Glenn Hughes and The Damn Truth at Academy 2, Manchester, – gig review 29/10/23

The clocks have just gone back, messing up everyone’s body clocks and on top of that it’s a grim and rainy evening in Manchester.  Opening up this evening’s purple-tinged entertainment is The Damn Truth with their Zeppelinesque tunes, and they make their mark with a powerful sound more than worthy of that comparison.  

The stage is dripping with youthful energy as the band plough through a trio of opening numbers – This Is Who We Are Now, Full On You and Too Late to a rapturous reception.  Bassist PY Letellier and guitarist Tom Shemer have boundless energy as they crisscross the stage pulling off all the poses, they really are tearing it up and keeping everyone engaged whilst Dave Traina keeps the forceful heartbeat of the band on them there drums.

Only Love has a catchy poptastic feel whereas things are slowed down somewhat for Look Innocent which really focuses the power of Lee-La Baum’s voice.

It is no surprise that the crowd is fully behind them, they put on a memorable performance with great music and I am looking forward to their return.

Photo by: Ant Firmin

More photos of The Damn Truth here:

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  1. This Is Who We Are Now
  2. Full On You
  3. Too Late
  4. Lonely
  5. Only Love
  6. Look Innocent
  7. Get With You
  8. Tomorrow

And so to ‘The Voice of Rock’, Mr Glenn Hughes.  A quarter of a century ago he would have struggled to fill clubs here in the UK, but a great work ethic along with regular touring has resulted in a sold-out tour and by the time he comes on stage Academy 2 is rammed.  Opening with Stormbringer is a serious statement of intent and introduces us to an evening of Deep Purple tunes.

I’d always associated Might Just Take Your Life with David Coverdale as I’d seen him play it so many times but Hughes owns it this evening as he does with Sail Away.  Hughes is a great storyteller, his autobiography is excellent, and he regales us with tales of the California Jam, trying to organise a Mk 3 reunion along with the promise of a Glenn Hughes album next year.  You Fool No One comes in at 20 minutes and is closer to the performance on Live In Europe than the Burn version, but I am finding it a tad too long and drum solos bore the pants of me, sorry.

The band isn’t too shabby either, keyboard player Bob Fridzema does a fine job of replicating Jon Lord’s sounds and has recently become a dad, Søren Anderson is his long-serving guitar slinger and certainly knows where all the frets are, and finally, Black Country resident Ash Sheehan is a serious tub-thumper and together they are, at least for this evening, Deep Purple Redux.

Hughes is now the last man standing playing the Purp’s Mk3 material, Blackmore has taken a different route with his music, Jon Lord is no longer with us, Ian Paice is otherwise engaged and David Coverdale is unlikely to do this again, and is probably not capable to be honest judging by his performance last year. Long live Mr Hughes for doing this.

Back to the set, Mistreated has me losing my mind, it isn’t full of fluff like the Rainbow and Whitesnake versions and the song continues to be the epic it always has been, Hughes showing us all he is still in fine voice and deserving of the title ‘The Voice of Rock’.

Tommy Bolin’s time with the band is celebrated by a pair of songs from the underappreciated Come Taste The Band album, Gettin Tighter and You Keep On Moving – this I really appreciated as I’ve been listening to a lot of Mr Bolin recently, Private Eyes is a stunning album – I am seriously impressed by the performance of both (Last Concert In Japan this is not).

For the encore, Glenn passes his bass to an interloper and just grabs the microphone for Highway Star, a bit of a surprise as it isn’t one of his Purple songs when there are so many others to pick from, but everyone is into it with more people singing along than to any of the other songs this evening.

There was only one song left he could possibly play… “The people laughed till she said, ‘Burn’”.  I’ve heard him play this so many times and this is probably the best and he is keeping his screaming under control.

And it’s a job well done this evening.  At 71 this is an impressive performance from Hughes and he is keeping busy – this tour is continuing to Brazil, the aforementioned solo album is coming out next year along with a Black Country Communion album that I am excited about – you keep on moving, Sir!!

Photo by Ant Firmin

More photos of Glenn Hughes and his band here:

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  1. Stormbringer
  2. Might Just Take Your Life
  3. Sail Away
  4. You Fool No One / High Ball Shooter / Drum Solo / You Fool No One
  5. Mistreated
  6. Getting’ Tighter
  7. You Keep On Moving

8. Highway Star
9. Burn

About Ant Firmin