After the release of his critically acclaimed second solo album 'Celestial Fire', Dave wanted to form a band that would be would be capable of performing this complex and demanding music live. A band that would not only be technically proficient to do so, but would be able to play the music with emotion, fire and passion.
The band would also have to be able to play music from Dave's first solo release 'Veil of Gossamer' as well as anything from the vast Iona back catalogue (some never previously performed live), along with Dave's occasional unique twist on a traditional British folk tune . A tall order indeed.....
Enlisting Iona cohort Frank van Essen (probably unique in the world as an incredible drummer & percussionist as well as an amazing improviser on the violin) and long time friends Sally Minnear (featured voice in Lord of the Dance and a dab hand at almost any instrument you put in front of her - taking after her dad, Kerry Minnear from the iconic '70's band Gentle Giant) and guitar virtuoso and composer Dave Brons (top 10 Guitar Idol 2014), Dave then needed someone to play the virtuoso bass parts played on the Celestial Fire album by the incredible Randy George of Neal Morse's band . As Randy was 5,000 miles away in LA he wasn't an option, which left only one possible choice in Dave's mind - bass & Chapman Stick genius Simon Fitzpatrick (Carl Palmer's Legacy, Jennifer Batten etc), whom Dave had first met the previous year and subsequently toured with as part of GB3.
The end of 2015 saw first rehearsals and a short run of gigs in the UK, which both the band and audiences enjoyed tremendously and at which the 'Live in the UK' DVD/2cd album (released April 2017) was filmed after a chance offer from an old friend of Dave's, TV producer Richard Laurence, to come and film.
Busy schedules for these in demand musicians meant that it was September 2016 before the band reconvened for a second run of UK dates. However this time something had perceptively changed, as Dave recalls:
"On the first tour it was like, 'yikes, what comes next?' With some of the pieces being up to 15 minutes long with multiple key, time, instrument and mood changes, it was very much seat of the pants stuff! But by the second gig of the second tour I suddenly felt like things were really flowing in an amazing way - suddenly this was a band that was totally and powerfully happening on stage. At that point I realised that this was something special."
In April 2017 the Celestial Fire 'Live in the UK' DVD/2cd album was released, receiving some great reviews and selling really well for an independent release. After a well received appearance at Prog Dreams Festival in The Netherlands in March 2018, Dave Bainbridge is currently writing material for the first Celestial Fire band studio album. More UK gigs are currently being booked for September 2018.
Dave again: "Once people see this band I think they're going to be blown away. This is a band that needs to be heard live. Instead of another solo album, I'm writing the next album around this line up. the possibilities of the five musicians in the band are staggering - I'm excited!"