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UK reviews 2002 (rescheduled)

An absolute stoatir

I went along tonight with more than one reservation. Were The Planets going to be any good? Have DP still got it? Is Don Airey able to replace Jon Lord? Having been worried since the gig was postponed in February, regarding Gillan's voice and Steve's guitar noodling, I turned up at the Clyde Auditorium with more than a few butterflies.

First up - The Planets. Admittedly I was a few minuted late getting to my seat. However, I saw most of their set and will now go and purchase their CD. There would appear to be splashes of The Mahavishnu Orchestra in their sound, along with traces of Ed Alleyne-Johnson. The girl on flute looked might fine and the guitarist played a mean flamenco guitar. All in all, much better than I had come to expect given the reviews I had seen dotted about the website.

This then put me right in the mood for DP. What can I say? Lord, (not that one!) I prey that I might be that full of energy and talent when I approach 60.

The opening track Fireball immediately dispelled any doubts as the playing was immaculate, the singing superb(!) and the sound crystal clear. This was the sound of a hard working rock and roll band, eager to put on a good show. The play list was pretty much as it has been on the other shows, and while the Hammersmith crowd were treated to some Iron Maiden members during SOTW, we were blessed with Dan McCafferty's vocals for a snippet of Love Hurts.

Don Airey is the natural successor to Jon, his solo spot (including I Belong to Glasgow!) was excellent, and I thank Jon Lord for this opportunity to see him perform with the band one last time. Unless they consider being a six-piece?

Brilliant to hear Mary Long live and I don't care what anyone says - I love Steve's snippets of classic songs before a rip snorting Smoke. I must confess however, my favourite of the night must have been When A Blind Man Cries. Steve's intro reduced me to quiet awe and the whole song would have brought a tear to a glass eye. Brilliant solos from all - especially Little Ian. (One handed drum roll - that's not natural!)

To my pal Jason who missed this gig through having to attend a works conference, I could say he didn't miss anything special to make him feel better. The truth is though, he missed an absolute stoatir (as we Weegies say).

Last words - Big Ian says they will be in the studio over the winter for an album to be release in summer. Hey, that's only 10 months away, better start saving now.

Scott McMurray

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