If Glenn Hughes is privately wounded by Ritchie Blackmore’s decision to ignore a very public plea to revive the classic Mk.III Deep Purple line-up, then he masks his hurt well.
That the 64-year-old has been passed over in favour of an as-yet unknown US vocalist ahead of Blackmore’s return to the rock arena, is justifiable cause for pain. Hughes, however, prefers to focus on the positives. Increasingly immune to rock’n’roll’s damaging emotional rollercoaster, the reassuringly reflective frontman reminds the Geordie crowd that ‘music is a healer’. As a standalone statement it could come across as toe-curlingly trite but the ‘voice of rock’ is also the voice of experience.
Hughes’s career has been in recovery ever since he brought Black Country Communion to the masses and this urgent set, complemented by the exquisite skills of former Whitesnake guitarist Doug Aldrich, is built around a burning passion for heavy blues rock.
If a meandering version of Purple’s Mistreated threatens to outstay its welcome then it does offer evidence that Hughes still possesses the vocal range required to do justice to a raft of timeless classics.
As one of rock’s great survivors breathes new life into decade-old solo cuts Soul Mover and Orion, it’s clear Blackmore’s snub won’t prove fatal. If music really is a healer, then Hughes is the medicine.