SECC, Glasgow, United Kingdom
November 8, 2004
Deep Purple produced a thunderous and dynamic set that put pretenders
half their age to shame. The gig was far better than last year's and Gillan's
banshee wail was back in top form. In fact the innovation and interplay between
all members of the band was tremendous and they were incredibly tight.
There was a good mix of old and new and the four new Bananas numbers really
came to life and stood up very well against the old classics. Although there
were one or two surprising omissions (no Black Night), it was good to hear Demon's
Eye being given an airing.
The pace was relentless and they really worked the audience. The only disappointment
was that we only got an hour and a half of music but it was worth every minute.
Ninety minutes of the rock legends is never enough.
Deep Purple were energetic and had a great rapport with the audience. Despite
coming to the end of a world tour, their music was still as fresh and lively
as if it was the first gig. Even Smoke on the Water which they must have played
hundreds of times was crisp and as always a great crowd pleaser.
Every member of the band seemed to be really enjoying the occasion and this
enthusiasm was shared by the audience. There was a good mix of old and new numbers
from Strange Kind of Woman, Highway Star and Space Truckin' to Silver Tongue,
Contact Lost and Bananas.
A great night out, Deep Purple remain as always masters of their art. I hope
it won't be too long before we see them live in Glasgow again.
Preliminary stuff: Dean Howard's band played to about
25 people due to coming on too early again, and suffered from rubbish lights
(leaving the stage in total darkness in the middle of several songs - credit
to the keyboard player for playing his solo with a maglight clutched between
Thunder seemed to struggle in rousing the crowd and didn't seem to come
across as well as they did in Manchester. They worked hard and played well but
it didn't quite work for me this time.
Peter Frampton is phenomenal once again. His songs already seem like
old favourites to me, despite having heard most of them for the first time two
days ago! He's a big favourite with the crowd again and anyone who decides to
arrive late or sit his set out in the bar is making a big mistake.
I had a seat five rows back from the (giant) right-hand speaker stack. Ouch.
Surprisingly, I seem to have retained all my hearing. But, yes, it was loud.
But still amazingly clear. The individual instruments cut across the noise and
the bad arena acoustics and each one stood out perfectly. Which of course lets
you hear exactly how good these guys are. Are these guys good? Yes, Deep
Purple is the greatest rock band on the planet. Always has been, probably
always will be.
The songs, in no particular order, starting with the new ones:
Silver Tongue opens the show, and it's far from my favourite on Bananas but
it's a great high-energy set opener. Good choice, I think.
I Got Your Number has a more interesting "texture", soft and hard,
fast and slow, the kind of thing that probably shouldn't work live but they
smash their way through it with no loss of momentum.
Bananas is completely... bananas. (Oh, yeah, I get it now...) The fast guitar
and keyboard runs are amazing and the weird rhythm keeps you completely off
balance. But the big surprise is Ian "I have no idea what I'm singing"
Gillan actually getting though it word-perfectly!
Things do finally slow down for Contact Lost. Gillan sits down to tell us the
story behind it and dedicates it to the Columbia astronauts. It's played a lot
more powerfully than the album version - there are drums! But the beautiful
guitar melody is still there, and the band finally shuts up to let Steve "banned
from the greatest guitarist polls to give other guys a chance" Morse play
a long solo - much longer than in Manchester (I began to wonder how they would
keep within their allotted 90 minutes). It's a fairly typical Morse solo - full
of sounds that guitars aren't supposed to make, and complicated melodies that
demand you pay attention. Then the band crash back in and it's straight into
The Well Dressed Guitar, the heaviest, fastest, most powerful baroque concerto
ever written. Morse and Airey are the stars of this. I guess this doesn't really
qualify as a new tune any more (it's been four years since I first heard it,
except then it was called The Ill Tempered Guitar (a much better title, in my
opinion) and accompanied by an orchestra, but I'm digressing...)
So, on to the old songs. Of course they are a predictable bunch (even if you
hadn't already seen them in Manchester), but that's kind of the point of "classics",
isn't it? I have no complaints at all about the selections. Woman from Tokyo,
Strange Kind of Woman, Knocking at your Back Door, Space Trucking, Highway Star.
None of them played "straight". Everything offers something new: a
new intro, an extended solo. I'm listening to these songs for the millionth
time and it doesn't feel like I'm listening to them for the millionth time.
A "new" old song on this tour is Demon's Eye, and it's a welcome addition.
Played with a lot of power, so some of the original jazz feel is lost, but there's
still a lot of intricate soloing squeezed in around the crunching riff.
Don "I can play anything" Ariey gets a long solo - again longer than
in Manchester, I'm sure, in which he runs through a classical repertoire, mostly
on piano. And, yes, there are his "signature" bits he always plays,
but the majority of it is as fresh as ever. And structured to maintain the same
high energy level as the rest of the concert. I can't understand why everybody
sits down during keyboard solos! He still finished with the Star Wars theme,
but it 's still so cool that I don't care, he can play it as often as he wants
to. After the final crashing chord knocks you over (see, wouldn't get *that*
if you sit down, would you?), he moves straight into Perfect strangers and the
only word I can think of to describe this line-up's interpretation of it is
"majestic". Oh, and, Best Lights Ever.
What have I missed? Oh, ok, Highway Star. This opens with Steve and Roger jamming
some unrecognisable random tunes - but even while they're doing this, you know
it's going to turn into Highway Star. How do you know? Because Ian "if
it's there, hit it" Paice is playing Highway Star. The importance of Ian
Paice to this group cannot be over-emphasised. Think about it - you can recognise
*any* Deep Purple song from the drum beat alone. How cool is that? No, think
about it some more... see what I mean? Paice doesn't get a solo as such in the
current set, but he actually never stops "soloing". He's never "just"
keeping the beat - that's for mere mortal drummers. He actually *plays* the
The set ends with Smoke on the Water, and I just can't understand the people
who say they are tired of hearing this played... and look at the band. They're
grinning so much, I can't believe they are tired of playing it. It's the greatest
rock song ever written.
And finally, a single encore: Speed King. Yes, the stretched out songs and longer
solos have eaten away the time, and the venue seems to have a strict curfew.
Boo! But Speed King is back to near it's old length, with the jamming, the rock'n'roll
medley, the guitar and organ duel (jaw-dropping as usual), a bass solo, and
all the rest of it. Maybe not the best version of Speed King, but they're racing
the clock now and they still manage to go out in style.
And... ah, I just feel déjà vu when writing all this, *every*
Deep Purple concert is so perfect that I'm just repeating the same praise as
I was last year, the year before, the year before that...
This was (marginally) better than the Manchester gig. I came away with the kind
of high I expect from the best concert I've ever been to. And that's all I ask
for... except maybe an extra half hour next time, please ;-)
Although I did enjoy the gig and I would go every night to hear
them if I could, and the new stuff sat well with the classics - 90 minutes is
no way a long enough set.
The sound was really pretty crap from where we were sitting. I don't pretend
to be any kind of expert but it was 'mushy' and Steve's guitar was non-existent
unless he was doing a solo. In fact they all were. [What?! It was totally
quiet?! Rasmus] It was a mega disappointment since the sound on both Thunder
and Frampton were crystal clear. What happened? And what was that all about
with the Security standing like wee Hitlers stopping anyone moving forward?
Come on it was a Deep Purple concert - what did they think we were going to
do for God's sake?
Please, please come back DP and find a decent venue to
play in - like the Barrowlands?