Glenn Hughes - Glasgow Garage, 24/1/17
The hearts and minds of Glasgow rock fans were truly divided on a very busy night for gigs in the city, with at least 4 top shows on offer. For me, it came down to a battle of the sexagenarians, with the option of saying farewell to Ozzy and Black Sabbath, or catching the 'Voice of Rock' in the far more intimate surroundings of Glasgow's Garage venue. For me these days, small is definitely better when it comes to gigs, so we got up close and personal with the legend that is Mr Glenn Hughes.
First up though, the matter of the superb opening act, Stone Broken. This West Midlands quartet have been making serious waves over the last year or so with their brand of melodic hard rock, and as expected gave us a very assured performance, with tracks from last year's debut album 'All In Time' and some new material getting an excellent reception from the Glasgow crowd. This is a band going places without a doubt, their arena style rock demands they should be hitting bigger stages in the not too distant future. Catch them while you can at these smaller venues, they won't be at this level for very long.
So, the main event. With 45+ years of material to choose from, it's never going to be an easy task to please all of the paying punters, but tonight Glenn Hughes effortlessly did that and so much more. The show kicks off with 'Flow' from the current 'Resonate' album, probably his best solo effort yet. The band, featuring regulars Soren Anderson on guitar, and Pontus Engborg on drums, give a masterclass in classic rock musicianship, with a large dollop of soul and funk to boot. The live sound is the best I've heard in the Garage recently, so Hughes' soaring vocals cut through with stunning effect. Remember the guy is 65 years old, and still hitting the same notes he did all those years ago. Among the highlights for me, a mind blowing rendition of Medusa, a song Hughes first performed as a teenager in 1970 with Trapeze, and a clutch of Deep Purple classics from his tenure in that legendary band. A very funky 'Gettin Tighter' featured early in the set, and an especially poignant and emotional 'You Keep on Moving' giving Hughes the chance to really show that incredible voice to full effect. Another Purple classic 'Might Just Take Your Life' also gave exceptional keyboards man Jay Boe the opportunity to show his Jon Lord inspired chops on the Hammond organ. The main part of the set finished off with a superb double whammy of Soul Mover and Black Country, with Glenn filling us in on the latest news on the Black Country Communion situation - album number 4 in the can and to be released later this year, something to look forward to indeed! A two song encore was the icing on the cake, with a blistering take on the well named 'Heavy' from the new album followed by the obligatory scorching version of Purple's 'Burn' bringing the evening to a close, and a huge rapturous reception for Hughes, and his band. Glasgow has always had a place in it's heart for Glenn Hughes, and the feeling is obviously mutual. There's no doubt he felt that love tonight, and I for one, can't wait to see him again.
Campbell Stewart (NHC)
Photo credit - Laurence Harvey