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23 September 2010
Many of the
gathered Mancunian audience were buzzing about the new Black Country
Communion album and most conversations that I overheard were talking
about Glenn Hughes deserving another day in the sun, or words to that
effect. Thankfully most observers have dispensed with myths about what
happened behind the scenes of the Purple dynasty,
Tonight Glenn Hughes started his UK tour with a barnstorming set which
was a moving tribute to those who had departed in recent years. Mel
Galley, Quiet Riot's Kevin Dubrow, whose scarf hung from Glenn's Belt,
Andy Attwood (Trapeze roadie) and latterly of course Ronnie James Dio
were all close friends.
So it was appropriate then that Glenn shifted the emphasis from that
balmy day spitting 'mozzies' at Onatrio Speedway to the Trapeze era
which preceded it. 'Medusa' appears on the Black Country album and it's
this dynamic updated version that Glenn Hughes and his band presented
were two Deep Purple classics, 'Sail Away' and the seven minute 'Burn'
encore which went down a treat. 'Sail Away' transferred successfully
live, the band really hitting the original groove tightly.
'Muscle and Blood,' the opener, was an absolute joy to behold. Normally
first night nerves can dilute the energy somewhat. But you could tell
that a smiling Glenn Hughes was really up for it tonight. Helped by a
decent sound system at Manchester Academy, the portents were good.
It was great
to chat to guitarist Soren Andersen later when he confessed that being
on stage with Glenn was an incredible challenge musically. As well as
being eye candy for the ladies, he is an excellent practitioner and
showman. Keyboard player, Anders Olinder has been an ever present for
all recent tours and does provide a stabilising gel to the others'
movements. Pontus Engborg on drums worked well with The Hughes bass
I am never sure what people will make of 'Don't Let Me Bleed' from the
highly rated solo album, 'Soul Mover.' It's Glenn Hughes show boating
with his vocal talents. But it's rather like watching a Ronaldo (either
one) skip round defences. Awe. I witnessed smiles of appreciation from
the throng, some of whom were fresher fans including younger women and
one lad I witnessed in absolute awe at the front of house with his dad.
A natural raconteur, he pushed aside some of the silly stuff written
about him in the past and offered an ironic new story line about being
'that old lesbian' to guffaws of laughter around the hall.
'Soul Mover,' a classic in its own right and a live staple, ended the
show, to be followed with a two song encore beginning with 'Addiction'.
A painful album to make apparently, but I appreciated Glenn Hughes
digging deep to tell us about a chapter in his life that is now
eradicated. An essential addition to the set and a further sign that
Glenn Hughes is comfortable with his own life story.
Instead we have the Voice of Rock doing what he does best - and sadly
most of his contemporaries cannot now match - and that's to sing with
energy and passion. There are 12 more dates at a venue near you. Do
yourself a favour and read the new chapter in the life of Glenn Hughes.