Black Country Communion Live In Wolverhampton opening the 2018 gig calendar for many of the people descending from far and wide to the Civic Hall. With only two shows scheduled this opening night was crammed to the rafters for the last show at the venue before it closes down for a refurbishment, they knew tonight was going to be loud rocking mayhem and the building would crumble and need repairing after a two-hour full on set from the boys known as Black Country Communion.
Opening the set we were all anticipating was a rock overture of Air Raid Sirens bright white searchlights and then Big Train from Afterglow what an introduction. 2018 was coming alive with Black Country Communion tonight. Then straight into Sway, Jason Bonham’s drum heralding in a night where the bass would rule as the deep sounds rolled into the melodic keys of Derek Sherinian, crisp rock chords of Joe Bonamassa and in the limelight the bass and glorious vocals of Glenn Hughes. It was fitting that fifty years on from playing for the first time on this stage Glenn should be playing an anthemic number from the latest album BCCIV. This was the Phoenix coming home howling like a wolf to the full moon as the flames rose in the mighty chords of rock to engulf the audience and raising the temperature. The set worked around chosen tracks from the album including Wanderlust, The Crow dramatic on the album and live it had an additional rawness and intensity as Glenn howled the audience absorbed every night with pure joy at this phenomenal rock display the keys from Derek were on fire lighting the stage with cascading notes of pure joy matched by the scintillating Bonamassa guitar. Then Over My Head instantly recognised as the single from the album; live its energy is unleashed and beats out the granite rhythm what a song to have been imagined when asleep then written down full of melodic rhythms and a mesmerising chorus. We are as one now wishing the night near to end as Glenn sings may the night never end…… One of the many memorable moments was The Last Song for my Resting Place as Joe Bonamassa took over vocals with Gerry O’Connor bringing his brand of Irish heavy metal fiddle and mandolin. Wow, the emotion, love and power of the lyrics shook the Civic Hall as the leader/head violinist of the Orchestra playing on the Titanic a rock song about a violinist written by Joe came alive tonight as a Rock classic rooted in the Irish Tradition.
This was not a night selling the latest acclaimed album they let the music do the talking and selling as interspersed through the set were numbers from the debut, second and Afterglow the third and what many thought would be the final album from Black Country Communion. We were wrong the quartet is definitely back with the bonds of musicianship, friendship and mutual admiration as strong as ever. From the self-titled debut album Song of Yesterday was a standout moment and This is Your Time from Afterglow it is definitely Black Countries Communion time in Wolverhampton. Glenn’s vocals were superb creating an atmosphere of deep granite rock with foundations deep and wide. The interplay between Joe was friendly and vocals harmonized and at other times intimated the call and holler. Always the cementing rock chords from Bonamassa’s guitar that talked to the audience, cried, moaned and hit cascading crescendos of rock guitar glory every song was played with passion and joy. Closing the two-hour set was Black Country a perfect closing number with its message “I am a messenger … I’m goin’ back to the Black Country“. The prophecy was true tonight. The stage went dark the crowd was noisier then ever this was music we wanted more of. The waiting was short as we had a three-track encore opening with Collide the opening track of BCCIV this was high energy lets keep the party going music. Then we were taken back to a nightclub in Los Angeles and the first number Glenn & Joe played together back in the ’70’s blues-rock power-driven Faithless. The night definitely now was coming to a close as Deep Purple’s Mistreated rocked the Civic Hall before the builders move in… what a stupendous performance of this classic track from Burn.
Tonight, was a truly memorable night of live music. A brilliant kick-start to the 2018 gigging calendar. The night could never be described as a rollercoaster why? No lows only highs a true rocking carousel ride of live music. Thank you Black Country Communion for the love and sharing your live set in the heart of the Black Country tonight in Wolverhampton.
All photographs copyright Christie Goodwin – Bluesdoodles gives a big thank you to Christie the official Black Country Communion photographer for the use of her superb photographs.