it with Dan singing acappella but eventually giving up as Brion couldn't remember it.
They did later dig out the vaults with Slam as Brion wanted to play it for the first time in 25 years to the delight of the crowd.
Superb new album Fight Another Day was well represented with last single and video Champion going down wonderfully back to back with Ritual with both song's uplifting lyrics sang with equal gusto.
Tiger In A Dress ended another monumental set from a band at the peak of it's power before a 3 song encore after the curfew which ended with All My Lovin' sang acappella by Dan for a couple who had it as their first dance song at their wedding 20 years ago.
Dan Reed is a man of the people and adored by us all and his superb band are appearing all over the country for the next 2 weeks so get yourself along to one or you will regret it.
London for me next week so I can savour it all over again.