Classic Deep Purple live
QPAC Brisbane Oct 1 2017
On this rainy Brisbane September night there is anticipation in the air. The crowd tonight is older and orderly but secretly brimming and trying not showing it. The tension is building – God its like Cocoon but all the actors are wearing black t-shirts!
Young people would describe the moment as:“ A little bit of pee came out”, but considering most patrons are in their early 60’s lets assume it does. The mood is cult-like because all are expecting a history revision lesson back to a time when rock meant rebellion and Mr. Glenn Hughes was the guy they all wanted to be, the guy who stepped into the breech for Deep Purple with both platform shoes firmly on the ground. Tonight he will release his firebrand and become the Peter Pan we all need to take them back to thier rebellious times.
QPAC is a pleasant, comfy venue, never really designed for rock bands but its’ perfect for tonight’s crowd. Every seat is like being in Business Class. While the crowd shuffle in I wonder if Glenn Hughes is backstage listening to the Zeppelin warm up song playing over the PA and if he’s wondering where he was when he first heard it? Such is the tapestry of the man’s life because Glenn Hughes was there when it all happened.
Opening the set with “Stormbringer” the crowd were taken off guard with the punch of Hughes’ voice – boy has he still got it!! The stage is pure rock theatre; there’s a small city of amps and speaker boxes across the back of the stage and the drums are way off to the side (sensible really). There are beautiful flags of Indian Gods Kali and Lord Rama colorfully draped over the huge Ampeg bass cabinets – a subtle hint that Mr. Hughes relies on spiritual support on stage. The rest of the support though, comes from a handpicked talent pool via Jeff Coleman on guitar, on organ is Aussie powerhouse Lachy Doley – a man who did an organ solo so passionate and sexy it can only be described as a group massage in a tub of oil but with snakes (no really….yup!!!), and Pontus Engborg on drums in the corner.
Pontus Engborg is a brutally large young man seemingly elated to be playing for Mr. Hughes (and who wouldn’t be??), but his foreboding presence gives him the persona of that guy in those 80’s road movies who emerges to crush your head like a melon with one hand!! Still, this is a helpful trait as a drummer in a rock band. His stamina was remarkable and his punishment of the kit was evident as bits started flying off the poor old kit from song one.
Mr. Hughes assures us though, that he is a gentle giant. The great thing about this band was that the playing styles did not copy the original tracks, if you wanted note perfect Deep Purple please go and see the local Deep Purple band (they’re excellent), but the Glenn Hughes band played it their way whilst keeping the songs faithful. It should go without mention either, that Hughes still has the greatest rock feel on the bass EVER!!! He prowled around the stage like a tiger and that voice!!!! He jumps buildings with his voice!!! yet he was so humble and pleasant, the little stories he told the crowd would warrant a one-man show in itself!!
This amazing show thundered away for 105 minutes before he played a single commercial Deep Purple hit, this is Hughes honouring the band by playing their songs. The show is for rock purists and well worth seeing. When Hughes finally left the stage after 2 hours he promised he will return in 2018, do not miss this show and its timeless coolness, you do not have to be a Deep Purple fan to see it either.
Words By John Anon
Behind the Lens Richard Maher