Tonight’s gig was relocated from Koko due to the venue closing for urgent structural repairs, and this meant the venue was rather crowded – and hotter than hell with at least one fan collapsing in the heat.
First up tonight was Laurence Jones. Wearing a suit he looked far too smart for a gig in a dark hot sweaty venue, but somehow managed to look smart even at the end of his set (although I’m betting he was soaked in sweat). I’ve seen Laurence Jones several times and while I’ve enjoyed his performances I’ve always thought he was good but lacking a killer edge. Tonight though things were different – this was the best I’ve heard him and he really was fantastic. Things sounded heavier than in the past and he was in great form both with his playing and his vocals and the overall result was a fantastic set that went down very well with this capacity crowd. If this is a sign of things to come from Laurence Jones then the only way is up for him.
At 66 years old, you might think Glenn Hughes will have gone the same way as most vocalists of his generation and lost some of his vocal power and range. Well, if you’re thinking that, think again. His voice is still amazingly powerful, and as for the high notes, I’m fairly sure at the high end of the scale he was hitting notes only aduible to animals – in short, his voice is as good now as it was over 40 years ago in Deep Purple.
On this tour Glenn Hughes is playing a set made up of Deep Purple songs – the vast majority being songs from his time in the band. Given the fact he has a two hour set, the setlist of just ten songs including encore seems very short – that’s around 12 minutes per song, and surely there isn’t that much talking between songs? Well the reason soon became clear, while some songs were just a few minutes long, many became extended jams, and as a result there really was that classic Deep Purple feel to things. Late in the set, “You fool no one” seemed to be the longest song by far with the jams, and some solos thrown in too, but never during the night was there ever a feeling of things being padded out unnecessarily – things just felt right how they were. Having seen the current Deep Purple lineup play live fairly recently there really is no comparison – if you’re a fan of their classic hard rock albums then Glenn Hughes’s tour is the only way to hear some of Deep Purple’s best work played how it should be.
Glenn Hughes has a great band with him and gives them time to shine throughout the set, not just in the solos, and while the name on the door is “Glenn Hughes”, it feels like a proper band, not just one man and some backing musicians.
After the encore started with “Burn”, Glenn Hughes introduced a friend of his who was joining him to play some guitar – his bandmate in Black Country Communion, Joe Bonamassa. Now that was a highlight for the fans there. It may have been so hot that some were struggling with the heat but when Joe Bonamassa came out and played nobody thought about getting some fresh air – they were too busy enjoying watching two world class musicians play classic Deep Purple songs. The two songs they played together (“Mistreated” and “Highway star”) were absolutely superb and brought the night to an end on a real high.
A fantastic night of music. Glenn Hughes will be back next year and I’d definitely recommend going to one of his shows.