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Massey Hall, Toronto, Canada
February 26, 2004

Who says you can't celebrate Christmas in February? As a loyal Purple fan for the last 33 years I just experienced the best present anyone could ask for.
Not only was I lucky enough to get tickets and backstage passes for their sold out show at Toronto's Massey Hall. My son and I were also fortunate to attend a "meet and greet" afternoon seasion with Ian Paice at a local music store. To top it off, the next day, we attended a taping of a local talkshow which featured Purple performing two songs as well as a Paicey interview.
The "meet and greet" was a drummers dream (both my son and I are drummers). Here we were with about 50 other fanatics just mere inches from our idol shooting the breeze about this and that. Ian's intent was to keep it as informal as possible, fielding questions, signing various items and having lots of pictures taken. He also gave us an up close and personal demonstration on the snare (the store provided him with a copy of his signature series snare). The session lasted about two hours, afterwards Ian was gracious enough to have his picture taken with my son and I in front of my car (my license plates read DPPURPLE). He is a true gentleman. Thanks Ian for a wonderful afternoon. What a way to start off our Purple experience.
Now to the concert. In a word, fantastic. The band has never sounded so good and the venue was just right. A somewhat intimate Massey Hall which holds about 2500 people,was jammed to the rafters with fans of all ages. The set list was much the same as previous shows, and I would just like to add that the new stuff from Bananas holds up very well along side the classics.
I was very saddend when Jon left but I must tip my hat to Don, not only is he a worthy replacement but has given the band a tremendous energy, just like Steve did when he joined. The Machine Head segment was fantastic, to hear the entire album played note for note was awesome. It was the first time I have ever heard Never Before performed live, just magic.
After the show we went backstage for a "meet and greet" session with the entire band. Like Paicey's afternoon appearance, this was a very low key affair, everyone was very relaxed, signing autographs, having pictures taken and stopping to chat. A perfect end to a perfect day.
The next morning my son and I were up and headed back into Toronto to see our idols once more. The venue this time was a local talkshow, The Mike Bullard Show. We were treated to two songs by the band, Highway Star and Silver Tongue. In between, Paicey was interview by Mike Bullard. Again, this was a great experience and as usual the band did not disappoint us, giving it their all even although it had only been mere hours since they had performed at Massey Hall. I was even fortunate enough to have a little on-camera banter with the host. Great fun and a great afternoon had by all. The band looked like they were enjoying themselves as well.
There you have it. An experience neither my son or I will never forget.
One thing I should mention, Ian told us that the band was hoping to add another North American tour in the summer, maybe August or September, where he wants to arrange a more formal "drum clinic". Roll on summer.
Jim Irons, Oshawa, Ontario

The Bananas material fit nicely among the time honored DP classics. I felt it was a bold move to open the show with Silver Tongue,since there was a chance that a fair portion of the sold-out Toronto crowd might not yet be familiar with it. Any unfamiliarity quickly passed with the opening drum fill of Woman From Tokyo. Ian Gillan seemed to forget the first verse,but no one seemed to care !! He also had some microphone problems early on in the set,but was in great voice all night.
I Got Your Number and Bananas were given powerful treatment and got great response. The only low point of the evening was The Well-Dressed Guitar. Since it has yet to appear on an album it should have been put aside in favor of a tune from Purpendicular or Abandon. Both discs were sadly ignored.
The entire Machine Head presentation was well done.What a treat to hear Maybe I'm a Leo and Never Before! Side two rocked, especially Space Truckin'!
Ian Gillan seemed almost humbled by the enthusiastic welcome and response from the crowd.
With the last notes of Hush still ringing in my ears,I made my way back into the winter chill. My only thought "What a band!"
Mike Whiteley

Toronto Star's review


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