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ConcertsGlenn Hughes The Picture House Edinburgh 20th May 2011

Posted on Wednesday, June 01 2011 @ 19:17:09 CDT by Pete Pardo
Heavy Metal

The fact that even Glenn Hughes jokingly referred to himself during tonight's show as an "Overnight sensation", perfectly illustrates the huge impact that the collaboration with Bonamassa, Bonham and Sherinian, under the Black Country Communion moniker, has had on the profile of this stalwart of the rock, blues, soul and funk scene. Whether his success has come overnight or more accurately over decades, the one thing that Hughes and his supremely talented band were this evening was sensational.

Firing out a set of songs that more renowned artists would kill for, the audience in the beautiful Edinburgh Picture House were treated to blistering tracks from Glenn's time with Trapeze, Deep Purple, Hughes/Thrall and of course his hugely underrated solo output. Oddly, plundering his past bands catalogue on stage is something that Hughes has over the years been criticised for, but when you consider that someone as deservedly lauded as the late great Ronnie James Dio did exactly the same throughout his solo years, then surely Glenn has every right to do so too? Bounding on stage to the Hughes/Thrall number "Muscle And Blood", it is abundantly clear that Glenn and the boys are not here to muck about, with the man himself prowling around like some strange bass wielding velociraptor. Early on guitarist Soren Andersen is happy to take a back seat letting Hughes command every ounce of attention, but it quickly becomes obvious that the key to the phenomenal power of this four piece, is just how tight they are as a unit. Andersen looks like the cat that got the cream and considering that for much of the night he is able to fire out licks and riffs created by the likes of Ritchie Blackmore, Tommy Bolin, Pat Thrall and Mel Galley, who can blame him? To his credit he does each and every one of his predecessors justice and when he and Hughes are backed by the oddly be-hatted Anders Olinder on keyboards (if ever a man looked more relaxed on stage, then I'm yet to see him) and the powerhouse of energy that is drummer Pontus Engborg, there can be only one result a funked up rocking beast that is chock full of soul!

Delving right back to where it began for Hughes, the Trapeze trio of "Touch Of My Life", "Medusa" and "Keepin' Time", the latter of which Hughes introduces with a tribute to his much missed Trapeze mate Galley, sound every bit as vibrant today as they did when they were first written and much though they are often dismissed, the songs from Hughes' solo output are as forceful as their more illustrious set-mates. "Orion" and the incendiary set closer "Soul Mover" prove to be particularly popular; with both also allowing Hughes to remind us that he is also one of the best bassist rock music has seen. That said the strongest reaction of the night is still reserved for the Purple moments "Sail Away", "You Keep On Moving" and "Stormbringer", although the second Hughes/Thrall song of the night, "First Step Of Love" is also welcomed like the old friend it is. Every song in this set is there on merit, however having a truly classic track to end proceedings with is a luxury that every artist wishes they had and in the shape of "Burn", which is still one of the best songs Purple ever committed to vinyl, Hughes has one and then some. Andersen revels in hammering out the oh so familiar riff and Hughes is in imperious vocal form throughout, however it is the man behind the kit who really nails this song, with Engborg pounding every drum break and fill to perfection. No wonder he has a fixed grin by the time the song is done. Even with his considerable reputation, Glenn's vocals are still impressive beyond belief and whether he is hammering out the words to first encore "Addiction", or adding angelic embellishments to the more restrained songs, the sheer power and clarity of his voice has to be heard to be fully appreciated. The media focus may well be on the soon to be released second Black Country Communion album, but on the strength of this scintillating performance Glenn Hughes is still a solo force to be reckoned with and long may that continue!

Steven Reid



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