29 March 1989, SFX Centre, Dublin. Swedish high flyers Europe touched down on the northside of the city armed with the new album Out Of This World, aiming to conquer on their first visit to the Emerald Isle.
But as a then seventeen-year-old mullet-wearing rocker, it was support act Dare that left a bigger impression on me.
Dare – Road To Eden (Legend Records)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Brian Boyle
Led by the former Thin Lizzy keyboard player Darren Wharton and featuring future world-famous physician Professor Brian Cox, they performed an arresting forty five minute set of melodic gems like Abandon, Runaway and Into The Fire, which no doubt gave Joey and the boys something to worry about.
The day after, I was back in the city hunting down their debut album, Out Of The Silence, eventually coming by a second-hand copy in the basement of Freebird Records on the corner of Eden Quay. Thirty-three years later, they may be Cox-less, but front of house Wharton is still rising to the occasion and leading the line on their 10th studio album Road To Eden.
The Oldham native may be three-plus decades heavier, but those suave pipes are still gleaming and open this album majestically with the pulsing Born In The Storm. The opening bars of Cradle To The Grave immediately give an uncanny aroma of U2’s Bad and then sets sail on a wonderful melodic Celtic voyage, as does the title track with slick key changes setting up a warm fireside chorus.
Fire Never Fades is classic Dare, a simmering track that glides along, dropping addictive hooks at a canter. AOR authenticity flows freely on Only The Good Die Young and I Always Will, both formulaic, both textbook, but Wharton and co always serve up exactly what’s in the picture and more.
Since the return of guitarist Vinny Burns to the fold in 2008, Dare got into their old enthralling stride again. The former Asia and Ultravox man shows his searing talent on the meaty The Devil Rides Tonight and jaw-dropping closer Thy Kingdom Come, where his magnificent axe work provides the perfect foil for Wharton’s picturesque lyrics.
Dare has always delivered throughout their career, but on The Road To Eden, they’ve truly raised the Melodic Rock bar.
Road To Eden
Born In The Storm (4:45)
Cradle To The Grave (4:21)
Fire Never Fades (3:51)
Road To Eden (4:07)
Lovers And Friends (3:43)
Only The Good Die Young (4:37)
I Always Will (4:24)
The Devil Rides Tonight (3:49)
Thy Kingdom Come (4:30)