Thank you Jon - and Don
Last time I'd seen Deep Purple it was back in 1996 (March 2nd) which seems quite a while. I worry about the extensive touring they do which seems to have been a major factor in Jon Lord leaving the band . So now we were off to see the guys again, but this time it was with some trepidation as we were going to see a new Deep Purple with Don Airey on the keys.
I've known Don's work for some time and loved it too. I've had the pleasure of meeting the man and I do respect him and what he does - but I couldn't quite see it working with Don in Purple. One of the pleasures for me is Jon and his playing - take that away from Purple and you may still get an enjoyable performance, but not what I love as Deep Purple.
After a trip round Glasgow we arrived to catch a glimpse of The Planets. Quite a good group - some fit birds too! They do a competent brand of classical and rock blending which comes across quite nicely - but it was a bit too much in the Vanessa Mae mould for me. Well worth seeing though.
We watched as the crowd moved to the stage in proper 'rock concert' manner - it's not the same if you're sitting down. Then the guys in suits came and made everyone sit down. Pah!
Then on came Deep Purple - I know what you want to know - what did Rog have on his head? Well, it was a kind of dark bandana thing, OK?
They put Don Airey on a pedestal - literally. Up in the centre stage Don performed well to the opener, Fireball showing he could play a fine bit of Hammond. Ian Gillan was resplendent in white Indian style togs and Paicey thundered away, this time without a Rog style head concealer (TM).
Roger's bass sounded meatier than I've ever heard it - in fact the whole sound was really heavy . The speaker system seemed to be in danger at times.
Steve Morse was voted best guitarist before joining Purple, but I think playing Blackmore's stuff has done him a world of good and he just gets better and better. He put in some magnificent solos and really looked to be enjoying events. I think Don's playing will undertake the same kind of thing. The tunes are so strong and the soloing parts demand a certain kind of playing that just brings out musicianship.
Don certainly put in a nice solo spot showing he does know his way round the ivories. A bit of Bach's Toccata, Beethoven's 9th and his 5th too. A nice Scottish medley especially for the Glasgee crowd before the lights dim and the Perfect Stranger's intro sounds. And that's when Jon Lord is revealed! It may not be much of a surprise to those that frequent the internet, but is was a great moment all the same. It's funny how a guy can sound so different on the same keyboard, but Jon sounds like... well, Jon Lord. Absolutely wonderful. From then on we bore witness to a bit of magic as we got the two keyboard players taking turns and at times appearing together. It was great to see Master and Prodigy together sharing a few notes(!).
Down South they had the odd(!) guest. [They certainly looked odd! ;^) Rasmus] Up North we were treated to a brief appearance of a legend. Nazareth singer Dan McCafferty came on. It looked as if he'd said he'd only come on if they played a Naz song but Steve seemed to know Love Hurts and so the band played it until Dan came on and sang a wee bit. Steve seemed to have a good laugh about it.
Another Morse solo. This time the one where he does a flashback. You know when you get a bit in a film and the screen goes all wobbly and they go back in time and relive a moment(?). Steve does this thing on the guitar that resembles that wobbly curtain and then launches into some Hendrix (to lots of applause), then the wibble wobble curtain and it's Led Zep, then wibble wibble again. Can't stand that bloody noise he makes. The guitar 'impressions' are great though and it just highlights again what a talent he is.
Before we knew it we were into Smoke... and with the two keyboard players, this was a monster version. The songs seemed so heavy tonight. There are times when human spirit will rise up and fight against adversity and when SOTW plays at a DP concert this is one of them. People got up out of their seat and moved towards the stage. Men in ties looked on not knowing quite what to do - Gillan grinned.
It was absolutely wonderful seeing the six-piece - a superb event and a monster sound. I've never heard Purple sound so thunderous - what a great night.
I must say finally, thank you Jon Lord. I've enjoyed your music more than anyone else's and it was wonderful to see you again. Thanks also to Don for agreeing to having this special tour. What a wonderful experience.
Unauthorized copying, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as
the real thing (with apologies to Ani)
(c) 2005, The Highway Star