05 October 2018

Review: Glenn Hughes (& Laurence Jones) @ Leamington Assembly Rooms, 3rd Oct 2018

This was a sell-out gig, which says a lot in these days of dwindling audiences !! Doors opened at 7.00pm, the evening kicked off at 7.30 with the rather wonderful Laurence Jones, who is very much a force of nature at the tender age of 26, delivering a blistering set of original material and covers to a grateful and receptive crowd. With a number of solo albums to his name, a short set with only two tracks from his latest album “The Truth”, but an absolutely stonking cover of “All Along The Watchtower”. He has surrounded himself with a backing band that totally kicks ass, especially the keys guy, who knocked out an organ solo to die for….  If you’re into hard hitting blues oriented rock, this is the man for you – Laurence Jones, a name you’ll be hearing a lot of, awesome stuff !!!

After a short break while the stage was moved around ready for the man himself, if you could be bothered to fight your way thru’ the crowds and queues for the bar and toilet, the atmosphere was palpable and with temperatures rising, the stage was set (literally) for an evening of Classic Rock.

So, Glenn Hughes, back in his beloved Midlands, or shall we call him “Benjamin Button” ?? I’m sure the man is getting younger every time I see him, especially as he has more hair than every other bloke in the room PUT TOGETHER !! A true legend and at a time in his life when most blokes are looking forward to a free bus pass and tv licence, at the tender age of 65, is but a mere spring chicken when you look at the likes of Mick Box (71), Jeff Beck (74), Mick Jagger (75), Dave Brock (77) and Ian Hunter (79) – proof that rock music keeps you young and that voice – shiiiiit, can he belt it out, putting guys 40 years younger to shame, he is indeed a freak of nature. The fact he is 9 months into a 2 year touring cycle (the longest he’s done since 1976 apparently !!!), is nothing short of amazing……

Taking to the stage with a rousing version of “Stormbringer” surrounded by a backing band of epic proportions, he sure knows how to pick ‘em….. If you look at the legacy of music we witnessed tonight, to replace Ritchie Blackmore and the very much missed Jon Lord, you SO need to ensure that the guys are gonna perform  – and perform they most certainly did !! Close your eyes and you could have been attending a DP gig in EVERY way and once again – that voice.

Focusing on the period Glenn was with the band, we had classics like “Sail Away”, “Gettin’ Tighter”, “You Keep On Moving”, “Mistreated”,  “You Fool No One”, “High Ball Shooter” and the immortal “Smoke On The Water” (let’s face it, if you’re doing an evening of DP music, you HAVE to do “Smoke…”) – impeccable in every way.

Throughout the set, Glenn was courteous enough to give the guitarist and keys guy free rein – fucking superb, these guys are bloody good. Veering more toward the keyboard side of things myself, I was very impressed with the Hammond solo – Keith Emerson would have been proud, absolutely magnificent. I just could NOT fault the musicianship at all, but the doubt was never in my mind that tonight’s set would be anything other than superb.

I suppose it was inevitable what the encore would be, but no – we had a double whammy – “Highway Star” AND “Burn” and the crowd went wild !! What can I say ???

If you’re anywhere near a Deep Purple fan and crave a bygone age when music was the key to a happy and contented life, you SO need to check out this tour. Rockin’, Rollin’ and Rivetin’, with plenty of inbetween song audience rapport, he had the entire room on his side and just to put it to bed – “Yes Glenn, we love you too man”. Top notch entertainment, worth every penny !

Full credit to Jola Stiles for the amazing pix !!