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UK reviews 2002 (rescheduled)

More interesting songs

I travelled to London back in February to what I thought was going to be my only opportunity to see Deep Purple for a considerable time, which, unfortunately also turned out to be Jon Lord's last full show with them. The rest of the tour was curtailed due to the state of health of several members of the band. To my good fortune, the date of the replacement show in Birmingham, was on a night where I would be able to attend, and so I immediately rushed to obtain tickets.

Having purchased tickets for the sixth row, my 10-year-old daughter begged me to take her to the show that evening, which meant that to get extra tickets, I had to sacrifice that position to watch from the side of the stage, with a restricted view, much of the stage out of sight behind the side fill monitors.

However, seeing how much she enjoyed the show made that all worthwhile. Her day was really made when after the show, all six members of the band were kind enough to sign autographs, and talk to her. It was good to here that Ian Gillan is not planning to retire soon, I hope that that applies to everybody else.

From my own perspective as a long time follower of Deep Purple (and of the bands various members have been in while Deep Purple were apart), the show should have been far more interesting. If they wish to be taken seriously as a band of today, then surely there ought to be more than three songs (Ted The Mechanic, Perfect Strangers and The Well Dressed Guitar) which are less than 30 years old. They have a wealth of material from Purpendicular and Abandon, especially Cascades, Rosa's Cantina, Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming, Watching The Sky, Almost Human, etc... Many other older but under-used songs, such as Fools, Demon's Eye and Pictures Of Home would also have been very welcome.

I suppose that having seen them on the Purpendicular tour in 1996, to expect to see such an imaginative show ever again would be too much to expect, but more of 'The Best of Deep Purple' rather than 'Deep Purple's Greatest Hits' would be very welcome next time.

The band all played very well, and Ian Gillan's voice was in excellent form throughout the show, but the sound lacked the clarity of recent tours, and was much louder than it had been since the departure of Ritchie Blackmore.

Don Airey is an excellent keyboard player, and I am certain that with time, hopefully during the recording of the new album, he and the rest of the band will learn to recapture the Purple sound, which immediately became apparent as soon as Jon Lord began the intro to Perfect Strangers.

Looking forward to the new album and the next tour, and also to seeing what Jon Lord means when he tells us that there is plenty of music left in him yet.

Paul Carpenter

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