Black Country Communion
Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Concert review and photos by Ian Harvey
Not since the days of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and, of course, the mighty Slade has the Black Country had a rock supergroup it can call its own.
That small oversight was well and truly laid to rest last night as Black Country boys Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham introduced American counterparts Joe Bonamassa and Derek Sherinian to the Civic for Black Country Communion's first ever full concert . . . where else but in the Black Country?
Click on the image on the right to start the gig photo gallery
From the moment Hughes' thunderous bass riff introduced the song Black Country it was like a torch had been lit underneath the famous old venue, the ghosts of rock Christmases past roaring into the present.
The 3,000-strong Civic crowd took up Cannock-born Hughes' battle cry: "I am a messenger, this is my prophecy, I'm going back . . . to the Black Country."
From there it was no holds barred as the band ripped through almost all of its self-titled debut album, Hughes continuing to justify his "Voice of Rock" reputation.
Bonamassa, unleashed from his day job as the saviour of blues rock, was a revelation, clearly relishing being not just a band leader but a band member. He must have been relaxed because instead of the usual designer suit and sharp shoes, he was sporting jeans and trainers . . . still designer, of course.
It's virtually impossible to pick highlights, such was the consistency throughout the 90-minute set, but perhaps special mention should go to the foot-to-the-metal Sista Jane, Bonamassa's showpiece Song of Yesterday, and the extended workout of Too Late For the Sun, Shernian's keyboards more to the fore than on disc.
Hughes introduced Medusa, which he wrote for his 70s band Trapeze, by referring to legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham: "I had the luck of playing this song with the best rock drummer of all time and now I get to play with his son."
Dudley-born Jason gladly accepted the crowd's applause for both him and his father. His Dad would have surely have been proud of a performance which covered the gamut from all-out rock to subtle twists and turns.
And then there were the "cover" versions. If Burn, from Hughes' days with Deep Purple was welcome but a tad predictable,
there were more than pleasant surprises in the choices of Bonamassa's crushing Ballad Of John Henry and Led Zeppelin's hypnotic No Quarter.
Black Country Communion are wasting no time in returning to the studio next year for a follow-up album. They have adopted the Black Country as their spiritual home and on the evidence of last night's rapturous reception, the Black Country has accepted them as their new house band.
Music photography by Ian Harvey / RocktasticPix