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Asia 2002 reviews  

Late night jamming in Singapore

The band's flight from Bangkok arrives at Singapore Changi Airport shortly after 4pm on the day before the show. Having checked in at the hotel, they all come out of their rooms after a little while for a little drink at the lobby bar, and they move on to the press conference at around 6:30pm.

The press conference starts off with a photo session, followed by an introduction about the band by the compere, and then Q&A. None of the journalists present comes up with a question for a while, which prompts Paicey to say "no question? OK, good-bye then."

Most questions are answered by Gillan or Glover, but one journalist asks Airey how it feels to be in Deep Purple. Airey: "Considering the band's position in the world of rock music, it is a great pressure for me, but it's also a wonderful experience," he answers.

Glover: "We often get asked, don't we get bored playing old hits again and again, but the arrangement is different each time, so although they are old songs, they are fresh and almost like a new song every night." Deep Purple has had a huge influence on all kinds of bands everywhere, but "we also have our idols, and we've been influenced by them. So there is no such thing as "the" original."

Very good news comes from Gillan: "We're going to work on a new album with Don towards the end of this year and the beginning of next year. We have a title, but it's still a secret. We have lots of good ideas, so I think it'll be a great album."

The press conference is over just after 7pm. Airey shows interest in the organ which was in the room. The promoter tells him "please go on and play it" but Airey declines the offer. As the band leave the conference room, fans waiting outside catch them for autographs and snapshots.

The band members then get to rest for a couple of hours. After a while they all come out, one by one, to the hotel bar for a drink. They then move on to a restaurant for a dinner with the promoters, after which some move on yet again to the bar, to relax and enjoy the night before the show.

On the day of the concert, Airey turns up at the venue alone at just after 4:30pm. He goes through the soundcheck briefly and then practices for a while as usual. Apparently he wants to practice for at least 20 minutes before each show, and today he stands there alone onstage for about an hour, playing the keyboards. [What did he play? Rasmus]

Fort Canning Park is a big park in the centre of town, and tonight's venue is a closed off area inside this park, with a capacity of approximately 7000. Outside the gate there are blue and white banners with DP logos and photos of the band members, announcing the concert. Inside, there is a white colonial building right at back of the open area, which, as the dusk falls, is illuminated beautifully - a very romantic sight! The show was scheduled to start at 8pm, but it doesn't start till 8:30. During the extra 30 minutes of waiting, fans seem all impatient, they keep staring at the stage for any sign of the band, and every time a piece of music playing on the PA is over, they all cheer - and then sigh in disappointment when nothing happens.

And finally the show begins. I'll itemise things that have come to my attention.

*Airey's solo - Lazy:
Goes down well. I particularly remember Morse going up to Airey and playing his guitar, looking as if he is really having fun. Gillan throws two harmonicas into the audience again.

*No Child In Time today.

*The Aviator:
Gillan, Glover and Morse sit down at front of the stage again. As in Jakarta, Morse and Gillan sit cross-legged, while Glover sits on his legs, knees bent la the proper Japanese way of sitting up.

*Well-Dressed Guitar:
Airey and Paice appalud to congratulate Morse, lots of cheering from the audience too.

Beautiful, emotional playing from Airey.

*Keyboard Solo - Perfect Strangers:
Airey plays a Singapore tune along with the usual A la Turca and Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. Gillan dances his flamenco dance and keeps repeating "you're fantastic!" after the piece.

*When A Blind Man Cries:
A lot of cheering from the audience as soon as the piece begins, many sing along. Morse seems very happy and is smiling all the way. At the end of Airey's solo, he runs up to him and applauds him. After the piece, Gillan repeats "unbelievable!" which seems to be tonight's keyword.

*Guitar Parade:
Various quotes - Guns 'N' Roses, Hendrix, etc. - makes the whole audience go nuts. It's great fun to watch Glover's reaction to Morse. During the Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever, Gillan sings along, but the key doesn't seem to be right for him, and his voice is rather strained.

*Smoke On The Water:
Gillan whistles three times during the intro - really cool! [As he's done for years... :-) Rasmus] Morse wants to sing along during the chorus, but there's no mic in his mic stand! He makes a comical gesture at the mic-less mic stand, and then goes on singing without a mic. Morse and Glover swap their guitar and bass, and Gillan repeats "unbelievable!" again.

*Speed King:
Paice's backing drum rhythm to Glover's bass solo section is great. After the drum solo, Gillan pats him on his shoulder and wipes his sweat for him. Gillan's voice is in a very good condition.

*Black Night:
Paice's arrangement tonight makes Airey laugh.

*Highway Star:
As soon as Glover's bass comes in, a huge cheering errupts from the audience. Morse's special sound effect, imitating a car exhaust sound using his guitar, is very effective. Gillan's singing is so intense, as if he is trying to squeeze out all his energy - his voice sounds a little bit strained. Glover rubs his bass strings agains the amplifier, and the audience goes even wilder at the sight of this.

As soon as the band come offstage after the encore, they jump straight into the cars waiting for them and leave the venue. After a brief stop at the hotel, they are taken to another dinner with the promoter. They then move on to a club, which is crowded enough to start with, and as Deep Purple turn up there, the place gets so totally filled that there are people spilling outside. The members give fans autographs and chat with them for a while. And then Gillan, Paice and Airey decide to jam with the local band who's been playing there. Gillan joins in during one song only, Paice and Airey play two songs. An unexpected guest appearance to please the fans.

I'd like to add that the Singapore audience is very civil and courteous - they happily give up their places to ladies, for example - and the atmosphere was a very warm one, even the security staff exchanging friendly chats with the fans. (After the show, the whole venue was littered with all sorts of rubbish that people left behind, which was a bit of a surprise for Singapore...) The show itself was a wonderful one, a great concert to conclude this short Asian tour with, and I was very happy to see each individual member of the band looking good and enjoying the experience.

Many thanks again to all of Deep Purple, as well as everyone who contributed to the success of this show.

Kikko Okaguchi

Translated by Akiko Hada

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