Setlist: Black Country – One Last Soul – Beggerman – Revolution – Down Again – Too Late for the Sun – Song of Yesterday – Ballad of John Henry – Great Divide – Medusa – No Quarter – Sista Jane – Black Country (reprise) – (Encore) - Burn
So after the impressive publicity campaign earlier in the year which saw new ‘supergroup’ Black Country Communion’s debut album in the number 1 position in the nation’s rock chart, here we were at the year end, witnessing the debut ‘proper’ gig, where else, but in the heart of the black country itself.
A suitably dramatic intro tape, ‘Flight of the Valkyries’ heralded the band’s arrival onstage and they were up-and-running, playing the opening number from their debut album. The packed venue was enthusiastic in their welcome – even a short in-song drum roll from Jason Bonham drawing a roar of approval, leading to surprised smiles on stage. The band seemed very well prepared and it was apparent that there was definitely a band dynamic : having seen Glenn Hughes solo many times over the past 16 years, it’s always apparent who’s the boss at those shows, whereas here the honours are split at least 3 ways (keyboardist Derek Sherinian seems to hold a slightly more junior post than the ‘big 3’, although he was more audible than on the album).
It was great to see Mr Hughes on a large stage in a packed-out big venue after seeing in him clubs for so long. The myriad of lighting effects throughout the show underlined the fact that things had moved up a notch or 3. The band blasted through 10 of the 12 songs from their album and played a song each from the ‘outside’ careers of Joe, Jason and Glenn. It was a great show, the band sounding fresh and raring to go. Joe Bonamassa came across as a slightly reluctant guitar hero – a touch shy even – but boy can he play! As he was trying to thank the crowd at the end and explain the year long journey from the band’s inception to playing live, Glenn wandered across the stage and kissed him on the cheek, much to his embarrassment. Jason Bonham obviously has some very large shoes to fill from his late father, but he’s a great showman in his own right, as well as a fantastic drummer.
With another album already being prepared and more tour dates promised for 2011, things are definitely looking good..
"From the moment Hughes’ thunderous bass riff introduced the song Black Country it was like a torch had been lit underneath the famous old venue, the ghosts of rock Christmases past roaring into the present.
The 3,000-strong Civic crowd took up Cannock-born Hughes’ battle cry: “I am a messenger, this is my prophecy, I’m going back . . . to the Black Country.”
From there it was no holds barred as the band ripped through almost all of its self-titled debut album, Hughes continuing to justify his “Voice of Rock” reputation...."