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UK reviews 2002 (rescheduled)

A fitting finish

Yet again the support band, The Planets, recieved a mixed response.Those listeners with a more eclectic taste enjoying the set, but the majority of Purple fans spending this time crowding around the bars in the lobby, in the vain hope of getting served.

When Deep Purple hit the stage they were brilliant yet again, and Gillan's voice was in top form with none of the occasional coughing that I heard at Cliff's Pavillion in February. The evening started off with Don Airey on keyboards, but after playing a rather witty and clever keyboard solo midway through the set the stage lights went out briefly and when they came back on a few seconds later, there was Jon Lord standing where Don had been, to rapturous applause (no reflection on Don's playing I assure you).

The night proceeded with Lord and Airey taking turns to play the keyboards and sometimes playing together as well. Steve Morse amazed with the sounds he got from his guitar(s), as did Roger Glover when he played the best bass solo that this listener has ever heard.

Ian Paice, of course deserves a mention, being the only member of drumming's holy trinity still alive (the others of course being Cozy Powell and John Bonham). His drum solo pleased the crowd immensely.

The set list was pretty much the same as in February, the only disappointment being the lack of Child In Time, but you can't have everything, especially when this was probably the best gig of the year so far, (and I've been to the Ozzfest, Joe Satriani, Iron Maiden's Clive Burr benefit, Ted Nugent etc.). [I see, Purple easily the best then? ;^) Rasmus]

Unexpected highlight of the gig however was when Gillan said that the Purple had met some friends down the pub and invited them to come on stage and play with them, and then on came Janick Gers, Bruce Dickenson and Nicko McBain from Iron Maiden. You could tell that this was impromptu as roadies hurried to get a guitar set up for Janick, Nicko started playing the bongos before opting to pick up a tambourine, and being replaced on bongos by Gillan and Bruce (and one very lucky young lady who clambered on stage and was allowed to join in the jam).

So, now on stage we had the line-up of Ian Gillan and Bruce Dickenson (vocals/bongos), Don Airey and Jon Lord (keyboards), Steve Morse and Janick Gers (guitars), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Paice (drums) and Nicko McBain (tambourine), doing a thunderous version of Smoke On The Water. Brilliant!

As I left the Apollo to finish off the night at the Ruskin Arms, Manor Park, my only wish was that this gig had been recorded for release on CD/DVD, but sadly I think not. [You could be wrong there, my friend... Rasmus]

This was a fitting gig for Jon Lord's retirement tour, and we all wish him the best for the future.

Russ Thorndike

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