Posts Tagged ‘Review’

The sun’s coming out

June 23, 2020

(A day late – and a dollar short! My fault, Ed. This is what Tim Summers remembers…)

35 years since ‘The Return of the Knebworth Fayre’? How did that happen then? Deep Purple Mk 2’s first show in the UK since 1973 was a big, no, HUGE deal – certainly for me, a then 19-year old student living in a shared house in Leeds, still on a fanboy high from the previous year’s reformation. Whilst I’d seen all the members of Mk 2 previously (in Rainbow, Gillan, Whitesnake and Gary Moore’s band), the prospect of seeing THE band all together on one stage had always seemed like an impossible dream – various reformation rumours in the early 80’s having been shot down almost as soon as they’d arisen.

And yet here we were – I returned to my student digs one night after being in the pub (where else?) with some friends from my course to find my rock-loving housemate Alvy (a pseudo-cockney who called everyone ‘barsteads’) raving about a music festival which was to be headlined by Deep Purple and held at Knebworth (‘Where? Oh, that Led Zeppelin place…?’) – he’d already rung up and secured tickets and said that we could stay at his parents’ house in Essex when the time came. Essex is down south somewhere too, so it’s probably close by, right?

Knebworth weekend eventually arrived and I got up early on the Friday for the long coach journey down south – I remember that Radio 1 were (uncharacteristically) playing the Glenn Hughes-sung ‘Dance with the Devil’ from the first ‘Phenomena’ album as I snatched some breakfast. A good sign!


After what seemed like an all-day journey, I arrived at Victoria Coach Station in London, to be met by Alvy (he’d sensibly travelled down by train the day before) and we made our way to his house in Brentwood where his Spanish parents treated me like royalty. For our entire 2 years together at Uni, Alvy had gone on and on about his local beer ‘Ruddles County’, claiming that it was superior to the northern brews I was used to. He and a couple of his mates-from-home watched in anticipation as I tried a pint of the reddish ale in his local boozer that night. “It’s ok”, I proclaimed (it was nice actually, but I wasn’t going to go overboard…).

The next day we got up and after a huge breakfast, began our journey to Hertfordshire. Alvy mentioned that the singer in Bernie Marsden’s Alaska (who were due to open the show), Rob Hawthorne, lived in Brentwood too, and joked that we should go and ask him for a lift to the festival grounds (we didn’t). From memory, I think we caught a local train into London, and then there were special trains laid on to Stevenage (with buses up to the site itself, I think…).

Once there I bought a DP baseball shirt (with a sort of vandalised toilet design on the back) and a programme – and we made our way through the gate and into the showground itself, which seemed to be a h-u-g-e sloping field with a big tree or two, a couple of large mixing desk/lighting(?) structures , and then at the bottom (but raised up), a stage the size of a football field. None of those new-fangled giant screens that the kids today take for granted. We made our way down to a position reasonably close – there were already quite a lot of people there – and waited for the bands to begin (around midday, I think?).


Alaska duly opened proceedings and were…fine. It was good to see Bernie M, but I guess many would have rather seen a more Whitesnakey kind of band. ‘I Really Want to Know’ is still a good song though. Mountain put in a decent performance (I wasn’t familiar with their stuff at all at the time – beyond ‘Nantucket Sleighride’). Mama’s Boys were next – a fine Irish band who somehow never fulfilled their potential – a sort of perennial somewhere-in-the-middle of the festival bill outfit it seemed (I saw them again in ‘86 at Milton Keynes – although thinking about it, they opened the show there – unfulfilled potential). I was looking forward to Blackfoot, having followed them for a little while. Some fans felt they’d recently sold out their southern US rock roots by incorporating ex-Heepster Ken Hensley on keyboards, but I had no complaints at the time. UFO, again I was looking forward to, but again I was probably in a minority by being a fan of their latest – slightly AOR-y – direction. A fight broke out in the crowd just near us whilst they were on – and singer Phil Mogg wore a workman’s yellow hardhat for a bit. ‘Night Run’ sounded good though – and I think we were told to cheer loudly as we were briefly live on Radio 1.

Meatloaf was next. He felt like a slightly odd booking to be honest, and as he lumbered about the sodden stage (did I mention the abysmal weather yet?) with his broken leg in plaster, he was on a hiding to nothing really. Some (traditional) plastic bottles (filled with the customary straw-coloured liquid) were hurled at the stage, and the biggest cheer Mr Loaf got was when he slipped over. The Scorpions followed – Alvy and his mates-from-home were huge fans of theirs – more so than DP – whereas I thought they were just ‘ok’ (genuinely this time). Rightly or wrongly, I think I was slightly more impressed with their ability to form a human pyramid than I was with their music.

But then, but then… as darkness began to fall (proper night-time now, rather than due to black rain clouds) the PA blasted out some of Ritchie’s favourite songs (including Sylvia by Focus, as I recall), the roadies completed the changeover on stage (just the one stage in those days), a Hammond organ coated in plastic sheeting could be spied and then over the PA ‘Tocata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565’ blasted out. It might have been written by Bach, but there was no mistaking that this version was being played by Mr Jon Lord, and as the final note of its famous intro rose and sustained, there they were. Together. On stage. Playing ‘Highway Star’. I’m not crying, you’re crying! Just sheer magic to see and hear – nothing else mattered in that moment, not the rain, not the cold, not the mud – oh god, the mud – all forgotten for the next nearly-two hours as Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord and Paice did their thing. ‘The sun’s coming out in about 10 minutes’ joked Ian G at one point (it was properly night-time dark by then). A pleasing mix of the new album and the old Mk 2 classics, played by a band that seemed as happy to be there as we were to see them. And all too soon it was over, with a massive firework display at the finale (one of which went off early – it can happen to us all – causing Rog to point to the heavens as it whizzed over whilst they were still playing).

Random memories – watching as a fan somehow managed to climb up to the skyscraper stage, giving Rog the fright of his life, before being dived on, and escorted away by road crew; seeing Motorhead’s Lemmy trying to free his van from the mud on the way out (looking back, maybe it wasn’t even him); Ian Gillan telling us that we were ‘the greatest audience in the world’; using the makeshift urinal (before DP came on) which had formed between the back of the kebab stall and a fence – as it was too far to walk right to the back of the site to use the official ones – and seeing a drunken guy slide (in slow motion, it seemed) mid-pee, to the muddy, urine-soaked ground, only to be covered up with a sheet of cardboard by his mate (“He’ll be all right”). He’s probably still there; Ian G’s naughty intro to ‘Knocking at Your Backdoor’ (edited out of the radio transmission/official release); taking most of the night to get back to Alvy’s parents’ house on the train(s); waking up the next afternoon to find my favourite boots (which I’d assumed were ruined by the damp and the mud) shining like new, having been tended to by Alvy’s army-trained dad; Ritchie swapping his guitar for Rog’s bass (and vice versa) towards the end of the show; Alvy somehow spotting my mate-from-home, red-headed Dave (who he’d only met once) in the crowd of 70,000 – I returned from a trip to the kebab stall toilets to find, to my amazement, Dave with our little group. Apparently Alvy saw what he thought was him in the distance and just yelled (with a mockney twang) “Dive! Dive! Oi, Dive, ya ginger-haired barstead!” (and then when he turned round “Oh, thank god it IS you!”); Roger standing and saluting during the ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ part of ‘Under the Gun’ (which had been introduced in ‘German’); Laser-wig van Beethoven conducting along during ‘Difficult to Cure’; Ian G starting to sing the wrong verse to ‘Gypsy’s Kiss’ and inventing new lyrics on the spot (t’was ever thus); Ritchie walking across the stage to Jon, shaking his head during the intro to ‘Woman From Tokyo’ (did he think that one of them was playing it wrong?); the ‘Burn’ riff during ‘Speed King’; everyone singing along during ‘Smoke’ (attempting to lift the clouds), as Ian G told us “THIS is the highlight of the tour”; Deep Purple! I’d seen Deep Bluddy Purple!

Seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago. Forever etched in the rosy (and yes, muddy) glow of memory. Tim Summers.

My thanks to Tim. Photos from the show at, our archived site.

Simon’s condensed version is also on there (from DTB Issue 32 nostalgia fans).

He has also jotted his recollections down of preparing the 1991 LP / CD release of the concert for Connoisseur Records on his design site.

knebworth-festival 2

In Concert 2017

November 17, 2017


Well that was a fairly good, grownup, “elder statesmen of rock” type performance. [Update – a couple of lucky folk who were there have posted stories in the comments section below]. I do wonder if people tuning in who didn’t know the band thought they’d found a new prog rock outfit at times, and the BBC audio (as least on the red button) was pretty flat and unbalanced which dulled the edge, but the filming was more complex than I expected; the last In Concert I watched (Blondie) was a few years back and most of the cameras were static. This was much more professional. Very strange to actually be watching live as it happens Deep Purple on a UK TV too, I struggle to recall the last time, possibly 1968 when they did the David Frost Show? Lovely looking venue too, all art deco, really worked well with the lighting.
That parpy ELP sound in Uncommon Man still drives me to distraction and All I Got Is You off the new album  is no substitute for Hip Boots, but other than that it was good to have an hour set with so much reunion material (and kicking off with Time For Bedlam from Infinite), and a small but dedicated audience which understood and appreciated it all. The two strongest tracks off Infinite sounded good and it’ll be great to hear these in a concert venue (I guess this show acts as a sort of amuse bouche for the UK tour.) A few bum notes here and there, but mostly they came across pretty well. I liked the way Steve got grungier as the set wore on too. Indeed it was all zipping along and I was quite surprised when they suddenly kicked in to Smoke and realised it was coming to an end! [Update, I checked and it was scheduled for two hours, even the band were confused.] The encore of Hush probably over-ran the radio slot, but otherwise the timing was spot on.  Ian Gillan looked a bit nervy at times – hardly surprising if so –  but his new lyric stand was a smart addition and kept him up to speed. Other rock singers have been doing this lately and wonder if it might become a permanent option?
As far as we can work these things out the show will be viewable now via the BBC iPlayer app for 30 days. Quite why the BBC don’t show these on BBC4 TV in HD is beyond me, seeing as how most nights it’s all repeats!

LP Reviews and News

March 17, 2017


This is going to be a long one!  I promised a review for last Monday but it’s been a mad week work wise so my thoughts and those of another fan lucky enough to have been allowed a listen (please do not pester either, reviews are mostly done via a secure streaming server these days) follow further down the page after the news:

The ‘making of’ documentary shown over the weekend on Sky will be on the DVD package, and in a longer form (after paying your subs and having to watch ads every 10 mins, it came down to about an hour; the DVD is 90 mins.) It is being repeated tonight I think, and premiered in Cardiff today by the production company too (I thanked them for their nice invite, but need more than 24 hours notice to travel that distance these days!)
The prog. did give the distinct impression that Steve Morse is really struggling with his hand, which as many know has been encased in a medical support bandage on stage for a couple of years now. He is not sure how much longer he can carry on playing. This naturally cast a shadow over what most say was an otherwise insightful programme:

“The Sky Arts documentary was very enjoyable, and a good teaser for the album – sadly broken up by ads every 10 minutes. Very interesting to see how much Bob Ezrin was able to just jump in (eg at the height of Steve overdubbing his solo on Birds Of Prey) – to say things like “no, not like that…”
A real highlight was the first instrumental take of Bedlam, performed live in the studio. This includes the solos. Amazing to watch. The track finished at that point, with everyone congratulating Don on his playing.
The main health issue seems to be Steve’s arthritic right hand. He was saying it might be the last album he’d be able to record.”
David Browne

“Ian Gillan and Roger Glover explain that the title of ‘All I Got Is You’ comes from an expression Paicey has been using for decades.  Ian Gillan comments that Little Ian always wanted paying for contributing the odd word to the lyrics – “He’s a very funny guy. He’s an annoying fuck actually!” (laughs).
Steve explained his condition as being a consequence of his playing technique over the past 50 years; the way he twists his hand across his guitar so that he can both pick the strings and use the heel of his hand to mute them has led to osteoarthritis in his wrist – basically the cartilage has worn away, so bone is rubbing on bone if he plays like this, causing pain.”
Tim Summers

And nobody should underestimate the power of coverage like this; in that well known tax dodger’s online shop it went from No. 70 in the pre-sale chart to 58 about an hour after the broadcast. It went up to 26 the next day and was in the top ten by Sunday afternoon!  The docco is also being screened in selected cinemas across Germany this week, Edel – clearly enthused by the reaction to the last album – seem to be going great guns on the promotion again.


Having been playing this for a few days now it will be interesting to see what everyone else makes of it. Now What did mark a bit of a change in direction and experimentation and this one feels like it was recorded in much the same spirit. Overall it’s very solid musically; there are nods to Purple’s past which many will pick up on, but it’s often a grungier and denser sound than the last album, and were they to graft a large chunk of these tracks into the stage set this year (if!) it should make for a killer show.
In a way it is a shame they feel they can’t trial tracks so much on stage now for fear of pirating, as some of the material does sound like it comes from a standing start, whereas the one cut they have done live is quickly becoming a favourite. There are a couple too many good time late night bar stories from Ian Gillan lyrically for me, in these uncertain times there are more pressing matters which might have inspired another barbed lyric or two, and certainly the backings would take a heavier approach in this department from the front man. But when he does find the muse outside the tavern it all comes together and Birds Of Prey is a good example, sounding very grown up.  I think this is the one Classic Rock sort of dismissed as a Zepp knock off (in fact I was more reminded of Yes at one point, maybe CR’s prog rock comments were more on the button than I realised); yes Steve gives it a real Pagey type rhythm, but takes it much further and to me CR missed the point rather; once you move on from the opening few bars it is very much a Purple track and it’ll be a proper humdinger on stage, believe me.
Time For Bedlam most have now heard and it makes a strong opener. I can hear the Pictures Of Home echoes which some have mentioned, reinforced mostly by Ian’s vocal melody line and Steve Morse’s work, but it’s hardly a distraction. I still can’t make my mind up about the chanted vocal section which top and tail this but otherwise it is infused with the spirit of Purple throughout.
The Surprising is one of the longer offerings, and they range far and wide over the course of a sometimes slower more laid back track. Lovely vocals from Ian, full of emotion at times. The band sort of go for epic, me I’d have been as happy to edit out the wandering middle section and tighten it all up, but it clearly gives them a kicking off point for a live take. There are nods back to Gates Of Babylon here, and even Clannad at one point for those old enough to remember them.
Hip Boots is one which has been around for a while and whilst it may not (though give it time) be a killer track, it has grown on me a lot and you can see why they gave it second place in the running order. I love the loose rambling feel to it and Steve’s playing (which it has to be said is stunning here) is absorbing, while Don likewise gives it just the right amount of Hammond. Worth the price of admission alone.
The band get dirtier on One Night In Vegas, which reminds me a little of Almost Human, one of my favourites from the SM era, and the same vibe runs through Get Me Outta Here although lyrically the latter doesn’t really stir the pot enough for me.
The riff to Johnny’s Band is bugging me, it’ll click eventually I’m sure. Ian has covered this sort of ground before on Purpendicular and places. It’s OK in a road house sort of way and Radio 2 apparently went for if big time the other week, so at least listeners there will know about the album.
Elsewhere people will love as I do Roger’s thumping bass through On Top Of The World which should sound great via some decent speakers. I’m less convinced by All I Got Is You, despite the care worn vox and often caustic lyrics, while for me the cover version which they inexplicably tag onto the end of the album is a box set bonus at best.  Though Ann reckons it’s IG’s best singing on the album, so it’s already dividing opinion at DPAS towers.  On first listen it just sounded like a studio warm up, and it has since been confirmed that’s exactly what it is.  It might have worked better sequenced earlier in the album, but I won’t be rushing back.
Well, some good tracks to add to the now two decade long Steve Morse era output and I’m sure everyone who has stuck with the band thus far will find something here to enjoy in varying degrees. I should add I’ve been listening to fairly compressed official MP3s (with permission!) so it seems silly to try and comment on overall sound and production until I buy the CD. And buy it I will.  Simon Robinson

I’m generally enjoying it more with each listen… Time for Bedlam – A solid opener, the vocoder effect seems fitting and natural after a few spins.  A restrained vocal means that much can be conveyed with slight inflections – as seen with IG’s ‘We are never alone’ line towards the end.  Rather wonderful.
Hip Boots – Sprightly, sweary, no nonsense – this is good stuff actually.  Much better than the rather tentative limited run of live try-outs would suggest.
All I Got is You – The old put-down (‘You’ve got me, but all I’ve got is you’) is given a pleasing run-out in what initially seems to be a fairly standard Mk Morse/Airey type work-out.  A space age solo from Don merges into a laidback one from Steve.  Improves with repeated listening.  More swearing from IG to finish!
One Night in Vegas –  IG in storyteller mode, Don in bar room boogie mode.  Good, if slightly cruise-controlly for this band.
Get Me Outta Here – Lovely Paicey intro and then a backing that initially brings ‘Nasty Piece of Work’ from ‘Battle Rage On’ to mind.  Again, solid if lacking a little oomph… the brooding backing deserves better than the rather lazy lyric writing here.
The Surprising –  Now we’re talking! Eerie keyboards give way to moody guitar (which sounds like Metallica according to my daughter) – which set up IG’s mournful  almost Johnny Cash-like vocal – and he’s in storyteller mode again – to great effect! ‘There I was, wide awake and dreaming…’ – marvellous.  Authoritative drumming from Paicey heralds the instrumental breaks with Don’s almost movie soundtrack like keyboard work suiting the mood perfectly. Steve almost blows it with a fairly standard Dregs/Classical Gassy type solo, before bringing it back down nicely before the coda.  Extraordinary track.
Johnny’s Band – Radio-friendly Purple (Ken Bruce has already played it on BBC Radio 2).  A sort of tamed-down ‘Junkyard Blues’ riff backs more IG story telling, this time about…well, a band obviously.  A little lightweight maybe, but pleasant enough.
On Top of the World – Starts out as a fairly standard Airey/Morse backing track, but repeated listenings reveal a nice solid latter-day Purple track, with more storytelling in the vocals. Nice solos, and even the rather strange spoken section towards the end is starting to bed-in a bit now.
Birds of Prey – The battle for my favourite track is between this and ‘The Surprising’; here we have a great brooding rock track that builds and builds to a shattering finish.  A display of controlled power and musical dynamics. Great stuff!
Roadhouse Blues –  Somewhat disposable warm-up type treatment of The Doors song here.  Comparable to ‘It’ll Be Me’ from NW?!  Misplaced after the fitting crescendo of ‘Birds of Prey’, which would have made a suitable finale to the album.  There probably is a place for this sort of Purple (a ‘Basement Tapes’ type album?) – but last song on this album isn’t it.
Overall a mixed bag then – repeated listenings are helping appreciate the ‘lesser’ tracks (well, most of them).  A worthy effort all the same.  Hopefully it won’t be the last studio album, but if it is, then it’s not a bad way to go out.
Tim Summers


Bolstering bass and more.

March 3, 2017

Needless to say the build up to the album is getting more intense and with the band doing interviews with loads of journalist’s lately, more is bound to emerge. Track down this page so you don’t miss anything!
There’s a “making of” Deep Purple’s new album documentary on Sky Arts, 11th March, 9pm. I guess this may form part of the DVD in the box set, and hopefully they’ll post it online later for those of us who don’t have access.
Now I wouldn’t normally post an advance press review, but given how down on Purple Classic Rock usually are, they have been quite upbeat about Infinite online (except for the Doors cover, which is worrying a lot of people), so if you don’t mind a bit of a spoiler (and a lot of tortured alliteration) read on! Otherwise look away now. Good to see Edel trust them with advance copies but not the fan sites. Thanks to Dave Browne.

InFinite definitely won’t disappoint fans of classic Purple. It’s a feast of wanton organ and quasi-classical keyboard curlicues, bolstering bass from Roger Glover and percussive surges courtesy of Paice. Gillan, meanwhile, is in grand over-the-top form, trying a little too hard, perhaps, to keep up with the heavy metal kids, effing and blinding throughout. Elsewhere, he’s ‘three sheets to the wind’ in One Night In Vegas, while On Top Of The World finds him variously lying ‘beside the most beautiful girl in the universe’ and ‘collapsed between the eyes of Morpheus’.
It’s colourful and inadvertently comical stuff, but there’s no denying that the music is worth taking seriously, from the rampaging opener Time For Bedlam and exotically textured The Surprising, to the Zep-ish Hip Boots and Birds Of Prey. The album closes with a perfunctory cover of Roadhouse Blues, but InFinite works best when Purple do what they do best: extrapolate and alchemise the blues, and take it to new progressive heights.”

USA set-list and review

August 19, 2014

There is the current set list for the August 2014 tour of America added to our 2014 date sheet, and Steve Hunt has sent us his thoughts on the show in California in front of over 7,000 people – so good to see they can still pull in a decent crowd when they do get to tour the U.S. properly. He and his wife enjoyed it so much they’re off to catch another show!

Things Fall Together

April 25, 2013
Deep Purple Now What album

Deep Purple Now What album stock arrives…

Well here I go again (as someone once sang). 40 years ago I was sprawled on the carpet in our Victorian ‘best’ room with the gas fire on low, poring over the sleeve to Who Do We Think We Are having been through the new album and wondering if this was the end of the band. 20 years later, The Battle Rages On cut a similar vibe of a band at war with itself and ready to call it a day.
So, another twenty years on, is Now What really a last gasp offering from Deep Purple as so many on the web have speculated? Is it bunnies. And if it was their last album, it certainly gives us enough to feel they went out guns blazing. Let’s deal with that ridiculous marketing tosh on the cover first, ‘Perfect Strangers meets Made In Japan’? Nothing ‘meets’ Made In Japan. It sits there as a statement for all time; the best rock band on the planet.
Instead Now What is more Perfect Strangers meets Purpendicular, via H-Bomb, Tarkus and LA Woman really. I even got Talking Heads and Jethro Tull at a couple of points. And Roxy Music (but that was only because the girls from Country Life fell off the shelf at one point and almost hit me on the head when I pushed the volume up at one spot).
It’s a good strong offering from most angles, and one which I know I’ll want to listen to again. Good grief, even Hell To Pay fits right in to the album once you cop an earful of the Mandrake Root-esque Rondo which spills out between verses. The only cut I really had to skip on was Uncommon Man, where Don’s seeming infatuation with all thing ELP gets a little too uncomfortable, but overall this certainly doesn’t sound like a band about to call it a day. Indeed right now it sounds like the best since Abandon to me (an album I still feel got a raw deal).
Rapture was such a dreadful disappointment I was so nervous putting this on, but I don’t think I’m just on the rebound here in getting so much out of this. The vinyl even has shiny inner bags and everything, just like a real LP. And we’re not even having to mention the mix, because we don’t have to. Bob Ezrin has done what was required by and large, and brought out just about the best in it (give or take one or two places where the solos leap out a little too prominently).
What I suspect are fairly, um, suspect lyrics on Apres Vous (wisely buried in the mix!) even herald a full on guitar keyboard trade off clearly inspired by days of yore. Paicey keeps it all on track (some have bemoaned his lack of flash but to me he drives it well) while Glover really appears to be enjoying it. And Vincent Price certainly brought a smile to my face. What other band would throw this at us to end an album? That’s what still makes Deep Purple special at times, because you really cannot measure them up against any other outfit. They’re out there, they do what they do, and at times like this we love them for trying. Sure a few bridges are a little simplistic, and once again they steam into some stunning little instro passages then refuse to stretch them out, but enough survives to bring a some enjoyment into our triple dip recession ridden times, which is fine by me. If they can be bothered to risk all and build a set around this one then it stands a chance of being as good as the Abandon tour. Here’s hoping. Now Ian, about those “seven screaming virgins on a sacrificial altar”, what exactly is it we have to sign up for to be in with a shot?

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