A Updated

All three bands were having a blast and enjoying themselves equally as much as the fans

The Birdwell Venue, Barnsley - Sunday 14th May 2022

To say I was excited when this tour was announced would be an understatement. Three bands I absolutely love and have seen close on fifty times over the last thirty-seven years, playing just five miles up the road, it doesn’t get much better than that.
We decided to get to the venue early doors in the hope to secure one of the very few seats at The Birdwell Venue. Unfortunately, it seemed others had the same idea as the venue was virtually half full forty-five minutes before the first band took to the stage. For this tour the three bands were rotating when they came on to stage; however, this was a true co-headline tour with each set being an hour in duration.


This evening, Dare had the honour of opening and hit the stage with the four-hundred-and- fifty persons capacity venue packed to the rafters. I positioned myself a few feet from the front of the stage opposite guitarist Vinny Burns. Joining the six-string slinger were frontman Darren Wharton, bassist Nigel Clutterbuck, and keyboard player Marc Roberts. Due to pre-existing touring commitments with the legendary "John Lees' Barclay James Harvest", drummer and hairy biker lookalike, Kev Whitehead was missing from this tour; however, the band recruited the perfect replacement in Greg Morgan who played on the ‘Blood From Stone’ opus.
Dare have played quite a lot over recent years including a headline tour, so there was no ring-rustiness. The first half of the set was comprised of tracks from recent albums, including one of my favourites from last year, the superb ‘Road To Eden’, highlighting that the band are not just reliant on their classic, older material. However, that said, the audience needed little encouragement to sing along to ‘Wings Of Fire’, ‘Abandon’ and ‘Into The Fire’. By the time set closer ‘King Of Spades’ came round, dedicated by Wharton to his first music boss, the late, great Phil Lynott, the singer was really appeared to be struggling with the extreme heat on stage, and looked relieved that the set was only sixty minutes long. Despite the latter and judging by the smiles on the faces of the quintet, they had obviously really enjoyed the experience and left the stage to rapturous applause.

Setlist:- Born In The Storm / Cradle To Grave / Home / Until / Road To Eden / Silent Hills / Wings Of Fire / Abandon / Into The Fire / King Of Spades

There was no way that my wife and I were going to be able to stand in the same position for three-and-a-half hours, especially in heat being generated by the capacity crowd, so we went to the bar at the front of the Birdwell Venue for a drink and much needed sit down. Obviously, we were not able to return to near the front of the stage on our return but did manage to find a position halfway back for the next band.


Tyketto now only feature one original member, singer Danny Vaughn, who this evening was backed by long-term cohorts Ged Rylands (keyboards), Thunder bassist Chris Childs, and new for this tour, drummer Johnny Dee and guitarist Harry Scott Elliot, who slotted in perfect and carried on the tradition of Tyketto guitarists with perfect hair!
Opening with the title track of their last studio album ‘Reach’, which is incredibly now seven years old, the band did not miss a beat. Well, apart from the power cut midway through their set, which in true British tradition produced large cheers and much joviality. Far from dampening the spirits, it just seemed to heighten the already electric atmosphere. Vaughn did share that he had broken one of his own cardinal rules when out on tour and had a curry and hour and half before going on stage!
As the singer announced, audience participation is a requisite part of any Tyketto show and not because they can no longer hit the notes, or the band is getting old and tired. The South Yorkshire crowd duly responded and lifted the proverbial roof off the place, notably during ‘Burning Down Inside’, ‘Standing Alone’ and our Melodic Rock anthem ‘Forever Young’.

Setlist: Reach / Wings / Burning Down Inside / Strength In Numbers / Lay Your Body Down / Catch My Fall / Rescue Me / Standing Alone / Sail Away / Last Sunset / Forever Young

Another sit down was in order as the there was no respite from the ever-increasing heat in the main venue. This time we stood and watched from the mixing and lighting (excellent as always from Sheffield’s Lee Foster) desk at the back.


After two sets of that excellence, you could forgive FM for being a bit nervous taking to the stage. Indeed, they could have taken the very easy option and just played an hour of songs from their first two albums ‘Indiscreet’ and ‘Tough It Out’. However, this is a band the oozes quality, and they mixed old and new throughout their eleven-song set.
FM are the band I’ve seen most of the years, and I don’t think they could put on a poor performance if they tried. Steve “The Voice” Overland sounds every bit as good as he did in the eighties; in Jim Kirkpatrick they have an unsung guitar hero, whilst bassist Merv Goldsworthy and Jimmy Nesbitt (sorry, Pete Jupp) provide the perfect rhythms, and everyone was overjoyed to see Jem Davis back on stage, on keyboards, following his recent cancer scare.
At the fans’ request ‘Tattoo Needle’ from 1995’s ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ album was resurrected for this tour. The enthusiastic crowd still had enough gas in the tank to sing their hearts out to ‘I Belong To The Night’, AOR classic ‘That Girl’, ‘Bad Luck’ and ‘Tough It Out’. Such is their confidence they closed their set with ‘Turn This Car Around’, the best track from last year’s ‘Thirteen’ album.

Setlist: Synchronized / I Belong To The Night / Killed By Love / Someday / Let Love Be The Leader / Closer / Tattoo Needle / That Girl / Bad Luck / Tough It Out / Turn This Car Around


What was clearly obvious this evening, was the fact that all three bands were having a blast and enjoying themselves equally as much as the fans in attendance. Not only do they possess a myriad of classic songs between them, but there’s no egos and they’re all genuinely nice people, a fact that’s known by all their adoring fans.
This was like rolling the clock back to the halcyon days when venues were sold out on a regular basis, and Melodic Rock ruled the world. It was also a reminder of those great Firefest weekends, which helped to keep the Melodic Rock flame burning bright. I hope they decide to do this again next year.

Review by Mark Donnelly

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