February 2nd 1971

WARHORSE  – Nick Simper’s new band released their first single St. Louis on Vertigo in February in the UK.

Nick Simper Warhorse Feb 1971 single St Louis advert

February 12th 1971 Birmingham Town Hall

DEEP PURPLE – The group began an intensive British tour in Leeds, but the five weeks of dates were interspersed with at least three recording sessions and stress, with Roger taken to hospital on the final night. The group had cut back their set by dropping Wring That Neck to try and take some pressure off, and trailed one new song, Strange Kind Of Woman, in the set, issued as a single to tie in with the dates.  Support band were Ashton Gardner & Dyke, but they pulled out before the tour was over as Tony was struggling with crowd reaction.

Deep Purple Birmingham Feb 1971.jpg

The full set list was Speed King (with the strange yodelling piece at the start!), Strange Kind of Woman, Child In Time, Paint It Black, Mandrake Root with encores Black Night, Lucille (and at some shows Good Golly Miss Molly).  A poor incomplete cassette of this show was later released as a CD bootleg.  The town hall (which is listed Grade 1) has hosted popular music shows from the 1950s onward, and most of the name bands have played there in the days before arenas (David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Tony Iommi and er Caitlin Moran – according to the council website!). It normally seats only around 1,000 people.

March 11th 1971  Bumpers Club, Coventry Street, London

Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Roger Glover Bumpers Club

Drummer Pete York organised a few one-off jams in London, and this one featured Ian Paice, Jon Lord and Roger Glover along with other guests.  The band were on a break from touring, and made a couple of visits to the studio around this time to work on Fireball, as well as some sessions for Jon’s Gemini Suite album.

June 24th 1971 Birmingham Mayfair Club
Supported by Quiver.

Deep Purple hadn’t played in the UK since their February tour and had been in the studios finishing Fireball. Their managers slipped in a couple of shows, possibly at the request of the band, to help them get in shape for a big American tour (and possibly because they were offered £1000+ fees).  The Melody Maker review shows they included two new tracks, Anyone’s Daughter and Demon’s Eye, at this show. Demon’s Eye was kept for the subsequent American shows but then dropped.  Quiver were an interesting but short lived prog rock outfit.

June 25 1971 Newcastle Mayfair Ballroom

Supported by Quiver.

Deep Purple and Quiver advert 1971

Newcastle’s Mayfair Ballroom opened in 1961 and began putting on pop bands in the middle of the decade (including what is now thought to be Led Zeppelin’s first ever UK show in late 1968.) Deep Purple Mk 2 had been scheduled to play an early show there in 1969 (it had to be cancelled), but got there in July 1970 and surprisingly returned in 1971 for the gig shown in the advert above (90p a ticket) when normally they would have played somewhere bigger like the City Hall. I suspect it was arranged at short notice.

Newcastle Mayfair Deep Purple

The venue was set up for 1,500 dancers, but could take up to 3,000 for a rock concert and when it closed at the end of the 1990s 5,000 people are said to have attended the final night.
It is probable that Deep Purple played the new tracks at this second one-nighter as well but no recording has come to light so far.

Deep Purple and Quiver Newcastle Mayfair

The stage (not set up for Deep Purple!) photo : Tyne & Wear Archives.

If you know the Brit gangster film Get Carter, then the ballroom scene in that was all filmed here.  It gives a real sense of the atmosphere of a rock club in 1971 (the year the film came out), though despite freeze framing through the sequence we’ve yet to see any Deep Purple posters on the wall.

The Newcastle venue is now the subject of a forthcoming book, detailing the history of the venue as well as the gigs which took place there. If you come from the area and have any tickets or memories of the place, do visit the website and get in touch with Marshall Hall (who as a member of local band Hot Snax trod the boards there himself in 1980). Much of the building was cleared in 1999 for a shopping centre but the venue downstairs survives though being turned into a gym. If you’re into the architecture of entertainment you can see some amazing pictures taken when it was new here.

Jul 28, 1971, Sam Houston Coliseum, Texas.

Blackmore Texas 1971

Deep Purple’s first proper American tour was a solid month of shows, most of which were decent size venues with the band second on the bill to The Faces, with Matthew’s Southern Comfort opening the evening.  The Mk 2 band hadn’t been able to tour there before (apart from a few shows around the time of the US Concerto) but with In Rock having done so well in Europe it was time to try and break them in America, and the shows directly supported the Fireball album which was issued by Warners there during the tour. The band did a shortish set based around Speed King, Child In Time and Mandrake Root with the new single Strange Kind Of Woman. The tour did the job and Warners reported selling 55,000 copies of Fireball in just three days as a result. The band were also earning $3,000 a night on average. Underarm deodorant cost extra!
On the 28th the band played the Sam Houston Coliseum and reportedly went down a storm according to local enthusiasts. Here are two great photos from the show, including one of Ritchie shaking hands with some enthusiastic fans. The general opinion is that they blew The Faces off stage most nights.

Gillan Texas 1971

 October 4th 1971, Royal Albert Hall, London


Although ostensibly promoting their Fireball album, as shown on the tour poster above, the Autumn 1971 UK tour actually saw the group add Highway Star and Lazy to the set, which had yet to be recorded.  The Albert Hall concert was their big London show.  They had played here before supporting Canned Heat (and in 1969 for The Concerto).  This time they had Purple label band Bullet on the bill with them.

November 1st. 1971

Deep Purple make it to the cover of the popular magazine The Record Song Book, one of the first in Britain to show them on the front. Inside a half page feature on the group and the new album Fireball, on which we learn that Ian Gillan is “tossing his words about within the capacious and gritty instrumental vortex”!

Deep Purple cover of The Records Songbook, November 1971

6 Responses to “1971”

  1. Anthony's Hutton Says:

    Do you have a reference for gig in Plymouth on the 14 February 1971 ABC cinema?

    • simon robinson Says:

      This is on a news item in the archive showing most of the dates on this February 1971 UK tour. They also played another cinema. I think the ABC cinema chain may have been trying to get custom away from the usual Uni and Town Hall circuit. This was the last UK tour of the In Rock set.

  2. alex Says:

    two old news from Qui Giovani (’70s weekly italian music magazine)

    1) first one (issued March 25, 1971): recently Deep Purple and Led
    Zeppelin have played together for a benefit concert (Ian Paice said
    that they did it just for fun); anyone confirm?

    2) the second (issued August 12, 1971) film director Dario Argento
    though Deep Purple to score the soundtrack of the horror movie
    Four Flies On Grey Velvet (issued in december 1971) but for
    scheduling problems he opted for another film composer, Ennio
    The interest of the director for the band was essentially for two
    reasons, a huge following during the concerts in Italy in 1971 and
    the movie story involved a rock drummer.

    • simon robinson Says:

      Never heard of DP and LZ playing together…
      The film story is correct, but they ran out of time during what was a very busy year. Shame.

  3. James Hare Says:

    A friend and I attended the early July stop at the Spectrum in Philly – we’d signed up to see Rod and the Faces, this was their support tour for “Every Picture Tells a Story” – but when DP came out and blew the roof off the Spectrum with the opening of Speed King, we were hooked. I’d had the “Shades” album since way back but had no idea of the intervening metamorphosis of the group.

  4. Steve Steele Says:

    A friend of mine was at this show. He said Deep Purple were impressive. Late July is the HOT season in Houston and it can be oppressively hot and humid. The Sam Houston Coliseum was the big venue back then (Houston’s hockey team in the 70s played there), but I bet they skimped on the AC for these rock concerts. It must have been hot as hell in there! They look beat in the photos. $3000 a night? I was a little too young to make this show, but luckily saw them a couple years later for the huge Astrodome Burn tour. I bet they were making a bit more than $3000 a night by then! Great pics.

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