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UK reviews 2002 (rescheduled)

Ipswich's local paper - Evening Star - gave good coverage of Jon Lord's last show, both before and afterwards.

Purple or Blue - what a choice

August 21, 2002 20:05

Hundreds of rock fans and Town supporters could face the ultimate nightmare next month. Do they go to Portman Road to watch Ipswich in the UEFA Cup - or do they visit the Regent to see their rock idols in action. Town season ticket holder and Deep Purple fan Paul Geater looks at the tug-of-war faced by fans.

September 19 could be a Black (K)night for Town fans who are also devotees of rock. That's the night the world's greatest heavy rock band, Deep Purple, play their delayed gig at the Regent Theatre. But it's also the same night that Ipswich Town is due to play its first round first leg match in the UEFA Cup - providing we overcome Beggen on August 29. Town fans with tickets for the concert will probably be praying that the first leg is away - but last season Town played at home first in all its UEFA cup ties.

Deep Purple had been due in Ipswich back in March, but Ian Gillan was struck down with a throat infection - bad news for the lead vocalist in the world's loudest band! The second half of the tour was put off until the autumn - and the band are rolling into town next month. It's the first time Deep Purple has played in Ipswich since the late 1960s, when they performed at the old St Matthew's Baths.

But what should football rockers do? Especially if Town draw a high-profile European club in the UEFA cup? In fact, Ipswich are unlikely to attract one of the giants of the European game. We are a seeded club - and should avoid most of the big names. But it is possible that Aberdeen or Hadjuk Split will be at Portman Road that night - and that would be quite an attraction. A spokeswoman for the football club was confident that most fans would be at Portman Road.

"We're sure they would want to come here to cheer on the team - despite the rival attractions," she said.

And one person who will be there is the man in ultimate charge of the Regent, the borough's leisure spokesman John Mowles.

"Deep Purple isn't my kind of music - I shall certainly be at the football," he said. "But I realise that for many people there will be a real dilemma - but that must often happen when concerts clash with football."

Like many fans of both forms of entertainment, my mind is torn - so I tried to contact someone who should be able to give me some advice.

Town legend Paul Mariner is a great fan of the rockers, and a friend of Ian Gillan. When Gillan came to town in the early 1980s, Mariner and his teammates were invited on to the stage of the Gaumont - as it then was - to join in their set. Mariner has remained friends with the band ever since - even though he now runs a soccer school in America. Mariner's answerphone was on when I called, but a friend of his was in no doubt what his advice would be.

"If Paul wasn't actually playing in the match, he'd definitely be at the concert, no question about it!" I was told.

I have to admit at heart I feel the same way. I just can't give up my second row seat at the Regent to see my rock idols on stage. After all Town will be playing in Europe again a few weeks later - but it could be another 33 years before Deep Purple come to town again!

Copyright © 2002 Archant Regional. All rights reserved.

More prelude:

Deep Purple rockin' at the Regent

September 19, 2002 17:49

AFTER a six-month delay, tonight's the night when the world's loudest rock band finally bring their own brand of music to the heart of Ipswich. Deep Purple hit the Regent Theatre with an amended line-up, but ready to make the kind of music that their fans know and love. The band that made its name in the early 1970s has suffered from several hiccups over the last three decades - but is still making the kind of music that is instantly recognisable. From Smoke on the Water and Black Knight [sic] through to The Aviator from their Purpendicular album, the band have attracted millions of fans throughout the world.

Deep Purple has undergone many personnel changes over the decades - and now with the departure of Jon Lord, only Ian Paice remains from their original 1968 line-up. Keyboard player Lord left the band earlier this year at the end of its truncated British tour - the second half was postponed until now because vocalist Ian Gillan was suffering from a throat infection. Lord has been making some guest appearances during the autumn tour, but in the band he has been replaced by Don Airey.

But Gillan is the true voice of Deep Purple, who provided the vocals on its best-known tracks from the Machine Head and In Rock albums. The guitarist from the legendary Mark II line-up, Richie Blackmore, left ten years ago after tensions within the band - but his replacement, Steve Morse, quickly won over the fans.

Deep Purple play at Ipswich tonight after a highly-successful summer touring the world - playing in Russia, eastern Europe, the far east, north America and Germany before returning home. Ironically the band feels it is bigger the further it gets away from these shores.

"We don't seem to get the recognition in the media at home that we do in other parts of the world," bassist Roger Glover told me earlier this year. "But the fans are very loyal." Certainly in Suffolk they are - the Regent concert sold out and very few tickets were returned when it was postponed.

And the review:

Deep Purple rock The Regent

September 20, 2002 14:52

Deep Purple at the Ipswich Regent.

WHEN it comes to heavy rock, there is no one in the world that can deliver quite like Deep Purple. And last night they showed, after 35 years in the business, the band can still provide power-packed rock to delight their audience. Two hours of supercharged and superloud music sent the full house into ecstasy - and had those of us lucky enough to be there recalling the old Wayne's World chant: "We're not Worthy!"

Several people at the show had made the difficult - not that difficult, most said - decision to come to the concert rather than the football at Portman Road. We clearly made the right choice.

From the very start the band was clearly out for a good night. Lead vocalist Ian Gillan has strong Ipswich connections - he mentioned his friendship with Paul Mariner and spoke about watching a Van Morrison concert when it was the Gaumont. That enthusiasm for the place spread to the rest of the band as they belted out their early numbers including the classic Space Truckin'.

The audience had waited a long time for the concert - it was postponed in March after Gillan suffered a throat infection - and during that time Jon Lord has retired from the band and been replaced by Don Airey. But last night, following the pattern of the rest of the British leg of the tour, Lord was back making a "special guest" appearance - in fact playing for more than half the set! He was the last to leave the stage at the end and got an emotional farewell from the crowd in the theatre.

The concert was a great mixture of old classics and newer material which only the die-hard fans were familiar with. There was also a brief taste of a track from next summer's new album by the Deep Purple. Of course the best was saved until last.

"Smoke on the Water" was the finale for the main set - but we hadn't heard Black Knight or Highway Star by then so we were all fairly confident they'd be an encore. When all six came back on stage we were treated to another 20 minutes of musical perfection, culminating in Highway Star to send us home happy.

A truly wonderful evening.

Paul Geater

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