FM @Gateshead Glasshouse, May 4 2024

FM have been dialled into dreamy AOR for 40 years and as consummate masters of their melodic rock craft the band’s live shows are on a different level.

Just how Steve Overland’s been able to get his hands on a limitless supply of the elixir of youth remains one of life’s great mysteries.

But he must down the stuff like Lemmy knocked back whisky given this 90-minute show of honey-tongued vocal strength.

No note was too challenging (or it didn’t seem that way) for Norfolk’s answer to Steve Perry as the Old Habits Die Hard tour stopped off on Tyneside.

And when Overland cheekily declared could be doing this for another 40 years it felt like he was only half joking.

On this form the silver fox and his FM buddies must feel unstoppable.

Maybe that wasn’t always the case.

Much has been written about how the band narrowly missed out on a Def Leppard-esque breakthrough back in the day.

Fine margins might well have robbed Overland and co. of another level of fame and fortune.

But the band’s first two records — Indiscreet and Tough It Out — are every bit as good as everything else that dominated the late 80s playlists of MTV’s tastemakers.

A sizeable chunk of this sensational set was dominated by those landmark records but it’s testimony to FM’s longevity and enduring talent that their newer material resonates just as deeply.

Such is the consistent quality of a bulging back catalogue that anyone new to the band — and there was a smattering of under 20s inside a packed Glasshouse — would struggle to differentiate between pre and post-90s FM.

Take punchy opener Digging Up The Dirt. The strident rocker, from 2015’s Heroes and Villainsis prime Overland and represents a fertile crop of outstanding records released during the last decade.

Adding Say It Like It Is to the 40th anniversary set is a nod to fans who’ve long clamoured for the Indiscreet B-side to make the live cut.

And yet up against so many bona fire bangers this was the one song here that lacked FM’s usual sonic finesse.

No matter.

When Closer To Heaven, That Girl and Bad Luck are still to come nobody’s complaining.

Old habits die hard but FM rock harder.

Back in the day young bucks Collateral would have been jostling for position alongside the Overland brothers for a piece of the hair metal pie.

And the Kent quartet’s enthusiasm for resurrecting late 80s pomp remains undiminished on this compelling evidence.

With new album Should’ve Known Better ready to drop at the end of the month, these are heady days for the Sunset Strip throwbacks.

Frontman Angelo Tristan oozed peak Sebastian Bach as he ran through a sugar-coated version of latest single On The Long Road.

And live standards Big Shot, Merry Go Round and Midnight Queen had the desired effect in converting FM die-hards to Collateral’s firebrand rock.

If the ageless Overland does have to call it a day sometime during the next four decades then worry not: his heirs apparent are primed to succeed to the melodic rock throne.

Images by Adam Kennedy