N.E.C., Birmingham, United Kingdom
November 12, 2004
Woman From Tokyo
I Got Your Number
Strange Kind Of Woman
Knocking At Your Back Door
Well Dressed Guitar
Smoke On The Water
A mighty fine Friday night in Birmingham - enjoyable opening
sets from Dean Howard and Thunder, followed by a very impressive
hour from Peter Frampton.
I last saw the 'Face of 1968' in his 'Frampton Comes Alive' heyday, and I don't
remember him being terribly good back then. His set featured excellent versions
of his two hits, plus the mighty Do You Feel Like We Do and While My Guitar
Gently Weeps to close. Great fun.
Deep Purple came on five minutes early and caught a lot of bar hounds
out. The set was the same as Manchester, with a tiny change in the running order.
The guys have been on tour for so long this time that they can probably play
these songs in their sleep, but they all seemed to be in very good spirits and
treated us to some superb playing.
Highlights included Woman From Tokyo, Knocking At Your Back Door, and the flawless
race to the finish of Strangers / Highway /Truckin' / Smoke.
I had my doubts about the virtue of a four band package with a shorter Purple
set, but the whole night worked incredibly well.
Enjoy yourselves tomorrow in London folks!
I set out from my Somerset base for the aircraft hanger - known
as the NEC - with the usual eagerness to see Purple, only to be greeted by a
traffic report informing that the M5 was closed at Junction 7.
After diverting across country, I made it just in time to be ripped off at the
merchandising stand and to take my seat for the Dean Somebody Band (sorry,
can't remember his surname). Adequate music played adequately sums it up for
Then came Thunder, "please Danny Bowes, don't act the tart like
you did when I saw you with Alice Cooper in 2002" was all I could think
of. I needn't have worried, he still played the audience, but - perhaps because
of the short set - he was fun this time and the rest of the band were in good
form. His plea to buy the new single "to get Thunder in the charts"
will go unanswered by me as it sounded a bit Rolling Stones on recycle - still
good to watch though.
Peter Frampton..... no, I don't own Frampton Comes Alive and I won't
be rushing out to buy it either. Although a good showman, his playing lacked
fluidity and feeling for me. So much so, that I went to the loo and had a drink
and a cigarette while I waited for him to finish - sorry, Peter many in the
audience obviously disagreed.
On to the main event - Deep Purple.
I was right at the front about 8ft from Roger - this gave a fascinating angle
on the performance for me. I've always been a lead guitar man and biased to
that side of the stage. But, what a revelation, it was fantastic to see Rog
close up and to hear what a virtuoso he is. I knew he was rock solid, but to
see and hear the fills and frills he puts into the music so clearly was fantastic.
The whole set was a stormer - but guys, guys, how many times must we tell you
- Purpendicular and Abandon deserve as much exposure as any of the old, old
That said, I loved Demon's Eye and Knocking... in particular. The Bananas songs
slotted in very well and the set was nicely balanced.
The encore - with Rogers' bass solo causing every organ in my body to vibrate
- was superb too. Yes, including Ian Gillan's obsession with playing with his
wee-wee while watching TV.
Ian Paice - still no solo! - was brilliantly solid as usual. Gillan's voice
was note perfect throughout. Don again proved he is more than capable of filling
Mr Lords shoes (no more Star Wars though Don?). Steve was just superb as he
always is - Contact Lost was brimming with emotion and the segue into Well Dressed
Guitar was excellent. I love this guy's playing.
I noticed he was using a new Musicman tonight - a lighter blue with a white
scratchplate as well as his trusty serial number 0001 and the sunburst - must
find out how the tuning differs for these.
So, yet another great show by the greatest band.
Now I can look forward even more (traffic willing) to seeing them again in Cardiff
and Plymouth - I'm sure it will only get better.
This was generally a very good show - it was certainly an improvement
on the last NEC gig, which was probably the worst Deep Purple live performance
This time, Silver Tongue got proceedings off to a heavy start, before the band
went into a routine Woman From Tokyo. There were good run-outs for Strange Kind
of Woman and it was nice to hear Demon's Eye live, even if it didn't quite have
the funkiness of the album version.
The new material worked well and, surprisingly, was met with a warm response
from the audience. A highlight here was I Got Your Number which is rapidly becoming
something of a late-career classic for the boys.
The show proper came to an end with a trio of Machine Head numbers - Highway
Star and a back-to-basics Smoke on the Water, of course, and (always welcome)
On the whole, a good evening, but where are the Purpendicular and Abandon tracks?
Having arrived with my 16-year-old rock chick of a daughter,
she wanted to know what Deep Purple was about.
Dean Howard came on first. Not bad but the mixing could have been better.
I explained to her that it does get better, after all we saw Iron Maiden this
time last year and that was going to be a hard act to follow.
Myself being a die hard Deep Purple nut the last couple of gigs did not meet
my expections and I will not comment on the Bananas album.
Next up was Thunder. Wow, this group rocks. The lead singer certainly
got the crowd rocking: We will be seeing these in Bristol in March.
Next up Peter Frampton. Last time I i saw this guy was decades ago -
bit of shock to see a little guy balding in years but by god he has still got
it. He did not move my daughter but did me and I'll be looking for the CD. Keep
rocking Pete, there is nothing else out there.
Finally the moment of truth - Deep Purple. Did not go much on the opening
song from Bananas but heh guys, when you hit the classics you rocked.
And Don... Well, like I said previously, you have done your apprenticeship and
you too rocked.
Great solos and sound. My daughter commented saying that was better than Iron
Maiden. Purple for me was an improvement from the last encounter.
When you go back to the studio really think hard about the next album, please.
More rock than pop - and as the guy in Manchester stated - Ian, please wear
jeans, white doesn't go in rock.
A friend and myself, being very impressed by the Newcastle show
two days previous, decided to head off down the road and get ourselves a second
slice of Purple.
The Birmingham Aerodrome, sorry, NEC, was our destination. Big, cold and characterless
was my verdict of both the venue and the show. No fault of the band's, I might
add, who didn't seem to be getting too much of a buzz out of it either. Whilst
their performance didn't suffer musically it lacked the enthusiasm of the previous
show. Gillans' between song chat was kept to a minimum and Hush was dropped
in favour of the bands' hasty exit upon completion of the final song of the
Speed King was a slightly better rendition than in Newcastle (where Gillan was
caught 'on the hop' by the band coming in a little earlier than anticipated).
That, and Steve Morse's slightly more colourful rendering of the guitar work
behind Knocking at your Back Door, were the only moments that improved upon
their previous show.
Not at all what I had hoped, but the 220 mile journey back to the North-East
would give us something else to think about.
The show at the NEC started well with Dean Howard and then got even better
with a good performance by Thunder who deserve more success than they
Then came Frampton and my 11-year-old daughter did not know what to make
of this guy who does not give a first impression of being one of the greats
of rock! However, she was as blown away as I was with the superb show from Frampton
and his band, and when he used the voice box it completely knocked her out as
she had never seen or heard it in use (she has never heard Frampton Comes Alive).
Then the highlight of the evening. Deep Purple stole the show with a
performance that featured many older numbers and some more recent ones from
the excellent Bananas.
My daughter was upset that some of her favourites had not been played but I
explained that they would have to play all night to please everyone - but if
they did I would have stayed to listen.
Great value for money, many more tours still in the old
Silver Tongue started the gig and what a gig! Very heavy tonight.
Silver tongue blew me away.
18 months on the road and Ian Gillan was singing like it was the 2nd night of
the 1st leg (if that makes sense!). He sang well! Paicey looked very focused
but he wasn't very well, which is why we only had a short encore of Speed King.
Still the band were great, Bananas really stood out for me as a highlight. It
sounded as strong as anything from the 70's.
Mr. Morse and Mr. Gillan get on so well, it's good to see, as Ian whips up the
crowd whilst Steve's doing his solos and Don too! His invention of 'air Hammond'
went down well. Don seemed as if he'd been in the band a long time with the
Hammond sound making my trousers shake (really).
Demon's Eye was great to hear but I prefered I'm Alone from the last tour.
Strange Kind Of Woman was brilliant. Highway Star (now in the middle of the
set) is one of the best live Purple songs ever. Steve went straight into Smoke
- I think that works better.
A short encore of Speed King but still great. A great night from a great band.
I can't wait to see them again.
It's the 2nd time I've seen Deep Purple live and there's only
only one word to describe them: Fantastic!
It was good to see them back in Birmingham, loved very minute. It's good to
see 'Smoke On The Water' hasn't lost its touch with the crowd.
Superb set and superb performances from all of them. I did miss Paice's drum
Deep Purple Dibbs