Glenn Hughes - Manchester Academy 29th October 2023 Review

Glenn Hughes – Manchester Academy 29th October 2023 Live Review



Glenn Hughes is a survivor. He survived the excesses of the 70’s, the messy demise of Deep Purple Mk4 and the death of his good friend Tommy Bolin.

He survived the 80’s and widely reported excesses while recording with Gary Moore and others.(Hughes/Thrall, Black Sabbath ‘Seventh Star’, the Phenomena albums and more).

More recently, he’s survived heart surgery and emerged with new hair and new teeth! But he doesn’t just still look the part. Somehow, Glenn Hughes has unfathomably managed to retain the singing voice he had at 23 years of age at the California Jam and tonight, hailed back to that legendary performance.

I’ve seen Glenn play a Deep Purple set similar to this before. Seen him with his solo band, with Black Country Communion and with the Dead Daisies, but this tour is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of ‘Burn’ and of that legendary California Jam set. Yet, rather than open with ‘Burn’, that was saved for tonight’s final encore. They opened with ‘Stormbringer’ as a statement of intent before the Hammond organ sound reminiscent of the late Jon Lord led into an immaculate ‘Might Just Take Your Life’.

‘Sail Away’ followed before the show took an almost ‘An Evening With…’ moment, as Glenn took time to speak about California Jam (surprised he can remember much about it!l and explain how the band were forced to play earlier than expected, much to the discontent of Richie Blackmore. Disgruntled about this, Richie plotted his ‘revenge’, which involved him setting fire to his guitar during ‘You Fool No One’ None of the band knew he was going to do this!

Fortunately, tonight’s guitar player and long time guitar player for Glenn, Soren Andersen, didn’t set fire to anything and no guitars were harmed (well, maybe a little) during the performance of the song tonight. This was where the gig started to feel like what I imagine California Jam was like. I was only 10 in 1974. But the way the band extended the song into massive jams and break downs is what we hear when we listen to all those Deep Purple live albums that have surfaced over recent years.

Glenn’s band on this tour deserve recognition too. Guitar player Soren Andersen is ideal for Glenn. Apart from bearing a physical similarity to Tommy Bolin, Soren is a very versatile player. He can play all the Blackmore stuff impeccably and recreate that sound and just as easily switch to the ‘Soulmover’ funk sound if required. Drummer Ash Sheehan is a real powerhouse drummer capable of filling the shoes of Ian Paice admirably but it’s keyboard player Bob Fridzema that I want to tip the hat to tonight. Bob must have watched videos of Jon Lord on repeat since he was a child because he absolutely NAILED Jon Lord’s live abuse of the Hammond and other keyboards and the keyboards were so high in the live mix that it just sounded SO right!

‘Getting Tighter’ was sandwiched between ‘Mistreated’ and ‘You Keep on Moving’ to end the main set with encores of ‘Highway Star’ and a colossal version of ‘Burn’ to close proceedings.

By now, Glenn will be in South America, taking this tour there, but he told us that the next Black Country Communion album is done and that he intends to write another new solo Glenn Hughes album next year too. So if you missed Glenn this time, you may well get another chance to witness the spectacle. (Check videos of ‘You Fool No One’, ‘Highway Star’ and ‘Burn’ from this set at Manchester Academy on 29th Oct ’23 on Youtube)

Glenn Hughes acknowledges his past mistakes. He knows time is precious and he has more to give in the time he has left. So next time the opportunity arises, come taste the band!

Chris McGlyn | Now Spinning Magazine

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