Glenn Hughes performs Classic Deep Purple Live!
Perth Concert Hall, Perth WA
September 24th 2017
Walking into the Perth Concert Hall at the very un-rock n roll time of 7pm we were greeted by an elderly usher who warned: “I think it’s going to be very loud.” No sooner had she uttered those words when a wall of sound came crashing through the PA. The elderly usher quickly scurried back through the doors to the relative quiet safety of the lobby. We, on the other hand, were escorted by a seemingly more resilient usher to our seats bathing in the noise thundering from the stage.
That noise was the intro to what was ‘Stormbringer’, and the first thing through my mind was: If you kick off a set with ‘Stormbringer’ where the hell can you go? Onwards and upwards was the answer.
Rickenbacker slung over his shoulder Glenn Hughes the man with one of the greatest voices in rock exploded onto the Perth Concert Hall stage with a sonic boom the likes had not been heard at this venue for a very long time, if ever before.
Hughes has a genuineness about him so you put all that rock star bullshit aside when he says he loves it in Perth you believe it. The other genuine thing about Hughes is his voice, what a voice it is. Effortlessly hitting every note, every single scream into the stratosphere. The acoustics of Perth’s concert hall delivering that amazing sound to each member of the audience. It’s not often this cynical music writer is blown away by a live performance but three songs in, by the time ‘Mistreated’ came around I was floored. There was nothing left to do but look on and listen in awe.
As we know a frontman is nothing without a strong band so Hughes surrounded himself with three other insanely talented musicians. The man behind the B3 Hammond organ is Australia’s own Lacy Doley, who according to Hughes is “the greatest living keyboard player in the world”. There was no tinkling of the ivories here, for his solo spot Doley’s hands were a blur crashing down on the keys creating nightmarish soundscapes.
Speaking of solos, what would an old school rock show be without the odd one or two. Guitarist Jeff Kollman was given plenty of time to shine getting at least three jazz infused solos in well before the halfway mark. Not to be outdone the hard-hitting Swede behind the kit Pontus Engborg was left to his own devices for an extended period of time to show how much noise one man with two sticks and a few skins can make.
A trip down memory lane would not be complete without remembering and honouring the late great Deep Purple guitarist Tommy Bolin. Hughes delivered a heartfelt introduction to ‘Getting’ Tighter’ a song he and his friend wrote late one night.
This show could have been a straight greatest hits collection played from go to whoa. Thankfully Hughes avoided falling into that trap, instead, we were taken on a musical journey of light and shade, full throttle rock tracks mixed with beautiful and soulful ballads. At times the show slipped into a kind of extended and quite extraordinary jam session. Sure there were a few of my personal favourites omitted from the setlist, but the reality is, with a back catalogue as extensive as Deep Purple’s it’s impossible to play every song everyone wants to hear.
Except for this one… you know the one. The one with the most recognisable riff in rock. Smoke On the Water morphed into the Ray Charles classic Georgia On My Mind and back to ‘Smoke again. Glenn Hughes soulful voice didn’t waiver one bit. Approaching the end of a two-hour set he still hit every fucking note. All anyone wanted was more and more was what we got.
We weren’t waiting for long. After a quick breather backstage, Glenn and the boys soon emerged to belt out a couple more classics in Highway Star and Burn. We were left with peace, love, hugs and rock n fucking roll.
Old rockers never slow down, they just like to play a little earlier in the night.
Reviewed by Gareth Williams (@notgareth)
Revisit our chat with Glenn Hughes here
Photo Gallery by the legendary Emanuel Rudnicki. Please credit Wall of Sound and Photographer if you use published photos.
Glenn Hughes performs Classic Deep Purple – Australian Tour
Friday, September 29: Hamer Hall, Melbourne
Sunday, October 1: Qpac, Brisbane