Thunder, High Voltage Main Stage, July 24 2011

For so many of thousands of classic rock fans heading to High Voltage on day two, this set was the reason for their trip. In some cases the sole reason. 

Thunder might have ‘retired’ a couple of years back but in the music business you can never say never. And even those die-hards who ensured the farewell UK tour was sold out the length and breadth of Britain managed to overcome that initially bitter taste to feast on a comeback that brought High Voltage to life.

At least it had that effect once the problem with Danny Bowes’ microphone was fixed. For a while it seemed like the festival’s biggest draw would fall flat as one of the finest blues rock singers ever seen on these shores belted out Backstreet Symphony with all of his usual verve – only for the sound to cut out at the crucial moments.

Even after the vocals were sorted Luke Morley’s guitar was stranded woefully low in the mix. Just as Thunder fans flock to hear Bowes’ emotive deliveries so they come from far and wide to appreciate a true master of the electric guitar. Morley may have been on top form but for long periods it was impossible to ascertain just how well he was playing.

Not for the first time in their careers Thunder successfully overcame such technical obstacles to carry their set on pure joy and enthusiasm. There’s something to be said for putting on a show with a smile on your face and never have five guys appeared to enjoy themselves so much. That five eighths of the set featured tracks from their classic debut only served to strengthen the belief that this was a show tailor made for those who have backed the band for day one and yet sufficiently hit-laden to cajole any non-converts.

A rousing rendition of the uber-ballad Love Walked In sent shivers down the spine while the elongated build-up to set closer Dirty Love only served to heighten the anticipation for what must rank as one of the finest British rock songs ever penned. Bowes and Morley might have made a tidy sum from this festival exclusive but then they also made the masses very happy indeed. And that’s exactly what Thunder have always done – and the reason we miss them so much.

Simon Rushworth