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The Robin, nr.
Wolverhampton 20 September 2008
made another triumphant return to his Midland UK fan base last night with
a special gig at The Robin to mark its anniversary.
Ever confident Mr. Hughes strode on stage on his own with a red acoustic and set
to work on the Trapeze back catalogue which don't normally see the light of day
with a full band.
Apart from the venue's own celebrations, this was also a homecoming for the late
Mel Galley who passed away earlier this year. Galley, founder of Trapeze and
guitarist for Whitesnake, was one of Glenn's stable friends and confidantes
through all the trials and tribulations of this often crazy business.
The "Evening With" market has burgeoned over the last few years and Glenn Hughes
slips nicely into the natural role of witty raconteur with "backstage" accounts
about luminaries such as Jon Lord, Sharon Osborne and David Bowie. Once the Joel
McIvor biography is out in early 2009, I can see many peeping over their cosy
country parapets with some anxiety prior to this kiss and tell account. Jools
Holland would do well to get his teeth into some of this before the book is
Not that Glenn is dishing the dirt for the sake of it. He sees it as a story
long overdue. Purple's PR machine went into overdrive in 76 perpetrating the
myths of Hughes singlehandedly destroying Purple by fu(c)(n)king it up.
Another perspective is in the pipeline and ready to burn those yellowed press
releases. Garry Moore's famous jibes about Glenn's penchant for Colombian
imports, have gone thus far unchecked. People in glass houses spring to mind.
But it's the music that always counts. Glenn Hughes is a proficient guitarist
and in fact started out with the instrument before Mel Galley said he could join
Trapeze on bass. Imperfection off the F.UN.K album was all the more soulful for
losing some of the production layers off the original. Anders Olinder supplies a
perfect foil with his Fender Rhodes interludes which underpinned Glenn Hughes's
jazz vocal intonation.
Hughes' early Trapeze songs such as Seaful , a highlight of the acoustic part of
the set, showed the incredible maturity of a song writing teenager when they
were stripped down to unplugged essentials.
Glenn Hughes revealed that some years later he adopted the practice of writing
his songs in the dark. This was the case with his first post Purple solo
offering, Play Me Out from which the last track I Found a Woman was well
Holy Man which closed the acoustic section was a revelation. What a quality
song, often reviled by many Purple fans who saw it as instrumental to Ritchie
Blackmore's departure from DP Mark 3. Claptrap! Ritchie Blackmore had been
planning 100% control of a band long before he left the studio to Glenn Hughes
and David Coverdale's so called double time tango or worse, "shoeshine music."
Wasn't this about musical differences and not scapegoats? Hughes was recruited
from Trapeze for his funky style in the first place.
By the time the full band of Matt Goom and guitarist Tony Rennie joined the fun
for the full band set, an impressive back catalogue had already been revealed.
Glenn Hughes's song writing ability was gathering pace in the early 70's.
Trapeze's ballad Coast to Coast was the first of the quality standards which had
matured by the time of Deep Purple's Come Taste the Band. I hadn't heard This
Time Around live for some time and was almost startled as to how bold this song
actually was. Sometimes you have to ask yourself whether you are liking a piece
simply because it has associations with a grand brand. But no. This Hughes Lord
collaboration typified the potential that Mark 4 had before the Kali Mist
displaced the spotlights and dry ice.
An emotional moment when the late Mel Galley's wife joined Glenn on stage for a
presentation. There was no doubt to whom this show was dedicated. Instead of
grabbing his familiar bass, Glenn announced that he was going to play the holy
grail of guitars, Mel's black beauty, his Gibson Les Paul.
this section was Superstition in which Glenn played all the signature
fills associated with that blockbuster.
Trapeze's Black Cloud showed why that band could regularly hack it on bills with
the likes of the Moody Blues in America's stadia before international stardom
with the mighty Purple beckoned.
Once Tony Rennie and Glenn swapped to their more comfortable roles, Mistreated
was broadly the same version that Hughes took on the first leg of his European
tour and a crowd pleaser at that.
The Bolin/Hughes song, Getting Tighter, again from Come Taste the Band, was a
further example of the hit single that might have occurred had the outfit
survived its pressures. This ten minute version must stay in the set plans. It
further accentuates Glenn Hughes's claim to be the godfather of funk based rock
which makes the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers so popular now.
The Q&A in between was a soft diversion with ever efficient Tour Manager Tonio,
affectionately known also to fans of UFO, strict in his 10 questions role. When
Hughes was pressed about who he would like to work with, Stevie Wonder was the
main hub of the reply. Jeff Beck on guitar. Anyone else? Glenn shrugged and
Tonio jumped in and said "yeah Stevie Wonder, next question please," to hearty
laughter from the audience.
There was no
joy for those looking for a firm reposte to the possibility of
collaborating with Coverdale. Hughes revealed that they email each other
seven days a week and it seems that will be the sum total of the
And so once the back stage ticket package had been fulfilled, punters went away
happy that the Voice of Rock (is there really a challenger on the same planet in
08?) was in as good a form as his beloved Wolves who lie on top of the division.
If you want a taste of the full band which will include the addition of Luis
Maldanado, they play four dates in Spain followed by a whole Russian tour
when they take on the current Deep Purple town for town. Don't bet on a tired
Mark 8 getting their own way on ticket sales!
Review by Keith Thompson
Photos: Lee Millward
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