It’s a drizzly evening on Teesside, but the arrival of rock legend Glenn Hughes is about to turn tonight’s forecasted precipitation into Purple Rain.
Over the last two and a half years, the Voice of Rock has been trotting the globe as part of his Glenn Hughes Performs Classic Deep Purple Live tour. Tonight’s show at the majestic Middlesbrough Town Hall is the penultimate date on a tour that started in Melbourne, Australia in September 2017.
And what better day to reflect on his time in the Mk. III and Mk. IV line-ups of Deep Purple than on this Throwback Thursday. And whilst Hughes may now live in California, home is still where the heart is, as the man himself arrives on stage bedecked in a union jack blazer.
During this evening’s show, Glenn Hughes channels Deep Purple’s California Jam set. And with the miserable weather outside ‘Stormbringer’ is the perfect opener for the occasion. Whilst the infectious melody of ‘Might Just Take Your Life’ is truly a joy to behold.
Throughout the evening, Hughes reflects on many of his former bandmates including Ritchie Blackmore, the late great Tommy Bolin and local hero David Coverdale. The latter of which hailing from nearby Saltburn on Sea. But the beauty of tonight’s show is that it also allows Glenn to share fascinating backstories as to how many of these treasured Deep Purple compositions came to fruition.
Each of the songs in tonight’s set is strung out and performed to perfection. By his admittance ‘You Fool No One’ is a long song, but it allows Glenn to showcase his astounding vocal range. His voice has aged just like a fine wine, and tonight there is no holding him back. The same sentiment applies during his exhibition of vocal acrobatics throughout ‘You Keep On Moving’. Hughes makes his vocal performance seem effortless all night long.
Hughes is joined onstage by versatile drummer Ash Sheehan, who puts in a powerful performance that would rank him as one of the best on the circuit. Whilst stalwart guitarist Soren Anderson aka ‘Mr Dependable’ serves up Blackmore’s trademark licks with precision and much enthusiasm.
Tonight’s picture is completed by keyboard player Vince DiCola – an artist who is better known for his work on Hollywood soundtracks such as Rocky IV and Transformers, but following a recommendation from Toto’s Bobby Kimble finds himself on the road for the first time.
Now two years on the road together, this band are certainly ‘Getting Tighter’ all the time.
The main set is brought to a close with an epic rendition of ‘Mistreated’, which is followed by one of the most unmistakable tracks in rock history ‘Smoke on the Water’ and one last chance for Hughes to showcase his incredible voice with a soulful acapella take of ‘Georgia on my Mind’. Hughes and company leave the stage to a standing ovation.
Of course, the night would not be complete without signature tune ‘Burn’, before ‘Highway Star’ closes out the evening properly.
Tonight may have been about the past but with a career with the Dead Daisies beckoning a new chapter is about to unfold for Glenn Hughes, so here’s to the future.
Brit rockers Piston has been gaining a lot of attention this year, proving to be one of the standout bands in the currently thriving NWOCR scene and tonight’s opening set is a testament to this. The band arrives on Teesside fresh off the back of their appearance on the recent Planet Rock Roadstars tour and also a run with The Cult.
And with an arsenal of radio playlisted anthems in their setlist such as ‘Rainmaker’ and ‘One More Day’, the fellow Midlands natives win over a whole raft of new fans on Teesside. Whilst a rocking cover of ‘Proud Mary’ proves to be the cherry on the top of an incredible opening set. You can expect big things to come from Piston in 2020.