Wembley Arena, London, United Kingdom
November 13, 2004
I wasn't looking forward to this. I hate the cavernous, dated
barn that is Wembley Arena.
The last time I saw Deep Purple, at Wembley in June 2003, they were blown apart
by Lynryd Skynyrd. Then Bananas came out, and did little for me - I haven't
played it much at all. So I was already drifting away, and then the very mixed
reviews of the other UK shows appeared. "No passion", "cabaret act", and "boring"
were just some of the comments. And one reading of the announcement that they
plan to take a year off was that they'd had enough - that it was over.
So I was wondering whether it was going to be worth trekking to Wembley to see
my once-favourites, perhaps for the last time? Then, a couple of days before
the show, I had a load of urgent work dumped on me. The decision had been taken
for me - I told my wife to give the tickets away to anyone in her office who
Hang on - this is simply giving in, and I don't do surrender. Not for the first
or last time, my wife had ignored me, so we still had the tickets. A couple
of late nights broke the back of the work, and had the added bonus that the
roads were dead quiet when I was driving home. So it was off to Wembley.....
We caught only the last one-and-a-half numbers from the Dean Howard band.
They sounded good, melodic, intelligent.
Thunder were great fun. A lot of fans in the audience, a lot of t-shirts
sold, they worked their socks off, and a great time was had by all.
Peter Frampton was excellent, in a different sort of way. No danger that
his brand of soft-rock would blow DP apart, and he was becoming a wee bit tedious
by the time he finished.
And so to the main event. Now listen up.
Deep Purple are the best band in the world.
They played an incendiary high-octane high-velocity set of astonishing energy,
passion, craft and skill. They made it look so easy.
The songs from Bananas fitted in perfectly, Demon's Eye was a rare treat, and
even though the youngest of the songs in the latter part of the show were nearly
a third of a century old, they sounded as fresh and vital as the day they were
conceived. (Well, OK, I wasn't there in the Grand Hotel, so how would I know?)
They blew me away. Absolutely fantastic. Arsenal scored 5 on the same day, but
let in 4. Here it was 5-0 to Deep Purple.
I'm not going to single out any individual member or moment, because it truly
was a team performance. Each one of these guys put his heart and soul into it.
When the bass player is soaked in sweat at the end of a show, you know it's
been no cabaret.
This band is not finished. That was not a band playing its last show. They will
Memo from my wife, Nancy: Flattered though she was to hear the two DP songs
which refer to a lady of her name, she has never been too impressed with these
references. She wants to know if one of you once had a bad experience with one
of her namesakes?
Memo to Ian Gillan: Although the female part of the audience was greatly taken
by you changing outfit at the back of the stage where 95% of the crowd can't
see you, us blokes were not pleased. For cryin' out loud, you're a rock star
- so act like one! What is it with folding up your discarded clothes, and then
carefully putting them on hangers? If you can't leave them in a crumpled heap
on the floor, what chance is there for the rest of us?
Memo to the band: Thought you were very kind to the chap who clambered up to
help out on keyboards for Black Night. Portly old gent, grey suit, white hair,
pony-tail, beard. Steve and Rog just smiled, Ian G did an exaggerated "Who the
hell are you?" mime. Don't ask me, mate, no idea.*
Memo to Ritchie Blackmore: The new Wembley Stadium has an enormous arch right
across it. All you need are some computer-controlled coloured lights and you'll
have the perfect place for a Rainbow reunion. You'll probably need Bill Gates
to fund it, but don't let him give you any of his software.
That's all for now. My faith has been restored. Fully. Contact re-established.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some urgent work to finish off.
I went to see them at Wembley Arena, it was fantasmical, made
Deep Purple gave as ever, a great solid performance. You know
the set list. What more praise can you say of a bunch of seasoned pros. Gillan
sang his lungs out even though he looked absolutely exhausted from the moment
he walked on stage.
They did two songs in the encore and were about to walk off but, amid some confusion,
they put their guitars back on, then did Black Night, only to reveal that Jon
Lord was in town and stood behind the Hammond with Don. Now, I got more
pleasure from Jon's three minutes than the whole of Don's performance.
During Speed Kings organ/guitar duel Don never made eye contact with Steve once.
There just seems to be no chemistry at all! Don flies up and down the scale
with great speed, but no finesse or melody.
Jon did a mini duel with Steve, like it's supposed to happen in Speed King.
It was brief but the magic and chemistry were there, and you could hear the
notes from the Hammond. This isn't necessarily a bad thing to say about Don.
While Ritchie is replaceable with the ever smiling guitar genius that is Steve
Morse, I don't think anyone plays rock/blues Hammond on the planet like Jon
Lord. If you look up God in the dictionary it says see Jon Lord.
I'm also not too keen on the sound of Roger's bass. I'm no expert, it just sounds
a tad funky, as if the strings are too tight. Frampton's bass players sound
was real heavy.
It was a nice change to have good sound on all the bands playing.
Great to see Purple again. We had a great time, top entertainment. If you love
Steve's playing buy the Living Loud DVD - you won't be disappointed. And please
Don, no more synth it's not the 80's.
Kurt, Bruce and Spotty Dog
P.S. I could see Paul Mann and Bruce Payne in the wings. And what a great
portion of chips we had before and after the show. [Need to know or nice
to know? Rasmus]
Absolutely stunning. Having asked nicely, on behalf of my son,
whether there was any chance that we might get Morse's signature guitar signed
by the band if we brought it over, we were presented with backstage passes and
what a treat that was.
Having bought Frampton Comes Alive the first time around (and the 25th Anniversary
edition on CD a couple of years ago) I was looking forward to seeing Peter Frampton
and he was terrific - a beautiful balance of old and new stuff made for a great
but sadly too short set.
"Impossible to follow," I thought but trust Deep Purple to
defy the odds. The numbers from Bananas moulded in perfectly with older stuff
- it was just a shame that there was not enough time for Lazy or Sometimes -
but their absence was more than made up by Jon Lord appearing for the
Bring on the next tour.
Very good show!
A few minutes earlier than planned Deep Purple slipped on stage and into "Silver
Tongue" and excellent opener. The sound in the aircraft hangar was much
better than expected/normal and the band tore on through the set.
Gillan sat on the stage to dedicate Contact Lost to Emlyn Hughes as well as
the Challenger crew. This was followed by The Well Dressed Guitar, not one of
my favourites but it always seems to go down well with most others.
Before we realised it we were into Smoke and then it seemed that they were off
and back for the encore(s).
Then came the surprise, Jon Lord joined them for a third encore Black
Night. This was the icing on the cake!
So all in all a pretty good performance, enjoyed by the greater majority.
However, after they have rested and hopefully recorded a new album, the band
should seriously consider the wisdom of taking three support acts with them.
Yes, it was slickly handled and everyone started and finished pretty much on
time, but frankly there was not enough Deep Purple. One support act and two
hours or so of Purple I think would keep everybody happy - as would a tour of
the smaller venues in and around London.
How about it lads?
Thanks again for another great night.
My wife and I thought this was the best DP gig we had been too.
We paid extra for middle row four tickets and it was worth it to see and be
near the band. Next time we will take the kids.
The great set could have been longer and I would have liked a longer drum solo
by Ian, but I did manage to catch one of his sticks.
All the support acts were good.
Looking forward to the next tour which we will catch in Europe for a change.
Keep going lads.
Wow. I'm still in shock. I usually hate seeing anyone at the
Wembley Arena because it is so lacking in atmosphere but this was a concert
where any more atmosphere and the roof would have broke free.
Thunder got the crowd going, Peter Frampton brought back memories
of listening to a certain album on a hot summer's night with a bottle of wine.
His guitar style is still as refreshing as it was 30 years ago and when he left
the stage, everything was really set up for some fireworks.
And fireworks we got. Deep Purple were a lot crisper than their last
Wembley performance where I thought they were going through the motions a bit
- a rare comment for a band that still has boundless energy.
Instead, everything was so tight and controlled that it was like being hit with
buckets of adrenaline when ever they played. Don Airey has settled in and brings
differences and nuances that have made the band evolve yet again. The new material
from Bananas fitted in perfectly with the old material and it didn't matter
what they played.
Shock of the night was feeling my chest vibrating from the bass notes from Don's
solo. I've heard bass before but that was unreal.
Steve's Contact Lost was nothing short of miraculous and you could feel the
emotion pouring out of his guitar.
The whole evening was wrapped up when Jon Lord made a guest appearance
at the end during an impromptu Black Night extra encore. The camaraderie was
still there and Jon hasn't lost his touch either.
All in all, a great night. No, make that an exceptional night.
You can't have it all - or can you?
Off we go to the familiar but nevertheless horrible Wembley Arena hoping we
will see DP at their best after the disappointments of summer 2003.
Deep Purple strode onto the stage and started up with Silver Tongue from
Bananas. From the outset it was evident that the band were in a different frame
of mind than their last Wembley appearance. Great energy, great set in which
they very successfully blended classics with Bananas numbers (please keep Bananas
numbers in the live set) and great vocals from Ian who seemed to be especially
enjoying himself on stage and a great response from the Wembley crowd. Good
The only downer was the overall sound which for a loud band like DP must be
almost impossible to control in this aircraft hanger. Get big Ian's sound right
and Steve disappears in the mix, bring little Ian forward and Roger's sound
turns to mud. Oh well, you cant have it all I suppose, or can you? On came the
great Jon Lord for an extra encore rendition of Black Night. Wonderful
end to a great night!
A small request. Please can we see the band in some smaller
venues next year. You just cant beat the 2-3000 seaters for sound quality and
Simon Smith and Rosie Kuropka
Lets start with the conclusion: it was a great night out
and Purple surpassed themselves. Wembleys not the best venue for sound
quality, but somehow, someone has got their act together and the quality wasnt
as grim as it usually is there.
Onto the real part of the evening, and first the music.
For me, the best part of the act was the sheer variety of material the band
played - none of the one-album repertoire but an excellent mix from most eras.
A few tracks from Bananas - well it is the Bananas tour! Some good old stuff
- Woman from Tokyo, Highway Star, Space Truckin', and of course Smoke on the
Water. A welcome appearance of Demons Eye - never thought Id see
that live. Speed King, Hush, and an excellent Steve Morse showcase of Contact
Lost and The Well Dressed Guitar - never get tired of hearing and seeing that
live. Thought we might have had a couple from Burn as theyve just released
the 30th anniversary remaster (can you believe it) but it looks like the band
didnt think so.
Onto the people. Ian Gillan was as good as ever - I thought
a bit less chat than usual - except one intro that was spoiled by some inconsiderate
gits who all but drowned him out as he tried to tell us about the reasons behind
Contact Lost, and dedicate it to the memory of Emlyn Hughes. Have some respect
Roger Glover - great bass solo - dont remember seeing this done so well
if at all before. Ian Paice - no solo but several spotlight sessions - pounding
away as well as ever, and now the only original band member left. Don Airey
- some great stuff in his spotlight sessions as he teased us with snatches of
familiar music before moving on to another piece.
And of course Steve Morse. What can I say? The man deserves sainthood, if not
to be a minor deity, hes that good. What he cant make that guitar
do is nobodys business. And to top it all, a quick burst from Jon Lord.
Time for just one more, said Ian, and at the
end of that number many of the audience were out of their seats and away down
the exits to beat the car park rush. They missed one of the evenings highlights,
another number and when the spotlight went on the keyboards, Don Aireys
standing back and Jon Lords giving it welly. More power to the man - good
to see him back with the band, even if its for just a few minutes. He
appeared to take even them by surprise.
Three biggest downs? Merchandise stalls that had run out
of certain shirts/sizes by 6.30pm. Piss poor beer at £3 a pint. Half an
hour to get about thirty yards out of the car park at the end and the bomb-site
of a road in.
Three biggest ups? The set list. A band that appears to
be enjoying themselves. Jon Lords reappearance. Steve Morse.
A good evening - one of the best.
A fantastic entrance by Deep Purple. The
whole auditorium was on their feet and rocked throughout.
A blinding performance from Gillan much fitter and leaner than last year. Roger
Glover looked liked he'd had a pep up preshow too. Paicey good but a bit tired.
Steve Morse was not at his best until Jon Lord made a show. Don Airey
did his perfomance adequately.
The arrival of Jon Lord was unexpected, made more exciting by the fact
that the band (apart from Paicey) didn't realise at first.
My faves were Highway Star and Speed King with the added Black Night. A late
finish for Wembley.
Another spot on show from the boys... keep rocking.
Was it worth it? Schlepping to the frozen wastes of north London,
with no tubes running and crowded replacement buses... The best part of £35
for a ticket that is a quarter mile from the stage... £3.00 for a pint
of urine beer... £4.00 for a cold hot dog...
Yes it was. I missed Thunder and couldn't be arsed with Frampton,
but Purple were amazing. Much better atmosphere than last time, mainly
because Gillan seemed to give a toss and sang like an angel for 95% of the gig.
Paicey was class, as ever, the pick of the bunch.
Lord showing up was a bonus and it was even better to see the drongos
heading for the exit early turning round and realising they had shot their bolts
Lows: arseholes shouting during the intro to Contact Lost; boring keyboard solo;
not enough drums; mechanical, perfunctory guitar; Wembley itself.
Highs: the girls dancing near the mixing desk (schwing!);
My Sweet Lord; Paice; Woman from Tokyo and Demon's Eye; around 8000 people turning
up for a Purple gig.
My third time at a Deep Purple gig. They've been my favourite
band since I was 14 and now I'm 47 - and only managed three gigs!
Over the evening we were treated to a whole range of music from Demon's Eye
to Contact Lost. From where we were (sadly,towards the back) it wasn't the same
involvement that I had felt two years ago at Hammersmith, but we still had a
At the beginning I was afraid that Ian Gillan was saving his voice as he was
quiet, but the old Gillan magic gradually built up and by the encores he was
screaming as good as always and, incidentally, is still the sexiest man in rock
Three encores - Speed King, Hush and then Black Night. Some people around us
had left after Speed King. Pity for them as they missed the arrival on stage
of the wonderful Jon Lord for a bit of ivory tinkling in Black Night.
Roger was the last to leave the stage and I felt a bit choked and hope that
this will not be the last time I see this wonderful group who have meant so
much to me.
If you can get a ticket for the remaining dates ... Go!
My second Deep Purple gig - first one was Hammersmith in Sept
2002. Both great shows, this one was a very different experience to the last
Purple hit the stage at around 9.20, and what followed was a loud, powerful
performance, with Ian Gillan in particularly good form. The newer Bananas numbers
seemed to go down well and fitted in easily with the older classics.
Steve Morse's solo was'nt too long (nor was Don Airey's) , which for the most
part helped keep the pace up and The Well Dressed Guitar got a particularly
good response from the audience. At least two (or was it three?) encores, and
Jon Lord's appearance during Black Night simply added a nice surprise
to the end of the show.
Missed not having Ian Paice's drum solo (this was jaw dropping at Hammersmith)
but if he wasn't feeling 100 per cent, he still did a great job at this show.
Also good to see a broad age ranged audience who for the most part seemed to
be enjoying themselves. I think that this performance was overall more powerful
than emotional, (the emotion in a song like Sometimes I feel Like Screaming
was amazing on, for instance, the Perihelion DVD), but Purple have moved on
to a different creative period now, with the release of the new album. Can't
say wether this period is better or worse than the last one, just different.
Thanks again Deep Purple, still the greatest rock band on the planet!
What a fantastic Purple weekend. It started with the drive up
from Cardiff on Friday and pulling into Heston Services and guess who was in
the car park? Jon Lord. What are the chances of that?
I had never met him but walked up to him as he was getting into his car. Mentioned
Purple's gig the following day and asked if he was going. He said no, all good
things must come to an end. We said goodbye and I left just wondering.
As you know, he did turn up and did the final of three encores, Black Night,
and I met him again getting into his car after the gig. He said hello and was
warm and friendly and signed my Concerto DVD.
I got to meet the band backstage at both gigs although Ian Paice never came
back at either.
Steve Morse mentioned the band are getting in the studio in February 2005, but
to date nothing is written. Ian said he was loving every minute of it now and
had never felt better.
Don mentioned three keyboards had blown up at the Cardiff gig hence the omission
of the Star Wars bit. [Some guys have all the luck. Rasmus]
Anyway, on to the show itself.
The set remains exactly the same as other reviews with stunning performances
from Steve who relishes the opportunity given.
These Hanger type arenas never seem to be sound friendly to any band but the
mix was clear from where I was in row 23 of the front blocks. Apart from an
error in Woman from Tokyo when Roger seemed to change early the set was flawless.
Great stories from Ian. What is a woman's perdunkel then, Ian?
Tight solid rhythm with the usual splendid interchanges that are reminiscent
between Lord and Morse now adequately filled by Don 'Star Wars' Airey who added
Maybe It's Because I'm A Londoner to his musical qualude of ditties.
I wish Ian would bring back the bongoes instead of moon sliding in Perfect Strangers
- and where is the harmonica these days, Ian?
This band is just getting better every time I see them but I would prefer to
cut the support acts to one and let Purple rock for two hours instead of 1hr
The encores were Speed King which was the tightest I've seen to date and Hush.
Then just when you thought it was safe Ian called Steve Morse back and told
the others to start Black Night- and then he appeared. Good Lord! The
man I had met 24 hrs earlier in a service station and the epitomy of Hammond
rock. Jon 'The Hammond God' appeared to close the show with a fantastic note
for note duet with Steve Morse.
Backstage after both Don and Roger mentioned they had no idea Jon was coming
on. I'm glad I went and so were the thousands who stayed. Thank you very much,
The night air was cold outside but my inner ears had been warmed by the greatest
rock band this planet is ever likely to see!
The gig started on time, but I think there were too many supports.
Two would be enough.
When Purple entered the stage, the audience stood up and got crazy. English
people love them so much! They didn't want to sit down until the end of the
It was very kind of them to keep silence during the Contact Lost. Steve must
have been happy, I'm sure.
His guitar play was moving, as usual. In general, the band's condition was excellent
and they gave us some surprises. The first one was Demon's Eye. Very good performance,
although Ian forgot some lines of the lyrics. But his voice was unusual. Everybody
wanted to dance. Those seats were real obstacles indeed! We couldn't dance to
the hilt. But we shouted and sang every song.
The scenery wasn't very interesting - banana trees - but the lights were awesome,
especially during Perfect Strangers. Not only green, but also white and blue
lightnings were dancing all over the scene.
As for two songs - Knocking at Your Back Door and Perfect Strangers - I think
their endings sounded quite false. I'd like to suggest some changes here. What
about some guitar or organ solo, and then a slight passage to the next song?
Unfortunately, the show couldn't continue. It's a pity. I had the time of my
life. Happily, the band played three encores.
Two first ones were played without surprises, but the third one was like a thunder.
Wow! Two fellows at the keyboard? Oh, yes! Jon Lord! What a surprise
indeed! Jon and Don together! I think nobody expected that.
I thought I'd never see Jon Lord with Purple live. And I did. What a pleasure.
It was very kind of you, Mr. Lord. It was very interesting to hear two best
keyboard players together. Many thanks!
Now I wonder what else I'll see on 16th November. As I'm in England, I'm going
to be at another gig. Why not? Maybe Jon will come to see us again...
Thanks, Ian, Jon, Don, Paicey, Roger, Steve...
See you in Brighton!
Friday night, no sleep, anticipation overriding the system.
Same feelings appearing like the fist time I saw them a few years ago back home
in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Saturday - cannot stay still. Traffic to the Arena is mild. Couple of beers
in and we are ready. It was very pleasant to see people of my own age (20) and
younger paying their respects to the masters.
The whole arena stood up to honor the legends of hard rock.
The band looked fresh, Glover and Paice playing as tightly as ever, Morse and
Airey playing in the Deep Purple keyboard-guitar manner, and Gillan sounding
excactly the way he did back in the Perfect strangers era. Knocking At Your
Back Door and Perfect Strangers also featured in the show, at which point the
crowd went mad. One could observe a few small patches of young blood having
a ball, standing up, jumping around and swinging their heads. The atmosphere
was really warm - like seeing an old buddy after a long time and I believe the
band realised that.
Smoke on the Water had all ages banging their heads. Speed King featured a fantastic
improvisation part from Morse and Airey. Airey's solo part really got the fans
enthused with some wall shaking sound effects.
The night closed with an unexpected surprise - Jon Lord! They played
What a night! Got back home at 1am and couldn't stop thinking
about the concert, put on Machine Head and listened to Maybe I'm a Leo and Pictures
of Home - no sleeping that night.