GLENN HUGHES was already a “name” in his own right with Power Funk trio Trapeze, before Deep Purple came calling to replace the recently departed Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. Initially expecting to share vocals with Bad Company`s Paul Rodgers, Hughes enthusiastically enlisted only to find Rodgers changed his mind and a previously unknown David Coverdale in his place. Deep Purple Mark III was born.

Over a three-year period Hughes was an integral part of Deep Purple as bassist and vocalist on the classic Burn and Stormbringer albums and finally Come Taste The Band featuring Tommy Bolin in for original guitarist Ritchie Blackmore before the band imploded in Liverpool in 1976.

After a period in the comparative wilderness of the 1980’s, Hughes pulled himself up by his bootstraps, got himself clean and healthy and has never looked back, with almost a dozen solo albums to his credit since the early 1990’s covering an array of styles from blues, rock, funk and soul not to mention the impressive three albums by the supergroup Black Country Communion that he put together with Joe Bonamassa.

It is, however, that period with Deep Purple that he is indelibly linked with and Hughes decided to embark on a full blown tour celebrating the music that he created and performed during his time in one of Rock’s truly legendary bands.

Word from The States was that these shows were going down a storm so rather appropriately Hughes kicked off with a rampant Stormbringer kicking the doors well and truly in followed by a swift mid-paced punch of Might Just Take Your Life.

While Purple’s guitarist Ritchie Blackmore balked at the Funk elements brought into the band, Hughes excelled and Sail Away was one of his best. Tonight, with its monumental groove, it was magnificent.

While Hughes was in the groove where else could he go but Getting` Tighter where the Funk strutted like a preening peacock. Hughes was in his element.

Stevie Wonder once hailed Hughes as his favourite white Soul singer while KLF dubbed him the voice of Rock and this is testimony to the versatility of his voice which has remained undiminished with the passage of time sounding every bit as potent as in his Purple heyday. Every song delivered in its original key and every note hit to perfection. In You Keep On Movin` Hughes showed the beautiful soulful tenderness to his voice together with the soaring range that made this one of the standouts of the night.

Purple rarities High Ball Shooter and You Fool No One were expanded and stretched out to give his band the chance to show their chops just like they did back in the days of the California Jam with guitarist Soren Andersen and keyboardist Mike Mangan showing some real class.

The heavy Blues groove of Mistreated was the ideal backing for Hughes powerhouse of a voice and he took this opportunity to display his astonishing range and technique.

While this evening was mainly focussed on the music that Hughes created in Deep Purple Mark III and IV he did dip back into the Mark II catalogue for Smoke on The Water which incorporated Georgia On My Mind on the basis that he performed it every night back in the day.

A blistering Burn and a stunning Highway Star, the second Mark II classic of the night, brought the show to a euphoric end and Hughes delivered a classy show that did enormous justice to the Deep Purple legacy.

Mick Burgess