Dare have been enjoying a resurgence in recent times while re-recording the Out of The Silence album as a re-release – and although Darren Wharton had a bit of a sore throat, he tore into set opener Walk On The Water in front on an enthusiastic crowd out in Reading.

We got a number of the band’s favourites in Home, Every Time We Say Goodbye, Days Of Summer and Sea of Roses, and all received a warm reception from the crowd.  But it was not until Darren said they were going to play “a couple of songs from that heavy album” that the atmosphere really fired up a notch.

Darren’s voice on form and Vinny Burns absolutely ripping the guitar parts for both the two classic rockers off the first album with Wings of Fire and We Don’t Need A Reason really bringing the crowd to life, with the riffs and melodies reminiscent of Black Rose and Cold Sweat-era Thin Lizzy, before more nostalgia with the first single Abandon, with some great interplay between guitar and bass.

Drums were just solid throughout from Kev Whitehead, with great bass support from the returned Nigel Clutterbuck.  Some lovely keyboards in the background from Marc Roberts, providing all those underlying harmonies which are one of the keys to Dare’s sound.

There is a piercing guitar intro from Vinny Burns for Into The Fire with some good crowd chorus work and a blistering guitar solo.

The Raindance was a lively one, with the epic backing vocals giving the crowd good voice, and then a tribute from Darren to good mate Phil Lynott with King of Spades, with the Irish lilting guitar solo outro really taking off.  I Will Return included some excellent crowd participation, and the set was over.

FM have been one of my favourite bands since 1988, and even before with the Wildlife albums, so to get the chance to see them twice in one weekend on my annual visit from Australia was a real treat.

It was so good to see the guys appearing in such good spirits onstage, having had a bunch of guitars and gear stolen last week in Spain with regular banter and onstage laughs, before, after and during the songs.  The setlist featured a bunch of the greatest hits and a few specials that have not been often or recently played, and while there are a few great tracks on the more recent records, while we got a couple of crackers from Atomic Generation, the bulk of the set was from the extensive back catalogue.

Black Magic from the latest record was followed by a cracking Bad Luck, and the jaw-dropping That Girl from the very first record, demonstrating that Steve “the voice’ Overland is still on cracking form. Life Is A Highway was something of an odd choice from my book, but getting Let Love Be The Leader brought it all back on track!

Closer To Heaven remains one of the all-time greatest British AOR ballads, and then out comes Dangerous from the Wildside EP which features that typical FM rolling bass, drums and keyboard backing, and the lead and backing vocals.  Face 2 Face and The Dream That Died rolled into Metropolis and Over You, and then the wonderful Does It Feel Like Love. The band took a deep breath and cranked up the riffs for the pair of classic rock tracks from the past, with I Belong To The Night (from Indiscreet) still being a storming live track, and Tough It Out as the title track of that record allowing Jim Kirkpatrick to crank out a chunky riff.

The new album gave us Killed By Love which harks back to the early days of the band, with crisp drumming and cowbell from birthday boy Pete Jupp, and another terrific vocal demonstration from Steve and the boys, to close the set proper.

The encore began with some keyboards from Jem Davis and a solo rendition of Story of My Life that brought tears to the eyes, and if that was not enough, the band announced that they had brought the epic Someday back into the set despite Steve’s protests that it was too hard!  And what a version of that wonderful song we got, before the band cranked up the riffs and rocked into The Other Side of Midnight to leave the crowd breathless and cheering for more.

What a night – from one of the most under-rated British melodic rock bands of the past 30 years – still playing great music and loving what they do – long may it continue.

FM
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Event Date: 01-Mar-2019

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