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Mean Fiddler, London 21 October 2003

A near full Mean Fiddler, which was a pleasant surprise given AC/DC were playing the same night! Caught openers Firebird on their second number, the band formed after guitarist/vocalist Bill Steer left grindcore metallers Carcass. But here the band play blues rock as a solid trio and it's very 70's in feel. I was thinking the songs a bit samey until midway through their set when they really took off and featured some real no-nonsense rockers and great slide work from Steer. Closed the set with a foot stomper driven along by harmonica - Blackfoot came to my mind on this one. I am a convert and will be seeking out their two studio albums to date. A well suited opener for once.

So to Glenn Hughes... Saw him live for the first time last eyar on the excellent Legends of Rock tour when he was the star of the show. He looks bloody good for someone whose led the life he has, especially when you look at his contempories like Ozzy. The voice is as powerful as ever and he has kept his range, right up to those trademark screams (leaves the Darkness in the shade!). Opened with 'In My Blood' of the excellent new album 'Songs In The Key Of Rock' and good to see many of the audience familiar with the new material. Other tracks of the new album included 'Wherever You Go', possibly the weakest track of the night and 'Higher Places', a tribute to Led Zep's John Bonham and it has a big Led Zep riff running through it.

Trapeze got a look in with 'Seafall', a funky little number with some neat keys from Lasse Pollack. Indeed the band were very tight including long-time guitarist JJ Marsh (or JJ Blondmore as Glenn called him) and ex-Electric Boys/Silver Ginger 5 drummer Tomas Broman. Four Deep Purple songs in the set including the epic 'Mistreated' with JJ marsh nailing those Blackmore solos to a tee, 'Getting Tighter', 'You Keep On Moving' and of course the set closer, 'Burn'. Even got 'Seventh Star' in the encores from Glenn's ill fated Sabbath days.

Superb gig, with Glenn Hughes on fine form (plenty of on stage banter and he seemed genuinely pleased to be back in London) and voice. Good news in that that he wilkl be back in the UK next year, along with Joe Lynn Turner, for some HTP shows. Just wish he'd play some Phenomena tunes!

Review: Jason Ritchie

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