FM - 20/05/2010

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FM - 20/05/2010

Postby Rockingbear » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:41 am

FM - Metropolis Tour 2010

Sheffield O2 Academy – Thursday 20th May 2010

It was great to see the reformed FM at Firefest a few years ago but the promised new album & tour never materialised and another Firefest headline appearance ensued. The new album “Metropolis” arrived a couple of months ago and was a great return to form by one of the UK’s premier AOR bands.

So to the tour and the opening night in Sheffield. Support came from local Sheffield band Psi Phi, who play a blend of Prog Funk Fusion & AOR, and the reformed Airrace.
I first saw Airrace 26 years ago when they supported Def Leppard and then not again until last year’s Firefest. Since then I have caught them a further couple of times and they just seem to get better with every performance. Like the majority of groups that have reformed from the eighties, they seem to be having a real blast. The majority of tonight’s set was taken from their brilliant debut album “Shaft Of Light” first released back in 1984. “Promise To Call”, Do You Want My Love Again”, “Open Your Eyes”, personal favourite, “First One Over The Line” and set closer, the awesome “Brief Encounter”. Two new tracks were also played that are due to appear on a new album later this year which judging by these two should be pretty good. Lead singer Keith Murrell still has a brilliant voice and with his, now, short hair bares a passing resemblance to Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond!

After a few initial technical hitches the FM hit the stage to rapturous applause and launched into their set with “Wildside”. Any nerves that the band might have had having been away for so long would have been dismissed by the audience reaction to the classic “Face To Face” sung by the 300+ crowd. Another track from one of the greatest AOR albums “Indiscreet” followed in the form of “That Girl”. The sound for a small venue was near to perfect and for once not too loud.

It was hard to tell who was enjoying themselves more, the band or the crowd as more classics followed: “Don’t Stop”, “Only The Strong Survive”, “Blood & Gasoline”.
Three new tracks followed from the excellent “Metropolis” album: “Hollow”, “Over You” & “Flamingo Road”. These songs fitted in perfectly with the old classics. Steve commented on the fact that “Hollow” had even been getting airplay on Radio Two courtesy of Ken Bruce!

The crowd were kept in full voice with “All Or Nothing”, “Closer To Heaven”, “Burning My Heart Down” & “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”. At the start of the latter someone shouted to Steve, “Aretha!” to which he replied, “I wish!” To be honest that was the highlight of that song for me and I certainly would not have missed it had it been excluded from the set.

The band left the stage for a few minutes to return to more adulation. New guitarist, Jim Kirkpatrick, played the solo “Metropolis” before the band played the awesome “Frozen Heart” arguably the song of the evening. A pumping version of “American Girls” was followed by set closer “Bad Luck”.

A triumphant return by the AOR maestros and a great way to start their tour. Personally, it could only have been better if they had replaced “I Heard It On The Grapevine” with my favourite FM track “Dangerous”.
Ol' 78
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Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:58 am
Location: Sheffield, UK

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