Glenn Hughes (2019)

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Glenn Hughes - City Hall, Salisbury (UK) - 17 November 2019

I am not sure there will ever be a tougher gig to decide about going to nor to eventually attend. I tend to try and keep personal matters out of reviews as I am not totally convinced they are relevant, not outside of opinions about the music at any rate. However, it would be totally remiss of me not to preface this review with some background.

I attended this gig last weekend in heart-breaking circumstances. On the Wednesday before it, my Mum sadly passed away after a long battle with illness; despite her condition, this came as an unbelievable shock. It took until the day of the show itself for me to decide to go. I am sure some will be surprised that I went, but there is a very good, almost fate-like reason for it. My Mum's favourite band was Deep Purple. Not only was this a concert from an ex-member of Deep Purple in Glenn Hughes (who also happens to be the last living notable member of said group I haven't seen live before), but the show itself was Hughes performing Deep Purple songs. Therefore, in honour of my Mum – given the show was an ex-Deep Purple member playing Deep Purple songs – it seemed only right and indeed fitting I should attend in celebration of her life if nothing else... after all, my expansive taste in music (and specifically Rock and Metal) comes from my Mum.

I must add a personal apology to the opening act. It was my intention to cover them as well, but upon arriving and seeing Deep Purple mentioned everywhere (as well as adverts for the Meat Loaf musical – an all-time favourite artist of my Mum) it all became a bit too emotional and thus I stayed out in the foyer. I do hope they will forgive me on this occasion.

At around nine o'clock, Hughes appeared on stage to a massive cheer and proceeded to entertain the fairly packed crowd for around two hours. Looking at the set-list online, it seems amazing to think there were only ten or so songs listed, but many had little inserts, some extended musical sections and, of course, there were several monologues from Hughes about the songs. What was also of massive interest was some of the members of the band he had backing him up; there was Soren Anderson on guitar, who has appeared several times in Fireworks with solo albums, and for me most excitingly Vince DiCola on keyboards. I have been a huge fan of the latter for many years having loved his soundtrack work – 'Rocky IV' and 'Transformers: The Movie' both feature music by DiCola and have been a part of my life since before I was a teenager.

Hughes opened with 'Stormbringer' and right from that moment, I knew my decision to attend was the right one. It was a cracking rendition and a great start that was then followed by 'Might Just Take Your Life' and 'You Keep On Moving'. The drum solo made an early appearance around this point (there was a lovely story about his background but I must confess I didn't get his name). As ever with me, I found it clever and inventive, but it did feel like it sapped some momentum and also went on a bit long. 'Sail Away' and 'You Fool No One'/'High Ball Shooter' then made an appearance, and we were treated to a nice story about David Coverdale (complete with an impression) to which Hughes mentioned, "Glenn, you should probably stop digging yourself a hole." Following 'Gettin' Tighter', Hughes performed 'Mistreated' which is another song I absolutely adore, and one that also has a Whitesnake connection thus the extra enthusiasm for the appearance of this number. The main set closed out with a barnstorming rendition of 'Smoke On The Water' which I am sure will surprise no one to hear that it went down a bomb. Hughes then returned to deliver 'Burn' (which he stated he'd be lynched if he didn't play it) and finally an extended version of 'Highway Star' to round the evening off.

I am truly glad I went this evening, despite how difficult it was at times, because it was a truly entertaining night. The musical performances were great, the song choices included all I could ask for (I am glad he didn't go for 'Child In Time' as being one of my Mum's three favourite songs, it would have been too much) and Hughes himself was outstanding. I remarked a couple of times how good his voice sounded and how strong it was. As much as I love Coverdale (and admire Ian Gillan, Ozzy Osbourne and Robert Plant), Hughes' vocal power and screams did somewhat put them in the shade. I had a great time tonight in truly difficult circumstances and that is thanks to the wonderful Hughes. His chats were insightful and often amusing, and he gave it his all throughout; it was also a nice touch to see him thank the audience on several occasions. He announced near the end that he is unlikely to tour with this music again so it was indeed a special occasion all around, and I thank Glenn Hughes for providing a little light and joy at a truly dark time personally.

Dave Scott

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