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UK reviews 2002 (rescheduled)

Childhood hero charade

This was the first I've seen Purple. It will also be the last. Having witnessed and enjoyed the various bands the members were involved with in the late 70s/early 80s and read the enthusiastic tour reviews over the past 12 months, I was pretty excited at the prospect of the Bristol show last March. When it was rescheduled and Jon announced his departure, I had intended to return my tickets - I now wish I had.

The Colston Hall is notorious for its appalling sound and last night was no exception. Purple's performance though was a model lesson in the dangers of going to shows by childhood heroes, only to have the disappointment of witnessing a bunch of guys deliver a Vegas style parody of their former selves. They may be enjoying themselves but it's not the impression I got. Steve Morse's faux smiles in particular were extremely irritating. This was most notable during one of his solos where he was fixed facing stage left and seemed preoccupied with something, only for Gillan to tell him to face the audience. The contrived change in his expression would have been more appropriate in an Estee Lauder ad.

The appearance of Bernie Marsden worsened the charade. Looking distinctly like Eddie Large, he and Morse noodled their way through a version of Smoke On The Water that resembled inexperienced teenagers in a guitar shop on a Saturday morning. Ironic that the only number that had any amount of life was Hush (or was it Cash?).

Jon's involvement was minimal (did they check the contracts to see what was the minimum amount of time he needed to be on stage for?). Jon should have stayed at home and I should have as well. What a way to bow out as a magnificent musician.

On the way out we noted a poster for an upcoming Gerry & The Pacemakers show. Perhaps Purple will be sharing a five-band bill with them this time next year.

Aidan Naughton

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