Live: Dan Reed @ Union Chapel, 05/03/10
This was my first visit to Union Chapel – what a breathtaking place for a gig! A beautifully atmospheric church setting with soft, colourful lighting, augmented by candlelight around the church. Exploring the venue we found a licensed bar and food available upstairs, and you could even get a cuppa and a bar of chocolate to take to your pew.
Opening the evening at 8pm was Ben Montague, playing in a three-piece band with keyboard player and drummer. His single ‘Haunted’ was recently record of the week on Ken Bruce’s Radio2 show. Ben has toured with Joe Bonamassa and has been working hard to raise his profile around the UK, even playing a residency at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. He put on a great performance and quickly built a rapport with the audience – definitely one to watch.
Next was a departure from the standard gig format. Dan Reed walked on stage to warm applause to introduce film maker and journalist Alan Ereira, who gave an engaging talk about his time spent with the Kogi tribe from the Sierra Nevada, Columbia, who have retained their traditional culture almost entirely unaffected by the rest of the world. Alan has been visiting the Kogi for more than 20 years, and at their request, has documented their concerns and warnings about ecological changes affecting the Earth, based on their observation of ecological changes in the Sierra Nevada.
On to the main event – tonight’s performance was being filmed for a live DVD, and there were cameras at the front and in the aisles. I ended up in a pew just behind one of the camera crew, where I could satisfy my inner geek by occasionally glancing over at the shots being filmed – though as it turned out, once the show was underway I didn’t give the cameras a second thought.
Dan’s previous tour was entirely acoustic/solo (save the London gig with appearences from Tommy Denander and Jeff Scott Soto), and his return with a full band was something that had been eagerly anticipated. The band featured Rob Daiker, Tommy Denander, Bengan Jonasson, Robert Ikiz, and Brooke Lizotte.
Playing with them has brought another dimension to the live show – the great onstage rapport gave no indication that this was only the band’s fifth show together, and everyone was clearly having a good time. This was not the full-on electric show that Dan Reed Network fans would have seen in the past, but a more gentle (yet no less effective) electric/acoustic format.
Song-wise we were treated to some beautifully thoughtful arrangements, with creative re-workings of some of the older DRN songs. The new material that had sounded so good on the previous solo acoustic tour was enhanced by the full band treatment, and the acoustics in the venue contributed to the atmosphere – I found myself with a lump in my throat on at least three occasions.
The new album, ‘Coming Up For Air’ will finally see a release in May and can be pre-ordered from Dan’s website. The band will be back in the UK in May/June. Catch them if you can.