at The Boiler Shop, Newcastle, U.K., October 17, 2023

GLENN HUGHES (Live at The Boiler Shop, Newcastle, U.K., October 17, 2023)
Photo: Mick Burgess

At one time, it used to be something of an unwritten rule that when the support band were playing, everyone would head to the bar with only a few hardy souls paying a passing interest in what was going on up on stage. Many a great band was missed in their formative years.

Seeing the Boiler Shop absolutely rammed from front to back so early in the evening was testament to just how impressive Canada’s The Damn Truth are. With their third album, Now or Nowhere garnering stunning reviews the exuberant crowd lapped up every note.

In Lee La-Baum, they have a genuine star in the making combining the power and passion of Janis Joplin and Beth Hart with an engaging stage presence that stuns and mesmerises in equal measure. Add in some thumping riffs and ferocious solos from guitarist Tom Shemer and in songs like “This Is Who We Are Now” and “Look Innocent” they have the perfect cocktail to reach for the stars.

It incredible to think that 50 years, that’s half a century, has passed since the release of Deep Purple’s classic Burn opus. To put that into perspective, 50 years before Burn was released World War I was still fresh in the memory and the Wall Street Crash had yet to happen while Al Johnson and Jazz were popular over the radio and the Charleston ruled the dance halls.

Deep Purple had reached a critical juncture following the departure of vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover in 1973, yet from the phoenix of Deep Purple Mk II rose a rejuvenated band featuring the previously unknown Saltburn boutique assistant, David Coverdale alongside former Trapeze bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes and with this new line-up an new chapter in Deep Purple’s history was born.

Needing to hit the ground running to soothe the naysayers concerns, Purple hit the bull’s-eye with Burn, released the following year. Ritchie Blackmore seemed rejuvenated and the band pulled together to deliver an album that is rightly regarded as a gold plated classic with Coverdale and Hughes quickly allaying fears that any cynical fans may have harboured.

While the current incarnation of Deep Purple never stray into the territory of Mark III material it has been left to Glenn Hughes to fly the flag for this element of the band and on this tour he would be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Burn.

While the setlist was heavily weighted in favour of “Burn”, this was not a perfunctory run through the album in chronological order. Far from it. Kicking off with “Stormbringer” from the subsequent album of the same name, he established early on that this would be not just a celebration of Burn, but of the three albums that he recorded with the band between 1974 and 1976.

“Stormbringer” was the perfect opener, big, bold and powerful with Hughes on incredible form aided and abetted by his Danish foil, Soren Andersen on guitar.

“Might Just Take Your Life”, the first of five songs from Burn, swiftly followed with a stunning “Sail Away” with its wonderful deep groove, hot on its heels before a medley of “You Fool No One” and “Highball Shooter” incorporating an energy sapping drum solo from Ash Sheehan ended the first part of the show.

Glenn Hughes sounded magnificent . He must somehow have been frozen in time as he looked and sounded just as he did at their legendary Californian Jam show in 1974, an event that he referenced several times during the evening. Indeed the songs played during the night were very much in the vein of that show with long, mazy instrumental improvisations extending some songs way beyond their studio counterparts with “Mistreated” being the pick of the bunch. With only nine songs across the two hour set there was plenty of space to stretch out and show their chops. Of course there was plenty of vocal showboating too, but when you have a set of pipes as pristine as Hughes, then why not? He’s not dubbed “The Voice Of Rock” for nothing.

Hughes clearly relished playing with Sorensen, who absolutely nailed both Blackmore’s parts and Tommy Bolin’s too on a supremely Funky “Gettin’ Tighter” and a beautiful “You Keep On Movin'”.

While most of the set was based around Hughes tenure in the band he did dip back into Mark II territory during the encore for a ferocious “Highway Star” featuring some mesmerising interplay between Sorensen and organist Bob Fridzema.

What better way to end the show celebrating the Burn album than with a thumping romp through the title track ensuring the night ended with a flaming bang. Absolutely brilliant.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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