❉ If you like your live albums ragged, raw and rocking, this box set is an absolute treat.
“This is an absolute treat of a boxed set and has some different and exciting versions of songs that we know so well, and some new classics that are bedded nicely into a great set.”
A companion box to the recently released Justified Man boxed set which covered the 1995 -2003 studio albums, this features six concerts recorded during that period, the first three discs are taken from 1995’s Feel Tour, with Disc 1 and 2 the complete set from Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton on 17th November 1995. This is featured because it’s Glenn’s homecoming gig and features a few Trapeze numbers (You are the Music and Your Love is Alright) performed with one of the bands original members joining Glenn on stage.
In fact whilst part of the set is dominated by material for Feel, there’s a nice mix of older Purple songs thrown into here to celebrate Glenn’s career, with This Time Around on the first disc, and the second disc dominated by Purple tunes performed to great acclaim, particularly as it was the first time in 20 years that some of these songs got a live airing, so the audience absolutely laps up the closing five tracks, You Fool No-One, You Keep on Moving, Getting’ Tighter, Stormbringer and an almighty version of Burn to close the set down with.
As this is his home crowd you can hear him and the band feeding from the energy, and the mix of old and new makes a real balanced set, and of course, like the old-pro that he is Glenn knows how to mix the set list up, and give the audience what they want.
With plenty of between song banter and audience participation, you can tell Glenn and the audience are enjoying this set, and rightly so as, after all the personal and substance related issues Glenn had during the ‘70s and ‘80s, it’s nice to hear him on fine form and even more so, that voice is still as powerful as it ever was.
The following night’s set, from the Astoria 2 in London, makes up Disc 3, and at twelve songs is probably not the entire concert (unfortunately the lack of sleeve notes doesn’t help identify how much of the original concert is retained here, and sadly it doesn’t tell me who the live band are either – other than Hughes on vocals and bass, obviously) although what we do get is as good as the night before, showing that this band were in the words of Hughes Getting Tighter whilst the older stuff like the funk-driven You are the Music nestles alongside the powerful opener of Big Time, whilst the encores are the road-tested and well-drilled versions of Stormbringer and Burn, which are a pleasure to hear live performed by one of the members of that Purple line up (particularly as the contemporary Purple of this period ignored that era, and continue to do so) and in such fine fashion as well.
Disc 4 is an exclusive acoustic live set from the Esquire in Bedford just before the release of 2008’s First Underground Nuclear Kitchen album, although ironically, there are no tracks from the album featured on this live recording! Instead you get a live rendition of Nights in White Satin, concert staples like This Time Around/Owed to ‘G, Holy Man, a blazing version of Mistreated and a rare live outing for his debut solo single I Found a Woman.
Again, there is no notes as to whether this was the entire concert or edited highlights, however judging by the sound quality of the entire set, I’d suggest all these gigs are taken from soundboard recordings, so whilst the quality isn’t mobile recording studio quality, it’s good enough to get the energy of the band and the audience appreciation, and again it’s good to hear Glenn’s voice still has it, particularly on Mistreated, which was an old Coverdale standard, and Glenn does it real justice here.
The final two discs in this expansive set (which is more one to dip into, rather than listen to in one sitting) are taken from a gig at the Spring & Airbreak, Belfast, from October 2010 and again appears to be the complete gig spread across two discs.
Again this mighty set features material from across his entire career, including the mighty Hughes/Thrall track Muscle & Blood (which has become a live staple) whilst his mighty and consistent solo work that really kickstarted with 1995’s Addiction (a blistering version of the title track is included here as an encore) is represented by Orion, Soul Mover and Can’t Stop the Flood.
Whilst his Purple period is covered here by some brilliant versions of Sail Away and Burn (which is an excellent encore) it’s interesting to see here, how over the period from 2005 to 2010, he didn’t feel the need to rely on the old Purple material, which his solo material more than stands up against.
This is an absolute treat of a boxed set and has some different and exciting versions of songs that we know so well, and some new classics that are bedded nicely into a great set.
For only £23.99 direct from Cherry Red, this is a whole lot of bang for your buck, and if you like your live albums ragged, raw and rocking, then this is for you, and let’s face it, if you’re a fan of Mk III & Mk IV Purple, the opportunity to hear these songs in a live setting is few and far between.
❉ Glenn Hughes: ‘The Official Bootleg Box Set Volume Three: 1995 -2010’ (PURPLEBOX021) is released July 31, 2020 by Purple Records, RRP £23.99. Click here to order directly from Cherry Red Records.
❉ A regular contributor to We Are Cult, James R. Turner is a music and media journalist. Over the last 25 years he has contributed to the Classic Rock Society magazine, BBC online, Albion Online, The Digital Fix, DPRP, Progarchy, ProgRadar and more. James’ debut book is out in September and he is head of PR for Bad Elephant Music. He lives in North Somerset with his fiancee Charlotte, their Westie Dilys & Ridgeback Freja, three cats and too many CDs, records & Blu-Rays.