The last time The Dead Daisies visited Dublin was back in 2016 on a stiflingly hot July evening in the Academy’s Greenroom, a pokey little sweatbox on the building’s ground floor. Support on that night was a young and energetic Inglorious who more than lived up to their, at the time, massive hype. Tonight they were joined by Graham Bonnet, who would show that class is permanent.
The Dead Daisies – Graham Bonnet Band
The Academy, Dublin – 10 December 2022
Words: Brian Boyle
Photography: Carl Foran
Tonight’s opening slot is a lot different, less energetic and a hell of a lot older but the legendary Graham Bonnet still knows how to hold an audience captive. At 7:10 pm sharp, the former Rainbow and Michael Schenker Group vocalist hit the boards for a 40-minute career-spanning set that rolled back the years in style.
Casually decked out in trademark aviators, grey sweater, and purple denim, Eyes Of The World warmed up the cold Dublin bones before All Night Long sent a joyous nostalgic bolt through the ever-increasing gathering.
Loved up with his good lady and bassist Beth, he let loose one of his solo gems, Night Games, which might not be universally acknowledged, but tonight it truly conquered. Desert Song brought back great memories from his MSG days, as did the crushing Assault Attack, but the obvious highlight was the career-defining Since You’ve Been Gone, which is still in pristine condition in Bonnet’s hands.
For a man of advancing years, he proved on closer Lost In Hollywood that his renowned pipes showed very little sign of wear and tear, but as they say, class is permanent.
The Dead Daisies
This is The Dead Daisies’ third visit to Dublin, and each time a different face has been front and centre. While Jon Stevens and John Corabi were impressive performers, with the God-like figure of former Deep Purple man Glenn Hughes steering the ship, this band is a completely different animal with a louder roar.
So along with the boss man David Lowy, animalistic tub thumper Brian Tichy and the ever jaw-dropping axe gymnastics of Doug Aldrich, this ensemble of talent are one of the hottest Rock tickets around today.
With Dublin city awash with Christmas party revellers and bag-laden shoppers, Hughes and Co. turned The Academy into their very own Classic Rock grotto. At 8:15 pm the PA rang out Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion before they opened their bulging sack of goodies with a pulsing Long Way To Go.
Right from the off, the enduring four piece were just on it. A flawless Unspoken continued to set the tone, with Hughes giving us an early blast of that iconic scream. Following the gig, this venue hosted a disco where the young’uns throw shapes to something they think resembles music, but on Rise Up, it was like a temple of worship as the crowd lapped up the rejoicing chorus.
With his refined English accent, Hughes told the crowd of the band’s intention to “kick some arse”, so they launched into a punchy Dead And Gone, one of the best moments from the Corabi era.
If you want to define today’s quintessential guitar hero, then look no further than Doug Aldrich. Despite looking like a killer rock star with his impressive blonde locks, leather waistcoat and tattooed arms, his virtuoso talent is something that can only be truly appreciated when you see him live.
And when he assaulted his pickup selector on his Gibson Les Paul for the intro on Face Your Fear, you knew you were in the presence of someone very special.
Drum solos are normally an excuse to answer the call of nature or make a beeline to the bar, but when Brian Tichy does one, your keep your pants zipped and pint glass empty. And he didn’t disappoint. He battered his buckets black and blue and had the crowd transfixed.
Following some good-willed band introductions, Hughes reminded everyone why he is known as The Voice Of Rock with a heart-pumping Mistreated where even his own bandmates looked on in amazement. You don’t forget moments like this, and the reception was deafening.
With the new album Radiance performing well, one of its big hitters, Born To Fly, took flight majestically, as did Hypnotize Yourself, where a line of punters in front of me tested the durability of their neck muscles.
A long-time Daisies live favourite, Midnight Moses never fails to deliver, and even though they’re a man down from the last time they performed it here, it returned bigger and brawnier.
Now fast approaching 10 pm and the disco people en route, Deep Purple classic Burn heralded the mother of all finales, a timeless rock song that sent fans of all ages into a wild frenzy. A thunderous end to an immaculate evening of rock ‘n’ roll.
The Dead Daisies are a relentless ball of energy who continues to inject new life into rock music. Long may they bloom.