North America reviews
Beacon Theatre, New York City, NY, USA
February 29, 2004
I really love the two hour format that they played. This is
the format they should continue to do. It makes for a fun evening.
These guys are having fun up there and you know it's all coming from the heart,
you feel it as a listener. I hate to say this but you didn't see that type of
comradeship with Blackmore. The guy is a great guitarist, but the head is not
there, a legend in his own mind . Its a shame and a waste. [Indeed, there
seem to have been many a hall that the band couldn't get Blacker's head into
over the years... ;^) Rasmus]
Steve Morse- I've seen this guy many times and he amazes me each time. This
guy loves to play music and that brings out a lot from the rest of the band
because they can now have fun playing music. And Don Airey - amazing with those
keys. These guys are a band, they show it and it's a beautiful thing.. They
feed off each other and you can tell the love they have for each other. It makes
the music magical. If you get a chance to see them, go! You wont be disappointed.
I saw them at the Beacon last night and
I'm going again tonight! I've seen them many, many times, but they haven't sounded
this good in years!
loved the new stuff!!!
I was pleased the show was sold out. The crowd appeared to be
predominantly middle aged men and women, many of whom brought their kids. The
fact that there were so many pubescent boys wearing Machine Head shirts gave
me hope for humanity. Maybe some young people still do appreciate real rock
The current Gorham/Sykes version of Lizzy flew through a quick greatest
hits set of just over 30 minutes. The complaints I have read in previews reviews
seem unfair. I thought the band was energetic, sharp and in good spirits. John
Sykes is the obvious ringleader of this incarnation of the band, and he handled
lead guitar and the vocals (I had no idea he was doing the singing) very well.
Of course, the rich tenor of Phil Lynott can never be replaced, though. Scott
Gorham, the only holdout from Lizzy's mid-70's heydey, was more subdued, but
still tore it up on his Fender Stratocaster. Their trademark dual guitar leads
were dead on. They were not too loud, and the mix was adequate (the level was
too high on the toms though - the balance of the drum mix was an issue with
In summary, Lizzy played a hot set, but it left me yearning for the old band.
The incomparable Phil Lynott is gone forever, but how neat would it have been
for Brian Robertson, Brian Downey, Gorham, Sykes and even Darren Wharton to
tour as the full band? Still, just hearing under-appreciated classics like Don't
Believe a Word, Bad Reputation and Rosalie live was a treat. I can't remember
the last time I was disappointed the opening act ended so soon - especially
at a Purple show!
Deep Purple was tight and fantastic, but they left me with a little wistfulness
for the old days as well. The opened with one of the better tracks on Bananas,
Silver Tongue. I was among only a handful of people who knew the song, but the
thumping bass line still got the theatre rocking. Woman From Tokyo came next,
and is always a treat, as the old Purple never used to play it.
It was apparent from the get-go that the band was pretty sharp, but also that
Ian Gillan was going to stuggle mightily with his vocal range all night. A vocalist
myself, I could almost feel his strain from my balcony seat. It struck me how
much his voice has deteriorated, even since I last saw Purple just a few years
ago. The sight of a short haired, graying man fighting to hit mid-range notes
left me remembering the long-haired, ear piercing screamer of the past. But
he is still such a great lead man and a gentleman that it's hard to imagine
the band without him.
The Machine Head set was a neat touch, and was a great way to connect with an
American audience. What struck me about the Machine Head cuts was that they
were far truer to the studio versions than previous live versions. The arrangements
were much more precise and tight. (The last time this happened of course was
when Steve Morse joined the band - the songs actually had a beginning, middle
and an end again!) Don Airey in particular paid homage to the original organ
parts by not altering them much at all. The result was awesome. Jon Lord was
the greatest, but he rarely played anything resembling what was on the records.
In particular Highway Star was excellent - nothing like the out-of-control tempo,
hodge-podge arrangements of the past.
Sometimes the band was so tight that they almost seemed uptight. (In Pictures
of Home, they even cut out for the bass solo too soon, until Roger Glover's
steady bass line reminded everyone there was another verse!) And as much as
the crisp arrangements sounded great, the spontaneity of the old Purple shows
was just not there. With every moment scripted, some of the freshness and excitement
of the Blackmore-led Purple was gone, and was missed.
Ian Paice, whose controlled wildness ranked him with Keith Moon as one of rock's
greatest drummers ever, was so subdued he didn't even play a solo. That was
disappointing. (But he was wearing a FDNY shirt in honor of the heroes of 9/11
- Purple always has been good at those nice little touches that mean so much).
I would have loved to have heared one or two cuts from Purpendicular (which
did get some attention and airplay in the States, amazingly), but instead the
show consisted mostly of new players reworking old hits. Which was great, but
it also left me wondering what would happen if Ritchie Blackmore, Glenn Hughes
(has anyone heard the amazing music he and Joe Lynn Turner are making these
days?), David Coverdale and Jon Lord formed a super band. It might be an even
deeper shade of purple than the band that rocked the Beacon Sunday night.
I wrote a bad review about Don on the 2002 tour, but I must
say he played better than the last time I saw Jon play and has my vote for a
The encore jams were so funky and dragged out , it was classic DP jamming. Ian's
voice was great tonight and he did his best to give us some Space Truckin' screams.
DP should stick to playing venues like the Beacon and the other ones on the
rest of the US tour. They come off much better in a smaller atmosphere and you
know everyone is there to see them, not the Scorpions and Lynyrd Skynyrd. These
venues allow them to showcase their live performance as well as their obvious
appreciation of their fans.
I took the whole family to see the boys at the Beacon on Sunday
night. I have been a fan since 1975 and have seen the band about 10 times since
their 1984 reunion.
Thin Lizzy were a disappointment. This version of the band felt to me
like a covers act. The mix was poor, the drums were way too loud and Michael
Lee far from being a great drummer was really over the top. Too much, too loud,
little feel and no finesse.
Sadly the band lacked two key ingredients, Phil Lynott and Brian Downey and
they would always struggle to overcome that.
Deep Purple were brilliant! They came on stage and simply took control.
The audience reaction was excited and positive from the first note to the last.
The set looked great and the lights were brilliant. All
the material was greeted warmly, new, old and in between.
Gillan's voice was perfect all night, none of the problems or gaps others have
mentioned. Airey really impressed, especially with his solo. He played a medley
of New York related songs, classical music, the theme from Star Wars and more
and it was all great.
The Machine Head set worked well, with some indications that they had gone back
and listened to the record and included some specifics licks from the period,
but they also played a few songs differently. Pictures of Home had a slight
hiccup in it when Gillan forgot to sing a verse and it took a few seconds to
get back on track.
A great show which once again showed how great this band
is. As they all head up around 55 - 60 and they still play with so much passion,
excitement and intensity. it's amazing. I defy anyone to suggest that they are
simply trotting out the greatest hits package or going through the motions.
My kids aged 12, 14 and 16 were all jumping about after the show with excitement
having watched guys who could be their grandfathers blow them away. I wonder
if Incubus will still be playing world tours this good in 36 years?
On the way home my wife and I were discussing the fact
that Purple remain a band who are greater than any member or members and are
simply beyond the normal in terms of talent and skill. She said they are like
the greats of classical music, Mozart, Beethoven whose music remains long after
they are gone.
I hope they keep going for some time yet because their performance shows not
even the slightest hint of getting old, physically or artistically.