DPAS LIVE REVIEW
Roth & The Legends Of Rock
Westcliff Theatre, Southend, 20th November 2002
This was the first time I'd ever seen Glenn Hughes, prior to his arrival on stage I was not quite sure what to expect. Having second billing to Jack Bruce and being preceded by two phenomenal guitarists, even the most seasoned professional would feel the pressure. It would prove interesting which part of his career he'd decide to draw upon.
Frank Marino got things underway and produced a blistering set (complete with JJ Marsh on rhythym guitar) which was followed within the blink of an eye (turn-around time between acts was literally three to four minutes! ) by Uli Jon Roth, whose mastery of his seven string Sky guitar is nothing short of utterly jaw-dropping. It's a pity the gig was so poorly attended, as toward the end of Uli's set things had started to warm up very nicely.
Glenn Hughes bounced onto the stage and tore into a very sprightly Stormbringer, which actually got the crowd animated for the first time. He looked in great shape, and that voice still has all of the range I remember from the old Deep Purple albums. "This is the first song Ritchie played me in his bar all those years ago " he announced with a grin. It was left to JJ Marsh to gently tease the audience before laying down the opening riff to Mistreated. Hughes' tactics on relying solely on his Deep Purple past paid dividends as each number received rapturous applause. His boyish charm and easy manner were quite infectious, and he came across as a decidedly decent chap, and a happy one at that! A couple of MK 4 numbers followed and saw him posing around the stage. His 5 string bass held aloft and his back arched, this was the Glenn Hughes of yester-year. He was rolling back the years as his brief set drew to an exciting conclusion.
It was during the final number, Burn, that it dawned on me why this set had been so successful. It was not just the fact that we were hearing familiar material but it was the reverence with which it was being delivered. Uli's keyboard player never strayed too far from Jon Lord's original blueprint and JJ certainly had the tone and ability to handle the guitar parts with aplomb, but it was Clive Bunker who held the key. He had certainly done his homework, particularly during Burn, and had every Paice-fill off to a tee. Bearing in mind he'd already performed a very demanding set, and was about to do his best Ginger Baker impersonation for Jack Bruce, Mr Bunker came out of this show as more than just a sideman. He was the engine that powered the whole show, his only respite being during Frank Marino's sets.
This was Hughes' first appearance in Southend since Deep Purple played the Kursaal in '74 - I'm pleased to report he returned in triumph. An excellent set of Cream numbers followed from Mr Bruce, before Frank Marino returned to the stage to deliver a stunning rendition of Voodoo Chile (Slight Return). Uli Jon Roth then joined Marino and the two of them tore through a simply mouthwatering All Along The Watchtower to bring the show to a stunning climax.
Glenn reappeared for the second encore and looked in his element as he duetted with his hero Jack Bruce on I Feel Free. It was then left to Glenn Hughes to bring the whole show to an end with a rather classy rendition of A Whiter Shade Of Pale. I could not help wondering if the irony of singing this number in Southend was lost on all of them?
In conclusion I have to say this was a fantastic show, no breaks or intervals, just three and a half hours of classic rock delivered with conviction and energy. I'm off to Cambridge for a second helping.
Review: Ian Ellis