I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Never too old to rock
Four of Thunder's first five songs at this major show were from the band's recently released album, Wonder Days. My first thought was that the veteran outfit were either daft or supremely confident about their new material.
It turned out to be the latter and Thunder were right to trust their instincts. After 25 years in the business and ten studio albums they are at last headlining arenas, kicking off their second such date in Birmingham with the title track of their new release.
This was followed by River of Pain, from third album Behind Closed Doors, then newies Black Water, Resurrection Day and Broken, all from the just released record. It helps that Thunder have a passionate fan base and from the way the crowd was singing along it was obvious most were familiar with the new songs. But the tunes and melodies are so catchy the tracks are immediately accessible to those who don't own Wonder Days.
On stage: Thunder at Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena, March 13, 2015
Two more new songs, the Stonesy The Thing I Want and the nostalgic When The Music Played, accompanied by projected pictures of significant events and people of the 1970s, were aired during the show.
Predictably, though, the biggest cheers from the impressively large crowd, were reserved for the favourites from Thunder's 1990 debut Backstreet Symphony. The title track, Love Walked In and the double whammy encore closer Higher Ground and Dirty Love were greeted like old friends.
Other highlights included The Devil Made Me Do It from 2006's Robert Johnson's Tombstone and set closer I Love You More Than Rock 'n' Rock with vocalist Danny Bowes persuading everyone to bounce up and down and sing along.
Great form: Danny Bowes in Birmingham
Danny was on great form throughout – he was obviously delighted to be headlining an arena show but also relieved to be on stage with guitarist Ben Matthews who, he announced, had beaten cancer.
Drummer Harry James and bassist Chris Childs laid down a solid backbeat, while lead guitarist Luke Morley revelled in his time in the spotlight for his solos, especially during the epic Empty City.
Solo: Thunder's Luke Morley in the spotlight
No expense was spared to make this a spectacular show, with an impressive lighting rig that ascended and descended above the stage. It's a pity it was not used during support band Reef's 45 minute set – at times it was so dark you could hardly see the band.
What we could make out was that singer Gary Stringer and bassist Jack Bessant seemed to be auditioning for ZZ Top, such was the bushiness of their beards!
ZZ Top auditions?: Reef's Gary Stringer and Jack Bessant on stage in Birmingham
The band now has some youthful zest thanks to the addition of guitarist Jesse Wood, son of Rolling Stone Ronnie and husband of Fearne Cotton. Although fairly static on stage he let his guitar do the talking and impressed on the likes of Come Back Brighter, Place Your Hands and new song Lone Rider.
An evening of vintage rock from two bands who still have a lot of fresh material to offer.
THUNDER SET LIST
River of Pain
The Devil Made Me Do It
I'll Be Waiting
The Thing I Want
When The Music Played
Love Walked In
I Love You More Than Rock 'n' Roll
Low Life In High Places