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Civic Hall, Wolverhampton 29 December 2010
which greeted Black Country Communion showed that the UK is more than
ready to take the band to its hearts. Glenn Hughes's assertion that this
band will be 'making music for years to come' filled this particular
scribe with an element of reassurance that this is no 'quick fix' super
group, but an organic being which has tremendous potential to take the
world by storm.
We must remember that this was set up on the basis of strength not
weakness. No one's career was on the decline when BCC was announced. So
it was formed for all the right reasons. Hats off then to Kevin Shirley
who flew over for this momentous debut and was seen in the wings smiling
like a Cheshire Cat, and so he should.
Joanne Shaw Taylor was first up with half a dozen songs from her
excellent album. The title track 'Diamonds and Dirt' was the pick of an
enticing bunch with a narrative lyric and a richly expressive Telecaster
too. An appreciative crowd saw the added value in assembling for such an
exciting rising star in what, dare I say, is a revival in young blues
based rock. I am thinking Philip Sayce and Oli Brown in the same breath.
It was heartening to see, for someone who has been an active camp
follower since 2003, the Voice of Rock playing to 3,000 souls rather
than the faithful who follow him come rain or shine. I saw Thin Lizzy,
Bad Co. and even some nu metal logos emblazoned on T-shirts and hoodies
But this of
course is more than Mr. Hughes whose 'Voice of Rock' moniker is looking
all the more convincing with this already successful career move. Joe
Bonamassa is a legend before his time while Jason Bonham showed where
his heart actually is. Derek Sherinian provides the anchor. This is a
'Black Country' set the scene in breathtaking style with 'One Last Soul'
bringing us into a more bluesy mode. Indeed most of the set came from
the opening album which I reviewed here on GRTR! 'Song of Yesterday' saw
Joe Bonamassa sharing the role of mein host while Glenn Hughes was
content to play bass and add backing vocals on this epic song that has
already become a classic.
played his heart out and there was true emotion in his eyes when Glenn
Hughes mentioned his dad together with the assertion that the Black
Country was where rock music began. When you think about it, it's not
such an outrageous claim.
Having said that, there was no Zeppelin. Oh and not surprisingly no
Sabbath either. I was half expecting 'Moby Dick,' but there was
Trapeze's 'Medusa' which was re worked for the album and met with
enthusiastic applause, even though it's unlikely that most of the
audience had heard it before.
Bonamassa's performance was outstanding. He exuded class from the time
he plucked the opening notes and his own 'Ballad of John Henry' was
afforded a spontaneous cheer from the packed venue.
discovered Bonamassa six years ago and became a fan long before BCC was
mooted. So it was with some joyous surprise that I heard some of the
early jams with Glenn played down the phone to me.
My own self
confessed bias is towards Glenn Hughes and I make no apologies for the
anecdotes. I first saw him play in '76 in front of a similar sized
audience with Deep Purple. The gig has almost become notorious as being
the death of an institution but, like all good film endings, emotional
It was therefore fantastic to witness one who I have trumpeted for many
years finally return to the big stage on his terms, and not to fulfil
someone else's contractual obligation. Purple's 'Burn' was the single
encore which brought the place to a crescendo. I have seen this
performed umpteen times before, but this time it was special.
Long may this band continue. I note from our exit leaflets that Glenn is
doing another solo tour in May 2011. While I will be there for GRTR!, I
equally hope that there will be further live activity from BCC very
'Rockwaves' on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 21:00
supplies band PR and promo video for GRTR! and glennhughes.com
London, 30 December
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