Black Country Communion – Civic hall, Wolverhampton – 2nd January 2018

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Photo by Christie Goodwin

The night kicked off with floodlights on stage sending their rays of light out over the crowd as the PA played sounds of explosions. Gradually these turned into heavy bass and guitar riffs as the band took to the stage and things kicked off with the first song – Sway.
That was the first of six songs tonight from the excellent new album (BCC IV), but tonight didn’t feel like they were pushing the new album – it just felt like a greatest hits set as they played a set made up of songs from all four albums. It was a superbly chosen setlist – there was never a weak song where you could nip to the bar, instead from start to finish this was an example of how to deliver a great rock set.
There were plenty of short solos – either drums, keyboards or guitar, but these were scattered through the show and tended to me more as a song intro than the usual “lets do a ten minute drum solo so the rest of the band get a break” type of solo you get in far too many gigs from rock bands.

Two things really struck me during tonight’s show – not the sheer quality of these top musicians – that goes without saying, but firstly the sheer amount of energy there was on stage, and secondly how much they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. The band members all look to be having a great time and there are jokes between them at times – it’s clear that these guys are all friends not just bandmates and that they truly love playing live. That love of playing live shows in their energetic performance – Glenn Hughes in particular never stops moving.

On the subject of Glenn Hughes, long known as “the voice of rock” his voice is in amazing shape – while most singers of his generation struggle with the high notes, his voice seems not to have changed in the last 50 years – he stil reaches the high notes with ease and his voice has so much power it’s hard to believe.
Joe Bonamassa is consistently good in everything he does and tonight is no exception. He’s equally happy lurking at the back of the stage while someone else takes the spotlight, or standing at the front as the centre of attention as he plays a solo.
Derek Sherinian and Jason Bonham may be stuck at the back with their keyboards and drums respectively but they too get their turns in the spotlight and both are effusively praised for their talent by Glenn Hughes during his band introductions.

For “The last song for my resting place” Joe Bonamassa once again takes over vocal duties and they also bring on a special guest – Jerry O Connor from The Dubliners, who plays both fiddle and mandolin tonight.

There are only two Black Country Communion shows in the UK – tonight’s show in Wolverhampton and one in London. In some ways that’s a shame as a full tour would be welcome, but on the other hand it means these shows feel even more special.

The night ends with Glenn Hughes introducing a song that was the first song he and Joe Bonamassa played together in front of an audience. It wasn’t a Black Country Communion song – it was a song from earlier in Glenn Hughes’s career – the Deep Purple classic “Mistreated”. It’s a stunning performance and a fantastic end to a very special gig. It’s an almost perfect night – if it hadn’t been for sound problems during “Cold” then it would have been perfect.

Intro – Air raid/Big train
Sway
One last soul
Save me
Wanderlust
Song of yesterday
The outsider
This is your time
Cold
The battle for Hadrian’s wall
The crow
Over my head
The last song for my resting place
Man in the middle
Black Country

Encore:
Collide
Faithless
Mistreated