I had been looking forward to seeing Snake Oil & Harmony with Dan Reed and Danny Vaughn after catching a show last year. The combination of two awesome voices and some stripped back versions of some of their own hits makes for both an informative and a highly enjoyable evening.
This was an all seated event, so it had the feel of sitting around having a chat and a sing song with close friends, very up close and personnel, which in a room as big as the hall at the Robin2 was quite an achievement.
Throw in tales of the road, quantities of quality banter between the two of them, some Inspector Clouseau quips (Danny V does a really great impression!) and some highly amusing anecdotes and the fun element kicks in too. These two are obviously friends and thus on the same wave length.
But around the fun are the more serious stories of the inspirations behind songs, the historical events and life events behind the lyrics. Both Dan and Danny are phenomenal vocalists – Danny has a power which shakes the foundations of the rooms they perform in and this evening is no exception. Dan has the ability to give you goose bumps when he sings, losing himself in the lyrics and melody pulling you into the song, enthralling you in his songs.
Taking it in turns to sing their own songs and often surprising each other, Dan Reed treated us to some lovely versions of his songs including ‘Smile’ and ‘Rainbow Child’, which had the crowd singing along, Danny harmonising and adding so much to the songs. ‘Only Love’ was a personal highlight of the many songs he had chosen, a very lovely version.
As always with my reviews when a tour has so many dates yet to go, I won’t reveal the whole set list, although with the improvisation needed when asking the audience what they want to hear, each show is unique. The guys tune into the vibes from the audience and tailor the set to those there, throwing in surprises along the way and not just for the assembled fans but also surprising each other. Dan Reed beginning to sing Elvis’s ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ and the smile appearing on Danny’s face as he began to harmonise was one of delight and respect.
A guest spot from Lucy MacDonald accompanying Dan Reed on viola when he sang Springsteen’s ‘Independence Day’ was a lovely touch and VEGA’s Nick Workman joined the Dan’s on stage for an enjoyable rendition of Tom Petty’s ‘Free Falling’.
Danny Vaughn singing Queens ‘Love of My Life’ following the story of how he came to sing some of Freddie’s songs last summer in Spain was rather special as was the new song they have penned together ‘Where the Water Goes’. A brief insight of what is promised from the two when they do write together and I for one can’t wait to hear much more.
Dedications to fans in the room again added to the up-close feel. Songs from Danny included ‘Reach’, written for his wife, ‘Wings’ and ‘Letting Go’, a real mix of songs from his career all harmonised and added to by Dan Reed. ‘Lay Your Body Down’ had the audience clapping and singing along before the final song of the night ended with the guys hugging and smiling and a standing ovation from everyone.
After the show, the hugging and smiling continued but with the many fans who had waited to say hi. Thoroughly nice guys and a thoroughly enjoyable night.
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