Glenn Hughes live at A New Day Festival, Faversham, Kent.

Glenn Hughes live at A New Day Festival, The Garden of England.

Saturday 3 August 2019.

By Robert Corich

Glenn’s headlining Saturday show at New Day.  Photography Neil Holmes.

Glenn’s headlining Saturday show at New Day.

Photography Neil Holmes.

Returning to his homeland shores in the quaint and beautiful setting of Mount Ephraim Gardens, Kent in midsummer, Glenn Hughes and his band of merry musketeers hit the stage like a fire-tornado from the very first song.

The classic opening chords of ‘Stormbringer’ supported by the thunderous drumming of (relatively) newbie Ash Sheehan hit the audience straight between the eyes.

Followed up by the growling intro of ‘Might Just Take Your Life’ from 1974’s Burn album, the first to feature Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale as a singing partnership, Glenn and his band romped ahead with ‘that new drummer’ punching the skins in a fashion not unlike Cozy Powell or John Bonham in their heyday. This skins-man is someone to watch. Things were looking up and the compact crowd were absolutely loving this performance all the way up the hill and beyond.

Decibel Photography.

Decibel Photography.

After a little of Glenn’s informative small talk (as is his want) the band slipped into the gentle swirling tones of ‘You Keep On Moving’. Hughes’ vocals never cease to amaze and it was certainly no different on that front tonight. He arguably sings better now than back in the day and he was pretty damn good in the mid-seventies that’s for sure!

The classic ‘Mistreated’ followed and once again Glenn’s vocals excelled. Guitarist Søren Andersen was also in good form giving these songs his own feel and for once not overdoing the ‘performance’. It worked well and, while not Ritchie Blackmore, his delivery was certainly no disgrace this time around.

‘Sail Away’ was up next and it was frankly the best I’ve ever heard Glenn and Co. execute it. Senor Sheehan on the skins clearly makes a hugely positive addition to this band and the keyboard playing of Jesper Bo Hansen was inspiring.

‘Sail Away’ was the best song of the set, in part because they helped make it their own.

A snippet of ‘Lazy’ and they then jumped into ‘Smoke’; the only MK II number they really should be playing on this tour.

‘Smoke’ segued into ‘Georgia (On My Mind)’ with a vocal that would make a choir boy envious. Purple’s signature song had the obvious favourable reaction and always the crowd pleaser for any Purple set.

A riveting version of ‘Burn’ followed and it’s pretty clear this show stopper should in fact be the closer as well. Hughes’ vocals on ‘Burn’ simply soared.

Decibel Photography.

Decibel Photography.

‘Highway Star’ was the encore and, as nice a song that it is, I would prefer this dropped in favour of another Mk III or IV Track. I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing this.

This band might just as well perform a cover of ‘Hush’, ‘Kentucky Woman’ or ‘Emmaretta’ as ‘Highway Star’. Even Tommy Bolin’s ‘Wild Dogs’ or ‘People People’ would be more appropriate.

Now there’s a thought.

It’s good that Glenn seems to have reigned in the (completely unnecessary) guitar histrionics and excessive keyboard and drum solo spots that have been his inclination early on in this recent ‘Deep Purple Tour’. Maybe that’s because the usual (horribly extended) ‘You Fool No One’ was not included in this one hour tour-de-force set.

The lack of time wasting activities had a strong effect on the delivery and made this a classic performance.

Don’t get me wrong, ‘You Fool No One’ is a brilliant track, but they should stick to the album length version instead of the wasting 15 to 20 minutes of needless ‘twiddling’ as they have in the recent past. Replacing the long overblown live version with a concise hard-hitting studio length version would be a masterstroke.

This would give room to be brave and cover other MK III & IV tracks such as ‘Comin’ Home’, ‘The Drifter’, ‘Gypsy’, ‘Hold On’, ‘I Need Love’ & ‘Lady Luck’ to name but a few.

Add to these his rather good versions of ‘Getttin’ Tighter’, ‘High Ball Shooter’ & ‘Holy Man’ and his long form show would be enviable indeed.

Decibel Photography.

Decibel Photography.

Glenn’s idea of performing ‘The Purple Set’ is proving very popular and I feel he could really own these songs in a way Whitesnake could not. He could deliver more from the three albums he contributed so heavily to rather than the albums he did not.

This one hour heart-busting performance was one of the best I’ve seen in years. No small part of that was the almost manic but classy delivery of these mid seventies classics. Many of which you will not hear elsewhere and you will not hear them any better either!

Live rating: 8.5 stars out of 10

Robert Corich