According to Paul Anthony from the Planet Rock breakfast show, who introduced the DAN REED NETWORK for their one-night-only London show at the 100 Club, “It’s been twenty-five years since these guys recorded together…” So the effective thumping tribal anthem “Resurrect” was a fitting place to start the show.
I had always thought that this song was about jump-starting a flat him/her relationship. But in light of recent events, such as Pulse Club Orlando tragedy [and others, too] I realized that it is actually an appeal to humanity before we get sucked into a cycle of relentless hatred. It’s almost as if Dan is telling the politicians (all of them) “It’s too late for promises… We wanna resurrect our love.”
Immediately after the first song, Dan tells us, by way of introduction “I’m sorry for Trump”.
Later, he says, “Do not put your hands together for Donald Trump, but DO put your hands together for the love and the music that PRINCE gave us all those years.” The crowd enthusiastically accepted this truth.
The first new number from the band that were once described as “Bon Jovi with Prince as lead singer” was “Infected.”
“This whole world’s infected…” Sang Dan. This groover was played funkier than some of the others, with superior harmonies and incredibly chewy bass notes from the amazing Mr. Melvin Brannon II.
[He had already enterained us with some Get Funky dance moves “Pay attention… It’s magic, almost!” Dan had told us.]
The growly “Tiger in a Dress” with brilliant guitar work from Brion James is a simple song about ‘that’ kind of woman with an addictive sing-along chorus that the London audience enjoyed shouting back.
The developing and introspective “Champion” from the “Fight Another Day” album was dark, moody and surreptitiously pleasant.
“Rainbow Child” has one of the greatest of all intros. With those amber-cream guitar licks firing things up. Back in 1989, when this was the bear-sized band’s big opus, Dan possessed Bongiovi locks and showed off his wasp navel waist as he danced.
You know what? He may have lost his hair and gained some puppy fat around his cheeks … But Dan’s wonderful smile still lights up a room.
And in London he is as acrobatic and agile as a Lindy Hop contortionist attending a trampolinist’s bounce fest. All that yoga and introspection, over the intervening years, must have done him some good…
By the time we got to the rocking “Say Hello to the Rainbow Child” chorus we bounced and danced together as one with the band — well, as best we could, anyway us old ‘uns. And we sang our hearts out.
That sense of party-fun never left the stage. “Get To You” had that body-popping attitude we adored back in the day. More electronic and yet, somehow and mystifyingly, more ESG. At 100 Club this was filled with polyrhythms and textures, and anointed, of course, with that smooth / fierce voice of Dan’s that is like a fueled & intoxicating mix of James Brown and Edwin Starr.
The London show was a celebration of boogie pilgrim anti-hate/pro love pop rock, with soul disco flavours and funkalicious vocals that boogie-bumped us into a world of love.
Now is the time to break free from the destructive chains of hatred… Before it’s too late.