1998 Tommy Bolin Tribute Concert Denver, Colorado

We arrived in Denver Thursday evening and having had a relaxing evening, were eagerly awaiting the following days events. We weren't to be disappointed. Overall, the band with Glenn leading, we're in fine form, so much tighter than last year. Each one of them playing outstanding sets. Glenn was so relaxed and thankful to all the fans, it was a real treat to be part of the weekend. Our special thanks to Mike Drumm, Jamie and all at The Tommy Bolin Archives for putting together another great two day event. The afternoon spent at the rehearsals was one of the many highlights - despite the Denver heat and humidity!

On Friday afternoon we headed to The BUG Theater for the rehearsals and to pick up our tickets. As we got closer to the venue, we could not believe the state of the neigbourhood, a real grotty area. When we arrived, we found a parking lot across the street, and then waited for the doors to open. We could hear the band rehearsing, it was very surreal, listening to Glenn belting out "Your Love Is Alright", while the sun was shining on a very humid day, standing outside in this very run down part of town!
We spotted an old friend of ours from California and went over to greet him, then noticed two other familiar faces, Damien DeSimone and Ko Mitani, fellow CTC'ers! It was great to see Damien and Ko. It's hard to believe it was a whole year ago since we had seen Damien and 6 months for Ko, as we met up with him in LA for the Emerson/Bonilla shows, which Glenn appeared in this past January. We had a great time catching up and shooting the breeze!
Finally the doors opened and we went inside to pick-up our goodies! The weekend passes, t-shirts, CD's and posters as part of the 'Whole Enchilada' package. Carrying the goods, we headed inside the dark and small theatre, a perfect size for the rehearsals. It holds, we guess, about 100 people. As we walked down towards the stage, Glenn and the band were in between songs. Glenn spotted us and shouted out "Good to see ya!" and waved. The band had been there since 10am that morning, Glenn did 3 songs while we were there. "Gettin' Tighter" is the only one we remember!
Once those were completed, the band took a break and so did we - it was extremely warm and humid inside the theater. We went outside to grab some air, and were chatting away with some other folks we hadn't seen since last year. We heard someone say "It's bloody hot", we turned around as we thought it was a fellow Brit. - indeed, it was Glenn! He walked up to us and gave us a hug and a handshake, and David wished him a Happy Birthday. He then told us he was finished for the afternoon and would be back in the evening for the dress rehearsal. David thanked him for letting us know, as it was very hot and humid both inside and out and we wanted to go somewhere to cool off. Glenn went on his way, and we went back in briefly to say our good-byes until the evening, we then headed back to the hotel to freshen up!
We got back to The BUG a little late that evening - we took a wrong turn and got there the long way!! When we finally arrived and got inside, we spotted Damien and Ko, and they had kindly saved us two seats - thanks guys. Jeff Cook (former Energy vocalist) came on stage followed by the other band members, a huge applause came from the crowd and the band went straight into Rock Me Baby, followed by Goin' Down
Jeff then introduced Glenn, who walked on stage to rapturous applause. Glenn was wearing black jeans with white stitching, and a black silk shirt with red trim, which looked very much like a pyjama top! Yet another unique look and very stylish.
Post Toastee kicked things off, with Glenn in fine form. It was amazing to hear the band this year, they're so much tighter as a unit compared to last time and sounded like they had been playing together for ages. They were also a little more experimental in their interpretation of the Bolin material.
The crowd was a lot more vocal this year, although not as relaxed when it came to boogie-ing around! We've never heard so many guys going crazy during the whole performance, it was so good to know that Glenn is getting this attention, even if it's not from his own material.
In an amusing skit Glenn commented, "Ladies and Gentleman, here we are on the 21st August, 1998 - where people have sexual relations with that woman"? Up next was Shake The Devil, again with Glenn in top form. Gypsy Soul was next. Glenn told us, "the reason I chose these songs is because they mean something to ME. It's a beautiful thing that we have this memory inside of us all".
"You know what they say about us old geezers, we forget lyrics. A week ago or so a guy called me up for an interview and asked 'How can you remember ALL those lyrics?' I wrote the bloody things! (In a real thick Brum accent), "I'm not Ozzy Osbourne, for christ's sake! I'm kidding, I'm kidding!!" Then the beginning chords of Alexis began and so started one of the stand out songs of the evening.
Then a real treat - Lotus - Glenn commented, "This is one of my favourite Bolin songs of all time, Lotus (In An Oriental Sky)".
Johnnie Bolin reminds everyone, at last year's show it was his birthday weekend and this year, it's Glenn's. "We need to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Mr. Glenn Hughes. The crowd erupts....."Happy Birthday To You, Happy Birthday To You, Happy Birthday Dear Daddy, Happy Birthday Mr Glenn Hughes". Glenn followed up with, "I'm still younger than Jon Lord! I'm joking, thank you everyone for being at my party. I do like Sherbert Lemon!!"
What could follow that....Owed to 'G', this was the other favourite song for us this evening, Glenn with his bass and plucking away like there's no tomorrow! Coast To Coast followed with Glenn telling us, "something happened since last year, I can't see a bloody thing without glasses! This is a song I wrote along time ago..... bloody hell, I'm 46 today and I wrote it in 1970!"
After CTC, Glenn gave a message to bootleggers out there who have taken advantage of Tommy Bolin material and particularly of last year's concert, as there has been one floating around. "For myself, Glenn Hughes, it's not a problem for illicited bootlegs to be sold, but for anything with the name Tommy Bolin on front, I think it's very disgraceful to do that. You can bootleg the shit out of my concerts, I like you to hear my work, but this is a whole different thing. I'll give you $20,000 NOT to sell a bootleg".
Gettin' Tighter followed with the crowd going crazy and Glenn's bass getting a thorough workout. He really was enjoying himself and the crowd. He told us "it's been a fabulous year for me this past year. I've made 6 albums in 6 years and I needed to take some time for myself. I haven't toured America in so long, but that's in preparation as we year I'll be playing a tour of America. There are reasons why I haven't done it, spiritually I didn't think I was ready. But next year is a time I've prepared for this".
The wonderful keyboard introduction of You Keep On Moving began a blistering version of this classic song. The crowd was cheering so much at the end, but it was the last song of the evening, at least that's what we thought! Luckily two encores followed, wonderful renditions of Dreamer and Teaser. Glenn left us with this, "I hope you'll have me back next year".
Friday evening's set list was as follows:
Rock Me Baby, Goin' Down (featuring Jeff Cook), Post Toastee, Shake The Devil, Gypsy Soul, Alexis, Lotus, Owed To 'G', Coast To Coast, Gettin' Tighter, You Keep On Moving, (Encore) Dreamer, Teaser.

Saturday afternoon began with the Meet 'N' Greet session at The Bluebird Theater. This year there was a huge turnout, although the layout of the Bluebird appeared different, it felt smaller this time around. Maybe it was the lack of tables and chairs, we missed those chairs later on! Glenn and Johnnie were the first band members there and it took about 20 minutes to round up the rest of the band.
Rob Sample, our friend from California who now lives in Denver, showed up along with Damien and Ko and the four of us hung out while waiting for the line to slow down. Rob had brought his photo album which featured Glenn in concert with Hughes/Thrall in San Jose and San Francisco in 1982. Some great shots of Glenn in his youth and ours! It seems like yesterday!!
We finally got close to the front of the line and once there, Glenn was gracious enough to sign the 1997 Tribute CD which we had received the day before. Shirean got a photo with Glenn and Rob had most of his stuff signed, along with a Tommy Bolin postcard for his sister, Gigi, who was back in California, regretting not coming! Glenn enjoyed looking at the Hughes/Thrall photos - "is that really me?", he exclaimed!
It was getting late and everyone had got to meet the band. Glenn was heading out the door, but then was told they had to do the sound check before he left for the afternoon, so reluclantly, he got on stage with his bass and began, but we were being ushered out by security, so missed most of it. But we managed to get a few snaps before we left the building! We only had an hour or so before we had to be back, so we headed back to the hotel again in preparation for the evening performance.
We arrived back at The Bluebird at around 7pm to ensure we found a parking space across the street, we were lucky, there were only two left! We were planning on going to the GooseTown Tavern which was supposed to have been open since 6pm, but the place was all locked up. So we walked down the street and found a dive bar which we stayed in for about 30 minutes. At The Bluebird, we stood in line until they announced pass holders could go in first. Again it was extremely humid out there in line, it was so good to get inside. Once in, we headed straight for the bar for some welcome refreshments. After cooling off, we looked around and noticed that the tables and chairs were missing...aagh, 5 hours standing up, we weren't happy campers! Once we got used to the idea, we found our spot just left of the stage and close up.
There were two other support bands slated to appear before the Tribute band were due on. JRZ System, was the first, a very good 3-piece instrumental group, who covered a couple of Bolin tunes plus one or two of their own. They were very refreshing to hear and should have been given more time - if only to take away from the next band. Emilio, Emilio was next, apparently a local group, whose claim to fame is their leader, Emilio (!?), was taught guitar by none other than Tommy Bolin. They were definitely nothing special, doing a couple of their own tribute songs to Tommy and not very good blues songs. A complete waste of time, and they took the piss with an extended set which everyone around was extremely annoyed about.
After a short interval it was time for the Tribute band to appear. They walked on stage one by one, seconds later it was apparent they were having sound problems, probably due to Emilio, Emilio who were the last on. Mike Drumm checked in with the band to see if there was anything that could be done and to figure out what caused the problems. It's unclear exactly what the cause was, but it took a couple of minutes before everyone was as happy as they could be. Jeff Cook (former Energy vocalist) came on stage when everyone was ready, with a huge applause and went straight into Rock Me Baby, followed by Goin' Down.
He then introduced Glenn, who proceeded to walk on stage with another huge welcome from the crowd. Glenn was wearing the same outfit as the night before. Again, Post Toastee started things off. He was in fine form tonight, holding nothing back. We've been lucky to have seen him a few times in the last 2 years, and you never hear the same song sung the same way, he's always keeping things interesting and fresh.
At the end of the song, Glenn asked the crowd, "Nice to be back in Denver - any new guys/gals this year who didn't make last year?" Some of the audience responded with shouts and clapping. "Oh dear, we're going to have to impress you!" Next up was Shake The Devil. Glenn said "I chose these songs again, as these were most of the one's Tommy wrote. He would come and play them to me before he recorded it, and so they have a special place in my heart", with that Gypsy Soul began and we were given a grand performance of this wonderful song.
Alexis followed soon after. By this time the band was warming up, "It's getting a little hot up here - lose yourself in this one, it's a beautiful 'thang!" said Glenn, as Lotus continued the set. When this one ended, we saw Glenn takeover the bass duties, and before we knew it, Owed To 'G' started, this version was really fresh and great to hear.
"We're getting warmed up now and I've got pyjamas on too! This is one of Tommy's favourite songs and one I've sung for awhile now", Glenn told the crowd as he kicked of his signature tune, Coast To Coast. "Can you feel the love.....this is why we're all here, to celebrate my dearest friend and his music", Glenn continued, while getting ready to perform a blistering version of Gettin' Tighter.
When Gettin' Tighter came to an end, Glenn explained, "Now I'm warmed up, it takes an old geezer a few hours to get started, but then you can't stop, right!" Then followed a very special moment for all, Glenn continues, "this next song is dedicated to my brother, Tommy Bolin and three other guys who were my dear friends, John Bonham, Phillip Lynott and Chris Farley, this one's for you", You Keep On Moving. The wonderful keyboard introduction began and off we went into a thunderous rendition of one of the best songs of the night and appropriately the final song - at least that's what we all thought!
After a brief pause, Jeff Cook and band came back out for two encores. Jeff explained, "Glenn is exhausted, after that last one". After about a minute of Jeff leading the vocals of Dreamer, the first encore, Glenn came backout on stage to finish the song.
Glenn explained his exhaustion, "I got here from Europe the day before yesterday, so I'm a little tired, and I'm off back there again tomorrow, I'm doing a thing in Germany. So it's been really good to see you again, and hope you'll have me back next year? I love Tommy Bolin and this whole thing. Thank you to Mike Drumm and The Archives and staff and the Foundation of Tommy Bolin and all Tommy Bolin fans around the world and of course, my fans as well". Teaser followed, a wonderful version we should tell you. Again making the evening of songs sound new and revitalized.
Sadly the last song of the night had to come, but what a song, a Trapeze favourite and one of ours, Your Love Is Alright. Glenn told us, "I want to do a song that encourages you all to dance, white boys do dance!" And with that we all began groovin'.....
A great ending to a wonderful two days, celebrating the music of Tommy Bolin and for us another chance to witness the greatness of Glenn's vocal talent. We only hope he really pulls it together for 1999 with another unique album and this time, we hope, a full world tour in front of both old and lots of new faces.
Saturday night's set list was as follows:
Rock Me Baby, Goin' Down (featuring Jeff Cook), Post Toastee, Shake The Devil, Gypsy Soul, Alexis, Lotus, Owed To 'G', Coast To Coast, Gettin' Tighter, You Keep On Moving, (Encore) Dreamer (with Jeff Cook), Teaser, Your Love Is Alright.

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