“You seem to be stuck in that era of the 60’s and 70’s”, it has been said to me on numerous occasions, and it is at gigs like this when you realise that it is OK to be stuck in the past. Cheltenham Town Hall was nothing short of a time capsule on Friday night (22 November) when Glenn Hughes appeared on stage to perform his version of Deep Purple as part of the second leg of his tour. This is the music that Gillan’s Purple no longer plays, he explained, while this is what the core of the band always has been. The raw, high emotion and energy charged classic rock was what made them who they are. This is what their legacy is about; what made them the iconic band of a few generations across the globe.
The hall was packed with what looked like lifelong dedicated fans of the band. The choice of venue seemed interesting to begin with: a classical concert hall is not what Deep Purple would ordinarily be associated with, yet it was the perfect place for this concert by somehow bringing us back to a few decades ago.
The performance was exactly what it said on the tin: 100 per cent pure raw Deep Purple. Glenn Hughes was who is, with his still brilliant voice and huge personality. He managed to strike the perfect balance between being this iconic star responsible for making rock history while also being a natural, down to earth and warm entertainer who likes chatting to the audience and casually telling tales of those times when he went round to Blackmore’s or Coverdale’s houses… as you do. Just to put things in a gentle perspective for us, reminding us that what was performed on stage was the very essence of classic rock history.
The beauty of this show was that it was all about Deep Purple, not just about Glenn Hughes. No hard feelings or bad mouthing about “the other” Deep Purple. This was a genuine, loving, warm version of the legendary band and the best possible tribute to their heritage, as presented by one of “them”. It did demonstrate that “The Voice of Rock” is still at its best, that he is just as energetic and charismatic as ever, but he did also step away and let the other members of the band shine with some brilliant solos on drums and guitar. Hughes demonstrated the range of his versatile talent by deviating briefly from the main theme and delving into another dimension with Ray Charles’ “Georgia”: perhaps a bit unconventional but very warmly welcomed by the crowd.
The setlist included songs selected by Glenn, ones that shaped his career and life. Tribute was paid to the whole spectrum of Deep Purple’s classical acts which made it a very special evening. It was a privilege to share this magical journey down Memory Lane amongst a sea of like minded fellow fans.
Glenn winds up his run of UK dates with a (close to) hometown show in Birmingham on Friday 29th November.
Might Just Take Your Life
You Fool No One/High Ball Shooter/The Mule/Drum Solo
You Keep On Moving
Gettin’ Tighter/You Gotta Dance To The Rock and Roll
Smoke on the Water/Georgia on My Mind
10. Highway Star
Review by Angie K