Oh we do like to be beside the seaside...especially when that means seeing the voice of rock himself - Glenn Hughes!
It's certainly not our first time witnessing Glenn Hughes' live shows, however we were never lucky enough to be present during Mark III or IV Deep Purple. This makes nights like this that much more exciting and with Glenn bringing this tour to lesser known areas such as Bexhill-On-Sea, we feel as if we're on holiday!
After a short walk along the breezy seafront, we take our seats at the front of the stunning De La Warr Pavillion. The grand stage is dressed with the deepest purple backdrop and in the distance, the echoes of Glenn's vocal warm-up can be heard, leaving fans on the edge of their seats. The moment Glenn sets foot on stage we're reminded of the pure soul and sensationalism that he executes. His stage presence is cool and effortless. He struts across the stage, bass hanging low, playing along to the opening riff to 'Stormbringer'. It feels natural to stand, applaud or dance and at times it seems as if Glenn is beckoning the audience to do something more than sit. Surprisingly and unlike other seated rock events, the fans do not take away from the atmosphere. Many fans tap, bounce and sing along to every word. There aren't any new numbers in this set...only fan-favourites and Deep Purple classics.
Glenn's band are first rate and prove this as they break into Burn favourite 'Might Just Take Your Life'; the perfect opportunity for keyboardist Vince Dicola to show-off his skills and pay unspoken tribute to the late Jon Lord. Glenn announces "It's good to be home" as he sports his Union Jack emblazoned sleeves. The soft hum of the moving bass line vibrates across the Pavillion and a light buzz fills the room. 'You Keep On Moving' from the masterpiece Come Taste the Band is soothing and the ultimate evidence to prove how Hughes' vocal range seems to continuously improve over time. A song like no other.
The set continues with Deep Purple classic after classic including 'Sail Away' and 'You Fool No One/High Ball Shooter' where Glenn truly connects with the audience, showing off his pearly whites and pinpointing individuals in the crowd. 'Gettin' Tighter' and 'Mistreated' arrive later down the line. Glenn shares stories of his time in Deep Purple, including that time in Ritchie Blackmore's kitchen where the beginnings of 'Mistreated' were first composed. Guitarist Soren Anderson does a phenomenal job playing the styles of both Ritchie Blackmore and Tommy Bolin. Drummer Ash Sheehan not only blows the audience away with a charismatic and varied drum solo but is able to deliver every Paice beat with ease. Hughes compares Sheehan to the characters in the movie Snatch, going on to say "he's completely crazy... and that's why he's in my band". The stage banter and connection only adds to the musicianship and on-stage relationship.
They say time flies when you're having fun but this set is flying by quicker than expected. Hughes continues with a bluesy medley of 'Smoke On the Water/Georgia On My Mind', the classic 'Burn' and a surprising finishing number in the form of 'Highway Star'. He delivers this with pure power and passion yet I'm left wanting more... more from the Marks of Deep Purple that Hughes contributed on. A personal preference would have been to replace these Mark II songs with 'Love Don't Mean a Thing' or even an added treat with something from Seventh Star (I'll keep dreaming!) It was Hughes himself who introduced the set as "songs that Paice, Glover and Gillan do not play!" This is all minor in the grand scheme. The room is moving and as Glenn hits every note, the audience attempt to do the same. Smiles surround me and I try to remember the last time I was at a show with such an uplifting vibe from all present.
A truly moving performance by a unique, modest and humble human being who somehow manages to make you feel like you're the only one in the room. His vocal range is consistently impressive and his ability to reach those extraordinary high notes keeps fans coming back for more. Glenn's positive spirit shines through both on a personal and musical level and we can't wait for him to be back again.
Photography: Michelle G
Writer: Kayleigh V