Live Over Europe

Black Country Communion

Watching Live Over Europe, and you're lead to believe Black Country Communion is the biggest fucking band in the world. The cinematic cutaways, the booming orchestral introduction and interludes, the heavy statements from members of the band - it all makes for some extraordinary theater.

But even singer and bassist Glenn Hughes admits: "We're not trying to change the world. We're just having fun…we're a rock and roll band." That has to be the biggest understatement of what Live Over Europe is. With two albums in the can and more on the way, these guys are having more fun that you can imagine.

If you play it up, it's bound to come off larger than life. That isn't to say Black Country Communion doesn't deserve the treatment, because they're most certainly of the caliber. BCC isn't your typical supergroup - Hughes practically bounced Jason Bonham on his knee during a visit with his Zeppelin drumming dad. That's not the usual way bands come together - or maybe it is.

The fact that Joe Bonamassa, as a renowned blues soloist, boils down his style to the basic tenets of riffology, sprinkled with sparkling leads wedged in between, to add a sweet and seasoned twist to BCC mix says it all - or at least a good portion.

Who can argue after seeing Hughes sing his ass off and slamming the bass as if his life depended on it. From the opening "Black Country" right through the ending credits roll over on "Smokestack Woman," the former Deep Purple bassist is relentless in his commitment and execution.

And Jason Bonham? Let's just say the guy is the heartbeat of BCC. Oh yeah, he never lets up, be it laying down the groove on "One Last Soul," setting up a rock-steady tempo to the "The Battle Of Hadrian's Wall," or paradiddling through the trenches of "The Outsider."

Derek Sherinian is a man of texture and ambience. His understated keyboard work weaves in a melodic lining to each and every BCC song - a subtle, yet necessary element that gives the tracks flavor and color. But make no mistake - when those gaps need to be filled, Sherinian is ready to swing his mitts about and make some noise.

Together on Live Over Europe, BCC blaze through 18 songs before 14 hi-def cameras, recorded in surround, over three nights in Hamburg, Munich and Berlin. There are a handful of segues to band quips and whatnot in the middle of songs, but they aren't so frequent as to be disruptive to the series of performances. A second disc with a short documentary called Forging BCC, along with a few choice photos, completes the picture. By the looks of things, Black Country Communion has signed on for the long run, and so far it's been one sweet ride.

~ Shawn Perry

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