Glenn Hughes | Islington Assembly Hall | 21 January 2017
(Photo: Eric Duvet)
“I’m all about love and giving the love back,” admits Glenn Hughes. And, during an impassioned London show, that’s exactly what he delivers: every song is performed with all his heart and soul, every spoken gratitude filled with genuine appreciation for an audience who willingly reciprocate – whether it’s for the man himself, his music, or his ill mother.
Never is this shared affection more evident than during the quiet moments of a deeply affecting ‘You Keep On Moving’. As Hughes raises his indomitable voice to the heavens, its simultaneous power and fragility moves a packed Islington Assembly Hall to uncharacteristic silence and – as the moment of intimacy ends – deafening roars, some fuelled by beer, most by love.
But tonight’s about more than love – rock gets a good look-in. So ‘Medusa’, a song he wrote as a 17-year-old at his mom’s kitchen table, sounds more epic than ever before, capped off with an incendiary monitor-top solo from guitarist Soren Andersen. The ferocious ‘Black Country’, with that galloping bassline and Pontus Engborg nearly demolishing his drum kit, could feature on the soundtrack to the apocalypse.
A seismic ‘Can’t Stop The Flood’, embellished by organ fills from new keyboard player Jay Boe, explodes into a singalong of “I’ve got my freak flag flying again”. Black Country Communion’s steamrolling ‘One Last Soul’ sounds nothing short of unstoppable. A free-flowing ‘Gettin’ Tighter’, with its extended bass guitar breakdown, gives all the musicians (but especially Hughes) the chance to show off their considerable chops. And ‘Soul Mover’ quite simply stomps all over the stage.
Sitting comfortably alongside such highlights of a 50-year career are choice selections from titanic new album ‘Resonate’. The swaggering ‘Flow’, all big riffs and soaring choruses, is more than up to the task of opening the set. ‘Stumble & Go’ is no-nonsense rock ‘n roll with a searing Andersen slide solo. With its refrain of “this is my love, this is my soul”, the muscular ‘My Town’ allows Hughes to reiterate his mission statement. And ‘Heavy’ not only lives up to its title but stands tall alongside inevitable set closer ‘Burn’ that, in all its glory, ends an already emotional evening on a euphoric high.
Monday 23 January: The Robin 2, Bilston
Tuesday 24 January: The Garage, Glasgow
Thursday 26 January: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
Friday 27 January: O2 Academy 2, Manchester
Sunday 29 January: Sub 89, Reading
Monday 30 January: The Junction, Cambridge
Wednesdy 1 February: The Church, Leeds
Thusday 2 February: The Fleece, Bristol