Glenn Hughes Brings the Storm to B.B. King’s in New York City
It took 46 years since launching his musical career with Trapeze for the 'Voice of Rock' Glenn Hughes to embark on his first-ever U.S. solo tour. Having collaborated with a wealth of musicians over the course of his career, the singer / bassist pulled in fans from any and all eras of his staggering body of work for a packed show at the legendary B.B. King Blues Club in New York City on Aug. 10.
Performing material from his earliest act, Trapeze, onward through his time spent in Deep Purple, Hughes / Thrall, Black Country Communion as well as his solo efforts, it was a cause for celebration as the ever-young 64-year-old Hughes tore through some of his most legendary songs.
After an introduction from iconic DJ Eddie Trunk, Hughes took the stage backed by an impressive stack of white Orange bass cabs and the veritable backing band of drummer Pontus Engborg and guitarist Soren Andersen. Hughes dialed back the clock "Way Back to the Bone" to open the set and the 1972 Trapeze cut was met with a roar from the crowd as the frontman, rocking his familiar red-tinted sunglasses, began to heat things up with the mid-tempo groove-rider.
Leaping forward in time a full decade, fans were then treated to the Hughes / Thrall favorite "Muscle and Blood" and it was clear the selection for the night was going to be rather comprehensive. Between songs, Hughes joked warmly with the crowd and thanked them repeatedly for not only supporting him throughout the years, but rock music in general.
The legend also noted that night how he had been living amongst his American crowd for the last 43 years and will finally become an official citizen of the U.S. Hughes also beamed that he'll be backing up his status as a citizen by embarking on future U.S. tours now that the ice had finally been broken.
With a solo song, "Orion," and another one-two punch of Trapeze and Hughes / Thrall (including hair-raising falsettos and crowd participation on "Took My Life") it was time for one of the highlights of the night: Trapeze's whimsical and riff-heavy "Medusa." Hughes prefaced the track, reflecting on his teenage years, writing the song on a stool in his grandmother's kitchen, setting up the mood as the song invoked hazy visions of the young yet-to-be-legend.
Throughout the night, demands from the crowd for some Deep Purple material were finally met on the seventh song in the set. Earlier in the day, heavy rain, gusting winds and black clouds reigned over the Northeast and now it came time for a different type of storm: the legendary MK III Deep Purple cut, "Stormbringer." Handling both his original parts as well as David Coverdale's, Hughes delivered a sultry rendition of the fan favorite to a now eruptive crowd.
Thematically fitting, the solo song "Can't Stop the Flood" came next, followed by "One Last Soul," the first Black Country Communion song of the night. Turning back to Deep Purple, Hughes paid tribute to his deceased Purple bandmates, Tommy Bolin and Jon Lord, before the band gently eased into the soothing opening moments of the MK IV cut "You Keep on Moving."
After one more solo track, the trio left the stage only to return after a few moments of cheers and chants from the New York crowd. It was time for the driving, maddening bass found on "Black Country" that saw Hughes cry out with the most passion and conviction of the night (and there had been plenty of it already), "I am a messenger / This is my prophecy / I'm goin' back / To the black country!" With the momentum and energy of the set firmly recaptured, there was little doubt as to what song to expect next.
All the crowd wanted to hear was "Burn," and "Burn" they got! The all-time Deep Purple track closed the set on a high-energy note, leavings fans fully satiated. Hughes thanked everyone once again after a most dominant performance. If anyone in attendance had their doubts about Hughes being hailed as the 'Voice of Rock,' they were convincingly disarmed of any argument.
The frontman let loose all night with falsettos that, not only showed off his remarkably white teeth and affable smile, but challenged the original studio recordings dating back up to 46 years ago. Often times standing back from the microphone, even upwards of a full yard away, he demonstrated his ability to project, a hallmark of so many great singers. Reducing these ear-piercing screams down to a mere trembling whimper, Hughes brought his signature Motown vibe to his timeless brand, making him one of the most unique singers among his rock 'n' roll contemporaries and a positively electrifying, can't miss performer.
Hughes will continue his U.S. solo tour through Sept. 3 and the remaining tour dates can be found at our 2016 Guide to Rock + Metal Tours.
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