HRH AOR VII – Day 1 – 14-03-2019
Presthaven Sands, Prestatyn
Review: Stephen Brophy
Photography: Stephen Brophy
Sometimes you look at a Festival and just find it hard to believe that it’s the 7th year it’s been running and you have attended every year, this year as HRH transition to a new home base in Great Yarmouth we are visiting Prestatyn for a brief visit.
The day begins with some short Acoustic set for HRH Dark Circle members who got to see the excellent Gorilla Riot. The it was time for the main stage to open and to get everything kicked off..
The New Breed
The first band to hit the stage are The New Breed from Manchester and they went down a storm, with lead singer Jay paying homage to one of this evenings other acts, Dave Bickler, with a very fetching t-shirt. These guys wasted no time at all and went for it straight from the moment they hit the stage. They really tried to get the crowd involved whenever the opportunity arose and also were very appreciative of the support they were receiving, which is always nice to see. Definitely a band to keep an eye on, look forward to seeing them develop and move up the billing at Festivals like this, they play a brand of Rock ‘N’ Roll that has something a little different and as the songs develop there’s lots of promise in what you hear. Great way to open the Festival and one I’m sure the guys won’t forget.
Knock Out Kaine
This appearance was tinged with a little sadness, being the last show by this lineup and being known as Knock Out Kaine, not that the guys are disappearing, but still when a member moves on the dynamic often changes, and these guys were clearly going to go out with a bang. Having always thought that this band should have been bigger it’s no surprise that when in top gear the songs sound terrifc. And they really do have some banging songs in the repertoire, and as always Dean Foxx is a frontman with presence, not just a cracking voice but power and emotion to boot.
Clearly some big KOK fans had moved to the front and centre of the barrier and you could see the infection spread with killer version of “Ain’t Your Kind” bringing more in the now large crowd into the fray. and then the ability to drop the pace down for “Coming Home” was effortless and held onto the momentum they’d built. Lee certainly enjoyed his farewell making a foray into the crowd to say goodbye, and then it was back to a smashing finale, look forward to seeing Dean and the guys in whatever guise they are on the road in next, always put in a big performance, and perfect for a party night.
Having appeared for the first time on a UK stage only a couple of years ago it was great to see the former Survivor frontman Dave Bickler making a return trip for HRH AOR. And this time armed, finally, with his new solo album Darklight and a new band for this run of UK Dates, which includes FM’s excellent guitarist Jim Fitzpatrick, they work their way though a set littered with Survivor hits alongside some of Dave’s solo tracks.
Sadly it’s quite obvious from the start that something isn’t quite right with the vocals this evening, and Dave apologises early on for a croak in his throat, however he doesn’t make excuses and powers on, with some tracks coming across much better than others. Perhaps he should have looked for a little more audience participation from that start, but as attested to by a number of people the voice was in much better shape at shows earlier in the week. Either way I will always commend an artist for pushing through the pain and trying to give the crowd as good a show as possible under difficult conditions. Back to the music, for me it’s the Survivor tracks that hit home most, again Dave paid tribute to another Survivor legend Jimi Jamison who we so sadly lost in 2014 with “Burning Heart” and not also a tribute to the recent passing of ex-Survivor Bass Player Stephan Ellis, which was nice to see. Dave always comes across as being a very amiable type of guy, loves music, but doesn’t always look the most comfortable frontman on stage, that being said he definitely gets into the spirit of things when needed.
Highlights for me and I’m sure a lot of others were “Rebel Girl” which sounded great, “I Can’t Hold Back” and of course the song that most people were waiting for, the massive “Eye Of The Tiger” which was really good and definitely aided by Dave getting the crowd involved a little more, so many singing along, clapping along and just having a great time, it was a fantastic way to end the set and get everyone ready for tonights Headline act.
This band has over the course of 30 years gone through just about everything, and to see them still wowing crowds, and more importantly absolutely loving what they do is a sight to behold. Add to that the fact that Danny Vaughn still has an amazing voice and somehow managed to find the fountain of youth, we have all the elements of a wonderful show here, and that’s exactly what we get.
Rather than play the “Strength In Numbers” album from start to finish as it was recorded, often that sort of order just doesn’t fit the show, creates a slightly odd flow to things, so rightly the guys have thought about it a bit and fitted the tracks in and around some classics, some newer songs and a golden nugget or two. But Tyketto are known for blowing the roof off, and when you open your set with.a rasping version of “Inherit The Wind” and the pumping anthem that is “Meet Me In The Night” you are in no doubt that it’s on.
The band is on absolutely top form right now, with a solidified lineup, Chris Green (Guitar) seems to be just getting better and better, and that massive smile says it all, his solos are just electric. Despite the band living in different States and Countries it’s like they all live in the same house, a family indeed. Have noticed more and more in recent shows just how damn good Ged’s backing vocals are alongside the excellent work on keyboards, Greg Smith (Bass) has fitted in so well and really there’s not much more I can say about either Michael (Drums) or Danny (Vocals) to still show the hunger, still put everything into every show and leave the stage smiling from ear to ear, it really does warm the heart, this is what Rock music should be, great playing, great songs and a full house of fans singing and dancing into the night.
From the beauty of “The End Of Summer Days” and “Write Your Name In The Sky” to the bluesy interlude of “Why Do You Cry?” and into the balls out rock of “Rescue Me”, “Strength In Numbers” which really seems to have taken a life of it’s own on this run of dates. As always you leave the venue wanting more and never feeling that you haven’t been involved in a special event.
Long may we get this band playing shows and Festivals in the UK, they are still a force to be reckoned with live and it’s so hard not to sing along to the classic tracks. This time around it was great to hear some of the tracks from Strength In Numbers that don’t very often get an airing, alongside a track most people have never heard and the undeniable force that songs like “Forever Young” (where Danny was joined by VEGAs Nick Workman) and the wonderful set closer “Standing Alone”. Terrific way to end a really great evenings entertainment with the knowledge that there’s lots more to come on Day’s 2 and 3.
Inherit The Wind
Meet Me In The Night
All Over Me
Catch My Fall
The End Of Summer Days
Ain’t That Love
Write Your Name In The Sky
Why Do You Cry ?
Strength In Numbers
Forever Young (with Nick Workman)
The Last Sunset
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