It’s been almost three decades since the Dan Reed Network first asked that the class pay attention, please, in the intro to Get To You (from their sel-titled debut album), but all those years fall away immediately as the now shaven-headed frontman approaches the front of the stage at the sold-out 100 Club and asks the same thing of tonight’s audience. Along with the gleaming-domed Reed, the audience too are older and wiser, matured, considered. When the Network run through a gleeful Baby Now I, everyone present struts and funks like they’re auditioning for a part in Prince’s band.
But it’s not only nostalgia that the band deliver, and last year’s Fight Another Day album proved that not all re-formations are just potential cash cows.
If the reunited Dan Reed Network take anything seriously, it’s their song writing. B There With U and Champion sit as comfortably in their current set as a song like Ritual (from their debut) might. That said, it’s not seamless. And indeed you do get the feeling that it was never going to be. Twice they stop songs when one of the band goes awry; Reed leans over drummer Dan Pred, and there’s a shrug of his shoulders as he mimes the drum part he wants to hear. “I think I was singing the wrong verse too”, he says, smiling, and then they drop back into the groove as succinctly and neatly as a needle hitting vinyl.