DEEP PURPLE – March 1976

March 12 / 13 1976 • Empire Pool, Wembley.
Support Strapps

Set : Burn / Lady Luck / Getting’ Tighter / Love Child / Smoke On The Water / Lazy / Homeward Strut / This Time Around / Owed To G / Stormbringer – Highway Star

Deep Purple’s Wembley shows appear to have been a nadir for the group and management. Originally the group were to have gone into a summer break agreed on for solo projects, following their lengthy Far East and American tours. British dates were to have happened towards the end of the year. Plans were changed to try and boost the new album and keep fans happy.
The tour was not great, with Glenn and Tommy largely to blame (though in some reviews his performance was singled out for praise). Coverdale decided to leave. What we don’t really know is if the shows hadn’t happened, might the group have stayed together longer.
The Wembley shows were attended by the still powerful music press, who savaged the band in reviews which along with the already mixed reaction to the new line-up from fans would have needed a huge effort to turn around. Glenn and Tommy’s problems were such that this was unlikely to work. Coverdale’s actions were brave in career terms and the summer holiday allowed him, Lord and Paice to prepare for life after Purple. “They all merely go through the motions of a formula which becomes increasingly boring as the set continues. No, they’re not finished. Not quite.” NME reviewer.
Excuses including pleas of jet lag (there were seven days between their last US show and the start of the UK tour) were put out. The NME suggested Tommy had to be carried on stage, though didn’t go into details. Even the stalwarts at Sounds were resigned. “Bitterly disappointing. By the end of the evening we were sorely disillusioned.” Sounds reviewer.
Most opinion has it that the second show was considerably better. Originally they had planned just one concert, but added an extra show due to ticket demand.
Audiences tapes of the second night survive. It’s possible mixer desk cassette tapes also exist. Details of the tour programme are on the DPAS website here.
If you were there and have any comments, or took photos, do get in touch.

Deep Purple Wembley 1976

March 15 1976 • Liverpool Empire Theatre
Support : Strapps.

Set : Burn / Lady Luck / Getting’ Tighter / Love Child / Smoke On The Water / Lazy / Homeward Strut / This Time Around / Owed To G / Stormbringer – Highway Star

This was the infamous final concert of the original line-ups. The band had received some rough reviews for their London shows and faced an uphill struggle. Tommy Bolin didn’t win the fans over and at the end of the concert David Coverdale decided to quit. The concert had sold out by the time I applied for tickets, but luckily I knew the girl doing the press for the tour and she was able to help out. We saw the band arrive direct from Scotland in a couple of hired Ford Granadas. Tommy had fallen asleep and in the dark when the roadie opened the door he fell onto the pavement!

Deep Purple Liverpool Empire Theatre 1976

“Probably the worst concert I ever had the misfortune to see. I had really enjoyed ‘Come Taste The Band’ and whilst the absence of Blackmore was a disappointment for my first Purple gig, I was hopeful of a cracking show. Unfortunately, Hughes’ extended funk diatribe and Bolin’s disastrous solo spot saw the concert plumb the absolute depths. It was brought into further focus with the exhilarating Rainbow Liverpool Empire gig later that year. Felt sorry for Coverdale (who gave it his best shot), Lord and Paice, but the other two members just seemed to be on a different planet. A big, big disappointment.” Gerard Fox

Deep Purple Liverpool 1976

To see more images on the DPAS website from the concert, click here. For details of a poster of live photos from the show click here.


IGB did a tour opening for Nazareth in June. Nazareth headlined and IGB opened some shows, although Slade were second on the bill at some shows and IGB relegated to third act. This leg of the tour began on May 26.  Yet to confirm when IGB joined.

6 June 1976  • Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

15 June 1976 • Denver Arena Auditorium, USA (see advert. Thin Lizzy added at last minute, after IGB!)

17 June 1976 • Houston Music Hall USA

22 June 1976 • Freedom Hall – Johnson City, Tennessee, USA

24 June 1976 • Knoxville Coliseum, Knoxville ,Tennessee, USA

25 June 1976 • Salem Civic Center, Salem, Virginia, USA

30 June 1976 Wed • Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, USA (openers Angel)

1 July 1976 • Beacon Theatre, NYC, New York, USA (last date)


After Deep Purple split, Glenn Hughes quickly embarked on American tour featuring a new line-up of Trapeze – Galley, Hughes and Holland – promoted by Thames Talent, and playing places across the southern states where they had been huge before Glenn joined Deep Purple.  It was an awful experience for everyone as Glenn was out of control due to drug abuse. Some of this is detailed in Glenn’s 2011 autobiography. Full date list not yet confirmed but included:

18 August 1976 • Keil Auditorium, St. Louis, USA (first show)

20 / 21 August 1976 • Austin, Texas, USA (support The Runaways)

August • Electric Ballroom, Atlanta, USA

12 Sept 1976 • Arlington, Dallas, Texas, USA (final show)

After this, the line-up broke up, the other refusing to work with Glenn again.

Trapeze Sep 17 76 poster.jpg

17 Sept 1976 • Rock Of The North, Newcastle (support Slack Alice) cancelled

There were plans for the reformed Trapeze to do some British shows after the American tour but it had been so bad, these were cancelled. This is a rare poster for one of the proposed shows which came up for auction. I did see Slack Alice once, supporting The Alex Harvey Band, they were really awful!

4 Responses to “1976”

  1. historywithlifeandtimes Says:

    I was at the Saturday Wembley gig, though suspect I’d have sent off for tix for the Friday before Saturday was added and was sent one back for the freshly added show. It sounds like the Friday was much more fun! I can’t remember anything about it at all truth be told. I really liked this line up because they had the funk that previous line ups never got near. I’ve always loved soul music so it floated my boat.

    • simon robinson Says:

      It’s funny, some gigs I can’t recall much from but my one Mk 4 show does generate quite a lot of memories…

  2. Rob Corich Says:

    Very interesting. I saw them in New Zealand in November 1975 at the very beginning of the CTTB tour. They were on fire and it still remains one of my favourite gigs ever. This was however weeks before the infamous problems in Indonesia and Japan. I still have a recording of this somewhere done on a tiny National Panasonic reel to reel that we smuggled in being the naughty teenagers we were. 😊

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