LIVE – Glenn Hughes, Islington Academy (5/10/10)
Tonight’s venue was London’s O2’s Islington Academy. I’ve been privileged enough to see Glenn Hughes a couple of times recently – firstly at last year’s Childline Rocks event at the IndigO2, then at High Voltage in the Heaven and Hell tribute to Dio. Both events showed me why he has the monicker ‘The Voice Of Rock’, so I was eager to find out what he would deliver on his own tour.
A fit, relaxed, smiling Hughes took to the stage for opener Muscle And Blood. The drum skin and backdrop proclaimed ‘Built to last’ – very fitting, as during the course of the evening Hughes showed that after decades in the business, he’s not about to start slowing down any time soon.
Sail Away was the first Deep Purple track to be aired, with Hughes getting straight into the groove and covering the whole stage with seemingly boundless energy. He keeps bandmates Soren Anderson (guitar) , Pontus Engborg (drums) and Anders Olinders (keyboards) on their toes, but all do an admirable job of keeping up with him and together they form an impressively tight unit.
Can’t Stop The Flood was the number to really get the crowd warmed up and moving, and then Hughes introduced Medusa, a Trapeze era song that’s been re-recorded by Black Country Communion and appears on the Black Country album.
The pivotal moment of the gig for me was Don’t Let Me Bleed – an absolutely beautiful performance, showcasing Hughes’ jaw-dropping vocals to perfection.
This track quite literally gave me goosebumps and (very unexpectedly) brought a lump to my throat. Stunning. As I looked around the venue, it was clear that I wasn’t the only one affected like this!
Keepin’ Time was dedicated to the late Mel Galley, and allowed drummer Pontus Engborg to let rip with a drum solo that seemed to go down pretty well with the audience. Throughout the show, Hughes’ interaction with the crowd was warm and genuine, he comes across as a man at ease with himself, genuinely delighted to be playing, and truly appreciative of the support from his fans.
Soul Mover finished the main set on a high, with Hughes encouraging the willing crowd to sing along – not that they needed any prompting.
The band returned for two more numbers, with Deep Purple’s Burn bringing an energetic, passionate set to a rocking close. This was an absolute delight of a gig, may there be many more like it!