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Rare British gigs by rock superstars
Rock supergroup Black Country Communion will play the second of two UK shows at London's Hammersmith Apollo on January 4, 2018. The first show was at Wolverhampton Civic Hall on January 2 and for lovers of Classic Rock it was totally awesome!
Awesome: Black Country Communion (pic: Christie Goodwin)
The quartet had not performed on stage together for six years but the Civic Hall show was arena-quality – huge sound, sensational lighting and the band giving their all. Right from the start, the audience knew it was in for something spectacular. Air raid sirens blared, searchlights lit up the hall and a series of explosions signalled the band's appearance on stage.
But who are Black Country Communion? Former Deep Purple singer and bassist Glenn Hughes formed BCC in 2009, following a meeting with guitar maestro Joe Bonamassa. Drummer Jason Bonham (son of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham) was recruited, along with Dream Theater keyboardist Derek Sherinian. Sounding like a collision of Led Zep and Deep Purple, with a side order of blues-rock guitar and prog rock keyboards, they took the rock world by storm but soon found that solo careers and band commitments were hard to maintain, so went their separate ways.
On stage: Glenn Hughes and Joe Bonamassa (pic: Christie Goodwin)
In 2017 they returned with a fourth studio album, BCCIV, which prompted the two UK concerts. With Hughes and Bonham hailing from Britain's Black Country (hence the band's name), a gig in Wolverhampton, at the heart of the region, was a must.
''It's good to be home; it gives me chills,'' 66-year-old Glenn announced after launching the two hour show with Sway, from BCCIV, and One Last Soul, from the eponymous debut album.
Following Save Me, from Black Country Communion 2, he added that he had just celebrated 50 years in rock music – and his career had begun on the Wolverhampton Civic Hall stage. Joe Bonamassa later said that this was the final rock show at the venue before it is closed for refurbishment. There's symmetry for you!
Wolverhampton: Rockin' the Black Country (pic: Christie Goodwin)
BCC are known for their epic songs; rock monsters that are elongated by Joe's guitar solos and Derek's intricate keys. Typical is Wanderlust, from the new album, which was followed by Song of Yesterday, featuring vocals by both Joe and Glenn. Throughout, there was a powerful backbeat, courtesy of Jason's sledgehammer drumming.
Relentless: Glenn Hughes and Black Country Communion (pic: Christie Goodwin)
The pace of the show was relentless, with only the occasional pause for Glenn to explain some background to the songs. Cold was written following the deaths of friends and family, he said, and the radio-friendly Over My Head came to him in his sleep.
A guest was introduced for The Last Song For My Resting Place – mandolin and fiddle player Gerry O'Connor, formerly of The Dubliners. He quickly left the stage at the song's conclusion but was called back by Glenn to take a bow – and received a tremendous reception.
Guest: Gerry O'Connor (pic: Christie Goodwin)
A drum solo segued into Man in the Middle and the set-closer, Black Country, complete with throat-shredding vocals by Glenn. Surely things couldn't get better... but they did.
The encore of Collide and Faithless was concluded with Deep Purple's Mistreated which was totally mind-blowing. It was the first song that Glenn and Joe performed together on stage ten years ago – and it brought an unforgettable show to a fitting end. Hammersmith, you are in for a treat!
More?: Black Country Communion at Wolverhampton Civic Hall (pic: Christie Goodwin)
Setlist: Black Country Communion, Wolverhampton, Jan 2, 2018