Live at Opera House - York, UK

  • Life affirming, time stopping, heart and soul lifting, as good as it can be music.

    - York was That Good

  • Glenn Hughes York Opera House
    23 May 2011

    Apart from having my camera knocked out of my hand on entry by one excited punter bless him, I was greatly looking forward to seeing “Hughesy” in a very different UK venue to the ones I had been to thus far. My icon playing in one of England’s most captivating cities. Potentially a perfect evening.

    The booking of this classy venue which has welcomed the likes of Blackmore’s Night in recent years and Laurel and Hardy a little further back, shows just how far Glenn Hughes has come recently with the formation of Black Country Communion and an impressive solo back catalogue too. The good offices of Mark Taylor have already produced a start of tour review. So rather than repeat the set list, I thought I would offer a different angle in the light of the new ‘Phoenix Rising’ release.

    Glenn has always chosen a stealthy path when it comes to all things Purple. I have seen him flaunt it the back catalogue in say Eastern Europe and then reduce it to two songs e.g. Burn and A.N Other in the UK.

    Tonight there were no real surprises in the set list with the objective being to show a few more parts of the UK what they have been missing in previous years. Tonight ‘You Keep on Moving,’ ‘Stormbringer,’ ‘Sail Away’ and ‘Burn’ were the choices. I didn’t catch Glenn to chat to before I hot tailed it back to Liverpool, but I was intrigued by the ‘Stormbringer’ re-working as it was a Blackmore track. The only one according to Mark’s interview! Not since Legends of Rock in 2002 had I heard Glenn play it.

    Nevertheless I like the way he, Anders Olinder, Pontus Engborg and Soren Andersen handled the old classic, giving it a little more space and spice than the original riff driven arrangement. The enigmatic ‘Sail Away’ too was a repeat from the last tour, but this has matured as a fan favourite. I mean what’s this F word every time Glenn is mentioned? Funk? ‘Sail Away’ isn’t funk. It’s groove music and let’s have a butchers at the way heads and bodies moved and grooved across the hall before we settle down and choose convenient categories.

    Out of the players, Pontus has dovetailed well with the Hughes bass and we now have an established unit with Anders Olinder once again excelling in his role as the Quiet Man with the Fender Rhodes taking precedence over the overdriven Hammond. He is my pick of the solo band and long may he provide a foil to the histrionics of the main man and his lady magnet, Soren Andersen. Lovely guy is Soren but I was watching my Jo’s movements like a hawk as he strutted his Bolinesque frame across this grand old stage. Pah!

    Purple Daze aside,I haven’t mentioned Trapeze’s ‘Medusa’ which matures with age and a testament to Mel Galley nor ‘Soul Mover’ and has become a modern classic, both of these fan faves benefiting tonight from the warm acoustics.

    But I was more than pleased to see ‘Addiction’ established as an encore. During his recovery, he chose not to play what I see as one of my favourite (if painful) solo albums. In the context of the new ‘Phoenix Rising’ Purple package it’s appropriate that it’s dusted off and given a damn good kicking which is what Glenn did to his habit.

    And we say Amen to that.

    The camera thing? Ah it’s only a camera. Phoenix Nights this weekend in Brum Civic Hall and then a BCC tour. Oh and Beloved Wolves stayed in the Premiership. Now there’s an omen!

    Muscle And Blood
    Touch My Life
    Sail Away
    First Step Of Love
    You Got Soul
    Keepin' Time
    Can't Stop The Flood
    You Keep On Moving
    Soul Mover


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