New England http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/5b/1e/64/New-England-thumb-34-1510256338.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     November 09, 2017    
 
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NEW ENGLAND
Plymouth, Mass, USA: The Spire Centre – 13 October 2017
Shirley, Mass, USA: Bull Run – 14 October 2017

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 over two nights New England delivered 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 genre's halcyon days.

New-England

All four 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 and Jimmy Waldo's exquisite, lush keyboards, to Hirsh Gardner's powerful, thunderous drumming that's all 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 saw Fannon come to the front of the stage to play 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 they ended 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.

New-England-2
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 & Greets" afterwards and a more friendly set of guys you couldn't wish to meet. They made time for everyone there and signed a plethora of New England merchandise and posed 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 them over to these shores so that a UK audience can luxuriate in the grandeur, majesty and splendour that is New England.

Malcolm Smith
Photos courtesy of Ken Higgins

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