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Prague, Zlin and Budapest 19-22 May

Glenn Hughes: Prague, Zlin and Budapest 19-22 May

We all came out to the Budapest on the Danube shoreline to make a video with the Funkmeister. Or should I say, all I hear is Burrrrrrrrn the DVD.

We caught the tour as Glenn was emerging from Germany into Prague and we wanted to see how the new material from FUNK was translating live.

Oil and Water stood out the best from the new on that night. Prog rock laced with Glenn's brand of funk and a riff of Iommiesque proportions. The considered swing of We Shall be Free also sat well among the more established tunes such as Mistreated which Glenn treats skilfully, dovetailing a vocal solo just when you think the Purple classic has ended. The dramatic opener Crave sets the scene well and I prefer it, as a fanfare, to the title track of Music for the Divine on the last tour.

By the time we reached Budapest, I'd made my mind up that FUNK will provide a strong basis for future Glenn Hughes sets along with the modern established classics such as his signature song Soul Mover, Don't Let Me Bleed and Steppin' On.

This is the horn of the dilemma for an artist of Glenn's experience and integrity. He has often said that a set laced with Deep Purple Mk3 and 4 numbers would not do it for him. One of the biggest criticisms of Mark 8 is that it may have become cabaret.

It's an unwinnable debate as sections of the audience will undoubtedly expect more of what they know, but for the record Glenn is content with just the two on this tour. Burn was executed energetically and received enthusiastically on all three dates.

The wizened beards alongside the pretty faces reflected Hughes's wish to freshen up his fan base. Standing at the mixing desk for Budapest, it was during the second vocal solo on Don't Let Me Bleed that many of the slimmer sorority tended to take a nature break. Glenn's incredible vocal talents would be better demonstrated by a ballad say the subtle soulful meanderings of Imperfection from the new album.

I'd also love him to surprise us with a revisit of the autobiographical Addiction at some point. But I am being greedy.

Glenn Hughes: Prague, Zlin and Budapest 19-22 May

This is a fine band with Anders Olinder being allowed to express himself on Fender Rhodes without using the Hammond Organ as a reference. Luis Maldanado uses his retro Tommy Bolin style Echoplex as a rhythm enhancer.

With most digital sounds being so sanitised these days, it's good to see an artist taking risks and with JJ Marsh the twin guitars gives a welcome dimension. With Matt Goom on a Bonham Ludwig kit, this is as tight and focused band as I have seen Glenn perform with. The sound quality was excellent.

And the bass player? You will see in Glenn's interview that he wants the bass to drive the songs. With this double Ampeg backline, wear some garters if you are attending Wolverhampton, Liverpool or London this weekend. It's the first time since 1976 for the Liverpudlians. By his own admission he 'should be dead.' Thankfully he is very much alive and still making big waves instead of relying on the ripples of the past.

Review and photos by Keith Thompson


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Video by Keith Thompson © 2008 All rights reserved.

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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