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New England - 2017 Live at The Spire, Bull Run

ARTIST: New England
LIVE PERFORMANCES: The Spire, Plymouth, Mass, 13th October | Bull Run, Shirley, Mass, 14th October
YEAR: 2017


LINEUP: John Fannon - vocals, guitars * Jimmy Waldo - keyboards, vocals * Gary Shea - bass, vocals * Hirsh Gardner - drums, vocals

WEBLINKS: | | | |

Sometimes an opportunity arises that one simply cannot turn down, so when I found out that my favourite band were playing live dates again I just had to be there. One small catch though, to get there included a rather lengthy jaunt across the pond, so with passport in hand I set off for Boston but in the end it was oh so worth it, as New England delivered over 2 nights, music that simply took one's breath away.

The Spire Centre in Plymouth Mass was the venue for the first of the dates, a converted church and as such a beautiful setting for a band that are for many a byword in classy AOR/Melodic hard rock from the genres halcyon days.

All 4 band members are still at the top of their game, which was hammered home in no uncertain terms in the opening salvo of 'Seal It With a Kiss' and 'L5', from Gary Shea's pounding yet melodic bass, Jimmy Waldo's exquisite, lush keyboards, Hirsh Gardner powerful, thunderous drumming, topped off with John Fannon's unique vocals and guitar playing.

The rest of the set displayed the bands sheer versatility, in one breathe handing perfect Pop/Rock (complete with pristine harmonies) with songs such as 'Hello, Hello, Hello' and 'Honey Money', through to the hard rocking of the Deep Purple tinged 'Shoot,' the out and out Prog gem 'Explorer Suite' and all points in-between.

The middle of the set saw the band slow it right down for a mini acoustic set that included 'Conversation’, ‘Shall I Run Away' and 'Turn Out The Light', the latter seeing John come to the front of the stage and playing a simple but tear jerking rendition of the song.

The finale of the set was made up of the bands 'epic' songs, from the aforementioned 'Explorer Suite', the exhilarating 'Hope', the peerless 'Nothing to Fear', before ending the set proper with their 'signature' song 'Don't Ever Wanna Lose Ya', which just left me (and everyone else there for that matter) simply stunned at the brilliance on display.

The band returned for encores of P.U.N.K and their recent comeback single 'I Know There’s Something Here', and if that wasn’t enough I got to repeat the whole thing again the following night at the Bull Run out in Shirley, Mass and again the band showed that when it comes to classic AOR/ Melodic Rock they simply have no equals.

Also both nights saw the band do 'Meet and Greets' afterwards and a more friendly set of guys you couldn’t wish to meet, making time for everyone there and signing a plethora of New England merchandise and posing for endless photos.

That New England never went on to have multi platinum albums back in the day is frankly bewildering and a crying shame, this really is as good as it gets for me, a quite unforgettable weekend from a truly unique rock band. Rockingham would do well to see if they can get the band over to these shores so that a UK audience can luxuriate in the grandeur, majesty and splendour that is New England.

Note: Photos courtesy of Ken Higgins.

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#1 | gdazegod on November 24 2017 20:16:28
Nice! You are very dedicated Malcolm. Thumbs Up
#2 | dtabachn on November 24 2017 21:59:05
I really enjoyed the article Smile
#3 | Explorer on November 24 2017 22:00:51
Cheers George, it`s that or either I`m bloody mad!!...Grin
What I didn't mention in the article, as it was somewhat a personal moment for me was that on the second night the band dedicated `Nothing to Fear`to me, a gesture that frankly left me speechless...and I must admit a little teary eyed.
#4 | Carl Noonan on November 24 2017 22:59:45
I am super jealous of you mate :-)
#5 | Explorer on November 24 2017 23:12:22
I`m still trying to convince them to get their arses over to the UK, just the one date will do!!...Rockingham is surely a No-Brainer.
#6 | englandashes on November 25 2017 11:29:41
Excellent article, Malcolm, what an amazing experience goodjob
#7 | Eric on November 25 2017 14:26:00
Wish I had been there...
Thumbs Up
#8 | swazi on November 25 2017 22:53:26
Superb, Malcolm! Thumbs Up
#9 | Nick C on November 26 2017 16:58:33
Noice, Noice!

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