The Hughes Turner Project

The Mean Fiddler, London. October 1st 2002

A reasonably packed Mean Fiddler, considering the tube strike, and after two dodgy support bands Hughes and Turner hit the stage to an almighty cheer and blasted us with a frantic Devil's Road (from their album).

Glenn was looking extremely cool, and whilst Joe isn't as cool, he tries his best! He still has all those dodgy stage moves and facial expressions, but his voice has certainly matured with age and he and Glenn complimented each other very well. The harmonies were absolutely amazing, and the whole place erupted when they tore into I Surrender. J J Marsh has certainly been brushing up on his Blackmore and pulled off the solos with ease.

The set was mainly made up of HTP, Rainbow, and Deep Purple tracks. The highlights for me were when Joe left the stage (no offence Joe!) and Glenn treated us to Black Sabbath's Seventh Star and then Mistreated. I was a bit unsure about Glenn tackling this as it really was David's showcase in the mk3 days, but Glenn explained that he and Ritchie had jammed the song before David had joined Purple and as he wasn't singing it anymore there was no reason why Glenn couldn't do his own interpretation. It was awesome, Glenn's voice just gets better as the years go by.

Joe came back and gave us Jealous Lover. He seemed to be getting a bit of heckling from a small group of people near the front of the stage but he coped with it very well. Ok, I can understand that a lot of people don't like him but surely if that is the case why do they go and see him live? Just give the man a break! He's been out of Purple for ten years now...GET OVER IT!!! Joe donned a Strat for Better Man and I thought "uh-oh, surely he can't play guitar?". Believe me, he can. He played a solo that was as good as most professional guitarists. Honest.

Spotlight Kid came and went, then Joe said "Deep Purple...1991...KING OF DREAMS!" I don't care what anybody says, I like this song and so, it seemed, did everybody else. The encores were Highway Star and Burn. Glenn did the Gillan scream at the start of Highway Star better than Gillan and Joe played part of the guitar solo (see, I said he was good). Burn was absolutely perfect and I left the venue a happy man.

The songs played were (but I can't remember the order): Devil's Road, You Can't Stop Rock N Roll, Better Man, Ride The Storm (HTP) I Surrender, Death Alley Driver, Jealous Lover, Spotlight Kid (Rainbow) Mistreated, Stormbringer, King Of Dreams, Highway Star, Burn (Deep Purple) Seventh Star (Black Sabbath)

review: Paul Hackett

DOMO ARI GATO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Overall, a highly entertaining evening. I went to the gig with 2 Japanese work colleagues and can you believe it, the first support act were Japanese !!!! I think both colleagues went into shock.

They were very keen to get to the front of the crowd, so for the first time in my sad concert going career I ended up in the second row behind the crash barrier. I thought this was prime location until I realised the girl in front of me had a broken leg!! Various times she turned round to have a go at me for pushing her - I did try, in vain, to point out that there were a couple of hundred people pushing behind me! In fact, I was at pains to inform her that the firm prodding she was feeling in her lower back was coming from my hands!!!!! (oh dear, there goes the tone of the review...)

The two stars of the show can still rock. Joe Lynn Turner, without doubt, still has an image problem with the UK audience, and I think most guys still do not forgive him for the Slaves and Masters era. Just on this subject, may I point out I think Slaves and Masters is a very good album. Joe though, comes across as very cheesy - he reminds me of the Darius of Heavy Rock!! (for non UK readers, he's referring to a cheesy singer from the 'Popstars' TV show, and not to the Persian king who had his bollox knocked in by Alexander The Great) Perhaps Joe should audition for Hear'say 2, where his talents may be more suited. Glenn has that professional coolness about him, but poor Joe does have a very poor stage presence. In saying that I did manage to touch his hand (shame on me). The 2 girls in front of me were constantly being caressed by Joe - it reminded me a bit of Donny Osmond and Puppy Love !!!

Even though I may be a little critical of Joe's image, some of the tracks definitely rocked: Death Alley Driver and Spotlight Kid were real stormers (probably just as much as the Glenn focused tracks, if not more so !) Even King of Dreams went down well! I have to say it is a little embarrassing when Joe stares you right in the face (yes he was that close), and on certain tracks I just did not have a clue as to any of the words to mouth along with him to - at those points I would suddenly take a serious interest in the drummer or keyboard player's technique..

I have not mentioned Glenn much. I have seen him on most of his UK tours in the 1990s and he can certainly still hack it - without doubt he was the star of the show. Mistreated was a treat as was Seventh Star. It also came across to me how both Glenn and Joe were extremely complementary to Ritchie Blackmore. Perhaps we can get the rumour mill rolling here, but I wonder if they are trying to get some kind of line up together with RB in the future? In my opinion it would work very well.

My other complements go to the drummer and guitarist. The drummer had a look of agonised ecstasy for the entire show - he really was top notch. The guitarist reminded me of Ritchie back in the 72 - 74 era: skinny, with the scraggy hair that is crying out for a hair transplant (no lawyers please !). Even his nose reminds me of RB's.

Burn, as usual rocked (including some great poses from the guitarist), but maybe Highway Star was a song too far - I think this was the only track that needed a real heavy hammond sound to support it. Overall, a great gig! I would definitely see them again given the chance.

review: Mark Connolly

live reviews