Live In Wolverhampton

Glenn Hughes

Glenn Hughes' Live In Wolverhampton was recorded over the course of two nights in June 2009 in the singer's hometown of Bilston, England. This rehabilitating performance consists of Hughes singing like a man possessed, talking to the audience, and never missing a note. Black Country Communion may have closed their doors, but Hughes remains a live animal and this record affirms that.

Captivating the audience into sheer silence as well as raising them up to a glorious roar, Hughes takes the crowd on an emotional roller coaster. At times, the audience cannot help but clap along to the rhythmic music and we can assume without a doubt that the audience was moving to that “fat funky bass.” Glenn Hughes’ "The Voice Of Rock" provides a well balanced album with this live set spanning Hughes solo album You Got Soul: Music For The Divine from 2006 with a blend of other music from the man's career.

Two tracks from Burn, Hughes' first album with Deep Purple, are here. It's a treat to hear "Mistreated" performed, a song originally sung by David Coverdale. I've seen Coverdale live with Whitesnake, that being said, I feel Glenn Hughes carries "Mistreated" in a way I don't think Coverdale could now. The vocal power Hughes has is unprecedented.

"It's a good feeling to be sober, and in the now, knowing that tonight's going to be okay," Hughes says midway through the performance of "Don't Let me Bleed." The last two minutes of the song an epic explosion of screams and power separated by the soft spoken lyrics of "don't let me bleed." Ripping from a cosmic exploratory song running fast into the thriving upbeat rocking tempo of "What's Going On Here." By this point, Hughes seems to stand on top of all the instruments. However, at some points in the album I feel the instruments swallow the vocals a bit although they are still powerful.

Meanwhile, the second CD is a heavy squeeze of Trapeze. With a man capable of such vocal acrobatics, I find it ever so fitting he was in a band called Trapeze. We start with "Way Back to the Bone," a song that is bouncy and has such a fantastic sounding bass. Former Trapeze guitarist, Mel Galley, had passed away around the time of this show, so it makes perfect sense that Hughes would want to perform some of these songs. In a way, it was a concert night vigil.

Without a doubt, Glenn Hughes has a massive voice — like a man on top of a mountain fists high and yelling through the mountain tops each word ringing. I've watched some of rock’s greatest voices wither away; however, Hughes sounds fantastic and needs no alterations or special effects. I think I enjoyed the vocal performances on the first disc — his voice seems more at home on his solo work while still sounding wonderful on tracks like "Seaful," a slow, melodic and powerful tune.

In a way I might have enjoyed the musicianship more so on the second CD. My first impressions of this album, vocals are the main attraction on the first CD, and the instrumentation seems to excite me more on the second CD. "You Are the Music" is a very fun song to listen to live. Sounds like a great funk jam session.

Leading into and leaving off with probably the Trapeze hit amongst fans "Black Cloud" leaving off with a few more pulse pumping screams and deep funky bass as well as crunchy rhythm and melodic note bending. Drummer Steve Stephens never misses a beat, while guitarist Jeff Kollman plays fast at times, hard at times, and very very funky. If you’re a fan of Ritchie Blackmore, Kollman gives the Deep Purple tracks what they deserve. The great keyboard work by Anders Olinder adds to the atmosphere.

Live In Wolverhampton is special because you can hear the distinct differences from each song; you can hear the album difference, the band difference, and even the decade difference. But in the end, it is all timeless rock and roll.

~ Dan Navarro

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