UK Tour October 2013
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Well, the first Purple tour I’ve had to miss since 1971. We had the tickets but a shockingly rough headcold laid us both low on Thursday and got increasingly worse by Saturday, so reluctantly had to pass (we gave the tickets away via one of my brother’s mates so they were not wasted!). Had it been in town we’d have probably gone via taxi, but the never easy drive over the Snake Pass in heavy rain, thick mist and more was beyond me.
So it was down to sticking on a Jason Statham DVD (brain too fogged for anything more challenging) and relying on friend’s reports as it happened by email.
SET LIST – I have put this on a separate page for those who prefer to be surprised. Let’s just say five new songs…!
Really enjoyed the concert and thought the lighting/images etc. were quite impressive, bathing the stage in colour. I wasn’t sure what to expect but the band rolled on like a well oiled machine and for me Gillan sounded great, although he didn’t attempt anything too high. The last time they played the Apollo in 2009 I was starting to wish he’d not attempt anything he clearly wasn’t going to reach. The set list was a nice balance of old and new, so no complaints there. I don’t think they played Highway Star, although I was distracted occasionally by the guy in front who seemed to think he needed to record the entire gig on his phone, those of us behind paid to see a band not an arm. Richard Taylor.Me and the missus had great seats in the front stage-left wing of the circle affording a super view. From our vantage point we noticed Mrs Gillan was sat with the monitor mixing desk engineer all night, nodding her head along to the beat (’til she put her coat on and stood to one side, giving us early warning that we were already into the final number). A good show all in the all I thought, around an hour and 50 minutes I think. Nice to have so much of the new material still in the set, some numbers standing up very well I thought. The band seemed very cheerful and performed very well with Steve’s grin getting wider and wider as the night went on. Roger shows no visible sign of his shoulder problem while playing, and bounced around the stage with abandon for much of the night.
IG’s decrepitude continues tour by tour. Although we have great affection for the old sod he was all over the place at times in the first few numbers, I’m finding it increasingly uncomfortable to watch. His remaining voice seemed to stand up well in certain songs but in others he really does struggle terribly. Unsurprisingly he has the lyrics to the newer songs tapped to the floor at his (no longer shoeless) feet but his eyesight must be in good fettle because the bits of paper didn’t seem very big. I really don’t know how much longer he should continue, though I expect he’ll want to just go on and on. He puts in a great performance on CD but live he’s very much the weakest link. Still, for my only show of the tour, I went away pretty cheerful, well worth the effort of hauling ourselves over there after a long wet day’s walking in the Peak.
Oh and I’ve finally managed to join that “exclusive” club (numbering around 3.5 million) of recipients of an RG plectrum, the one he chucked at the balcony landing right at my feet. Apologies to the lass energetically dancing behind me for much of the night to whom I suspect it was probably aimed!
Musically it was first class. Mr Paice was fantastic though I wasn’t so sure about his drumsticks with LED’s. Morse is always first class and Glover was his usual bundle of energy, he knows how to milk the crowd. But they need a new singer, he was farcical to watch. Not only does he struggle but he was flat for the first few numbers.
Images of Jon were a nice touch, definite lump in the throat.
It were good. Grills shocking, new songs great. Opening with Après Vous a great plan. They should cull more oldies but we still got five new ones. Couple of cock ups, Hell To Pay went adrift unintentionally and Don forgot they had dropped Perfect Strangers down a tone from d to c.
Also, it was packed. Really packed. Good mix of ages too. Average age 18, not really. 16 to 60, excluding those on stage, of course.
A super evening, Purple were well received and enjoyed by a packed Apollo. The set list was great with five items from Now what ! And yes the previous comments are correct IG struggles on a occasion , but the guy is edging towards his seventies and as far as I am concerned he has earned the right. These guys tour almost non stop. I love them and would rather see Gillan doing what he does now than not see him at all.. He can still hold a crowd in the palm of his hand.
The guys had great respect for their audience , who in turn returned that respect. I cant wait for Birmingham on Tuesday. John Perfect
Wouldn’t have gone but my 10 year old son James keeps liking DP tunes so I said I’d take him. Had great seats in the circle. I love lots of the Morse era DP but of course they always play lots of the old stuff, and I’m afraid for me it has to be Ritchie and Jon. So typically I really enjoyed the new album material, would have loved to have heard more Morse era stuff, and struggled with the older stuff, maybe with the exception of “The Mule” which was fun. Left after Smoke as James was struggling with the volume and lights…. and I was happy not to hear anymore of Green Onions and so on.
I was shocked that the backing band was a novelty covers band – and even more shocked that they actually went down quite well. Come on everyone, they should have been booed off! Where is the spirit of the 70′s and 80′s, have we all got X Factored out? Yes they were good, but this just isn’t right!! John Blackburn
Not the setlist I was expecting. The curtain fell, Paicey’s snare set the tempo and the band roared into the familiar strains of Highway S…. er Après Vous! Après Vous? Excellent.
Deep Purple were in fine form in Manchester last night. As tight, and loose, as I’ve heard them on recent tours. Gillan’s voice was in good form throughout. It goes without saying that, at 68 he doesn’t soar to the screaming highs he once did, but then he doesn’t try to sing Child In Time these days and the new material suits the lower register. Purple are obviously, and justifiably, proud of the new album and five Now What?! tracks got an outing. When was the last time Deep Purple felt that new songs were strong enough to oust the classics? We were eleven songs in before the first Machine Head number, Lazy, showed up.
Steve Morse was as fluid as ever. While an amazing technician I have sometimes found his soloing to be slightly repetitive but in Manchester he was inventive and nuanced, and seemed incredibly comfortable; and why shouldn’t he be, he’s been with the band almost 20 years. Don Airey too, as on the album, seems happier and more integrated, less of a hired hand, more his own man. The interplay between these two approached Blackmore/Lord heights.
Roger is the heart of the band. His playing is better than ever and he is clearly enjoying himself. But, for me, Ian Paice was the real star. He was tireless, his heavy backbeats driving the band forward. But little Ian does so much more than keep the time. His rhythms are syncopated and constantly evolving. His drum solo is back where it belongs – a slave to The Mule (or the Mole as Gillan introduced it) – and this time there was the novelty of drumsticks with LED lights in the tips which alternately flashed red, blue and green! It has always mystified me that John Bonham is talked of with such awe when Paice is, and always was, a much more complete player.
Other highlights were the dedication of Above And Beyond to Jon Lord, whose image was displayed on the backdrop, the introduction to Uncommon Man, a song that works well live, and Gillan’s sparkly ‘Elvis’ jacket, donned for Hush! Alan Taylor
Decided to take my 19 year old daughter and 8 year old son to see the Apollo gig on Saturday (I know how to treat the kids to a fun-time!).
Nearly didn’t make it as we were stuck in an unmoving jam trying to escape the Trafford Centre! After 2 hours, we abandoned the car, and had to catch 2 heaving buses, arriving just as the support band finished.
I wasn’t sure of Apres Vous as an opener, but the 5 ‘Now What’ songs were very welcome, even ‘Hell To Pay’ with Glover and Morse joining in the chant. I DO think Gillan was slightly out of sorts, but sounded pretty good for the most part, especially on the newer songs. My daughter thought he sounded the same as the cd’s but was disturbed at the number of times he left the stage! The last time I saw them – on the orchestra tour – I thought he was excellent, and was singing in a slightly different style. I’m sure he can’t of deteriorated that much in a couple of years, so let’s not write him off just yet!
The Mule was a highlight for me (Gillan sounding good) and I enjoyed Paice’s sparkly solo in the dark! Perfect Strangers was also outstanding, despite the key change. Morse was superb as usual and his Contact Lost solo easing into Uncommon Man was brilliant. I’ve never been a big fan of Well Dressed Guitar though. Don Airey sounds so loud, confident and established now, and Roger’s solo spot is always entertaining.
The lack of Highway Star was slightly strange, and I would have preferred this as a closer instead of Black Night but still….it shows that they can miss out anything now, except maybe one….? Simon Rees
BIRMINGHAM NATIONAL INDOOR ARENA
I was a bit concerned about how Ian would sound after reading comments about Manchester, but Ian gave a great performance in Birmingham. This was probably the best I have heard him sound for a while. The set was a good mix and even though I don’t enjoy the new material on CD as much as the earlier material I enjoyed the songs live. After all, having been to every tour since Knebworth, there’s plenty of the older songs that have been over played. The band seem far from past it, unfortunately I can’t say the same about the audience. I have been to all sizes of venues this year from acoustic shows at comedy clubs to a full NEC Arena show from Rush. This was the worst crowd I’ve ever spent an evening with. Standing and enjoying the show was sneered at. Purple are a rock band! If you want to sit and watch a show buy a DVD. Sandwiching Purple between shows from The Temperance Movement and The Answer (tomorrow in Wolverhampton) will just emphasise the point. I felt sorry for the band on Tuesday, it must be hard to give that level of performance when the feedback from a seated audience is so low key. When this happened on the last tour I thought it was due to having an orchestra with the band. Unfortunately I was wrong. Also while I am ranting I don’t get the critical comment about the percentage of the show when IG sings. Listen back to Made in Japan. Purple have always been a high musical/solo based band. I doubt the singing percent is much different today than it was back in 1972. Oh, one last thing, it was the best Hush in years with the extended guitar/keyboard battle integrated into this song. It was the encores where the band seemed to relax more and jam a bit. Carl Miller.
I think it’s the size and unfriendly atmosphere of the Brum arena venues which sort of intimidates audiences, it’s been the same for most of the shows I’ve been to there – which is why I stopped going. Simon
Was at the Roundhouse last night, about 3 rows back from Roger. This was the best Purple gig I have seen in many years,
Roger as previously mentioned is the heart of the band, enjoying himself immensely, plectrums flying into the crowd as usual.
Ian’s drum solo again proving how underrated he has always been, great touch with the colourful drum sticks.
My biggest concern was the reviews of Ian’s voice, many comments re the decline of his vocal prowess. I needn’t have worried, he was brilliant! Of course we’ll never hear Child In Time again but now he sings within his capabilities, and even the screams he put in were confident and impressive. Wonderful.
Ok so no Highway Star, as bemoaned by fans on the tube afterwards, but the amount of songs from the latest album was refreshing, especially Hell to Pay, so losing an old favourite was well justified to make room for new material. Brilliant gig, interesting support,
Purple go from strength to strength and let’s hope for a live release from these dates. David Hobbs.
I greatly enjoyed the first Roundhouse show, the opening hour or so of which was outstanding, other than SKOW, which is 30 years past its sell by date. Highlight was undoubtedly Hard Lovin’ Man, which managed to teeter on the balance of control and free fall like in the 70s, a trick that doesn’t come through on the newer material. Nice to have The Mule back, though I’d like some more of the original song as well as the drum solo. Five newies was a pleasant surprise, Hell To Pay coming over particularly strongly compared to the album, along with It’s Good To Be King (sub-ed, insert proper name please).
Gillan was in much better voice than I’d been led to expect, but it was Don who really stole the show with some fine work that got stronger as the evening went by. Hush was a particular highlight with solo trading, while Paice had his own game in playing around with the beat. Glover has been described as the anchor to all this, but his solo was a big let down, a bit of strumming then call and response that went nowhere.
Probably the most sensible thing they have done is pace the set so that Gillan gets breaks and can keep fresher, hence HLM coming when it did, and Contact Lost, though surely they can accommodate some new Morse instrumentals however well this and Well Stressed Guitar are played. Matthew Kean
Hi Simon, the first time I’d seen any version of Purple since March 1976 at Wembley Arena.
Starting off with what I’m reliably informed was ‘Apres Vous’, which was a nice opener, although I did think it was ‘Highway Star’ for a couple of seconds. Straight into ‘Into the Fire’ and then a surprise for me, ‘Hard Lovin Man’ both from ‘In Rock’. Great stuff and both I never thought I’d see IG singing. The sound wasn’t too bad at all. You could certainly hear Don soaring above everything else all night, which is no bad thing. He’s certainly got that 60’s Hammond sound off to a ‘t’.
Steve’s little suite of songs was ‘OK’ by me, I just felt it a little long. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, though.
‘Strange Kind of Woman’ was nice, although I do think they toned the vocal/guitar interplay because of IG’s voice. ‘Hell to Pay’ I rather enjoyed. And of course, the keyboard solo straight into ‘Perfect Strangers’ was absolutely lovely, is this the best Mk2 re-union track? I think so.
‘Space Truckin’ was in there, which I enjoyed hugely, but it seemed a tad too slow these days, maybe IG can’t keep up? ‘Smoke’ was OK, but I couldn’t help but notice that Morse doesn’t play it correctly (see Ritchie’s lesson on the Classic Albums tv programme).
So, Don ; star of the night I thought, although the little classical bits plus others (‘Maybe it’s Because I’m a Londoner’) were a little too rehearsed and ‘twee’.
Paicey ; utterly dependable.
Rog ; same, looked to be really enjoying himself
IG: obviously he can’t do CIT these days, sad to see it dropped, but I was pleased they didn’t even attempt it. He obviously can’t do the high stuff he used to , but everyone succumbs to the ravages of time etc., so overall he was fine. (aside ; I’d still like to hear him do an album where he just ‘sings’ and doesn’t have to yell or struggle over the backing…)
Overall, enjoyable (the band certainly seemed into it) but to me it seemed slightly predictable and well-rehearsed, almost too well rehearsed. Gary Critcher.
That must certainly lay claim to the longest gap between Deep Purple gigs ever Gary (unless Rod Evans joins them on stage sometime).
I did both nights at the Roundhouse (ground floor first night, balcony second). The support band worked for me each evening and I don’t know if it was my improved view from above but I would say the first night was like a dress rehearsal for the second. Much better view of Paice, Airey and Glover, which mattered. Everything felt sharper and tighter the second night and, frankly, the audience seemed more up for it on the second night too. Into The Fire was the poorest song (vocally, rather than instrumentally) both nights and they either need to drop the key so IG can hit the notes or drop it completely – maybe reinstate Mary Long or something from Fireball if they need another oldie to replace it. Great to get 5 new songs and it was only thinking about the set list afterwards that I realised, including Black Night, we had had 6/8ths of Made In Japan because it didn’t feel like it at the time – a thoughtfully constructed set list. Brian Jackson
Roundhouse 1st Night.
Having only missed the Orchestral tour, since 85, the prospect of a re-vamped set, drawing from the more relaxed and dare I say mature Now What album, combined with more quirky intimate venue, filled me with expectation. Rather than dutiful trepidation of the last few tours, where fragmented, at times threadbare new material barely rose above the ordinary. As has been mentioned elsewhere the Purps were descending into tribute band territory, just going through the motions..
No complaints over the selection of new numbers… though perhaps opening with Simple Song may well have been too much to hope for (Pearl Jam, manage the quiet opening track before hitting the ground running with an all out rocker very effectively most nights).
Impressive use of lights, though not as convinced by the pixel panels at back of stage, which I feel could have been used to better effect, overlaying mood and images, though that said, the Jon Lord pic during Above and Beyond and flow during Smoke were effective.
Positives were Gillan, he seemed to be singing well within himself adjusting his range and delivery to suit the material and his limits. Remarkable for his age. The mate I was with suggested some mixing desk assistance… but his pipes certainly better than some younger contemporaries. DC, Brian Johnson etc.. so well done Ian. As mentioned elsewhere Roger in fine fettle, bouncing and driving the whole band along… never convinced of the need for a bass solo though. Not sure what was going on with Little Ian… tucked away at the side. almost hiding behind behind Rogers back line and from my vantage point just within the ring of columns, very much delivering the more minimalistic style of recent years. Impressive and explosive solo during the returning Mule, with flashes of MIJ glory… being a big kid at heart I quite liked the LED drum sticks.
Regarding Steve, must say that post Abandon, I do sometimes struggle to find true engaging melody and soul in the majority of his solos. Well dressed Guitar and Contact Lost are well past their sell by date, and for a virtuoso of his caliber, practicing 7 – 8 hrs a day, you would expect him to deliver something a bit more inspirational or dare I say it spontaneous. The Purps were always about danger and not knowing what was going to happen next…good or bad! The trades with Don didn’t really amount to much. Smiles all round the band and every one seemed to be having a good time..but something just missing.
So we arrive at Don. Appreciate that Now What very much his album, with some nice touches, particularly when he revs up the Hammond, But, do we really need three solos, that don’t actually do anything but re-hash twee Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner refrains. What about rhythm, structure, tone… lets get a groove and mood going. Uncommon Man should have been a chance to really push the envelope, the prematurely truncated solo on the album yearns to be stretched out live. Don’s been a member of the band for over ten years, time to exert some personality!
Not sure if it was just me, as not previously mentioned, but whilst not loud, the sound did seem muddy, with the excellent Vincent Price particularly suffering and losing crunch. Possibly the circular venue, but with current technology and quality of PA shouldn’t be an issue.
Track of the night was Hard Loving Man, capturing the dense run away train feel of the original. Nice to hear SKOW again. Chugging improv trades in stretched out Hush some what wasted and went nowhere. Missed Highway Star, which could have easily replaced Black Night or Space Trucking. As with recent tours the omission of some of the better tracks off Purpendicular and Abandon disappointing, as with the missed opportunity of re-vamping the Mk2 elements… Sooth Dancer and Rat Bat Blue anyone.
So overall a 6/10 experience. It’s tough being Purple as the fans expectations are so high, based upon their past and not so distant glories. I think we all believe they still have it in them, it just doesn’t shine as often as it did. As anno domini ticks on, we can’t be far from the final farewell tour. Grateful they finally got round to recording new material…they needed it to stay relevant.
Keep rocking Guys. Steve Grover
Saw Purple both gigs nights at the Roundhouse, thought they were very good both nights. Good to see them at a smaller and atmospheric venue such as this. The sound and light shows were equally excellent. Gillan seemed at home and was on good form (despite ‘issues’ reported elsewhere) perhaps a more intimate venue helped. The rest of the band sounded tight despite the odd bum note here and there – but what the hell – they were good. Thought the track listing worked well with a fair number of new songs. I wonder if Steve could vary his stuff a bit more something different from ‘Well Dressed Guitar’, Don does a good job fills the sound very well. Purple first played the Roundhouse 30th Nov 1969 – 44 years, not bad going really. Bill Bass.
Bill has put some of his photos online for people to check out: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thenorthernheights/sets/72157636722786364/