[ d e e p P u r . p l e ) The Highway Star

Deep Purple - Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow...17th October 1998

Amidst all the sounds, lights and general mayhem of a Deep Purple concert, the one single factor which is constantly apparent is the unmitigated enjoyment which reflects from the faces of the band members as they go about their work.
Despite the years of gruelling touring, and the constant demands to perform such classics as Black Night and Smoke on the Water, each member of Deep Purple continues to project the message to the audience that the concert is very much a genuine labour of love.

Deep Purple first achieved prominence in Glasgow in 1970 when their appearance at Tiffany's, a modest Sauchiehall Street venue, coincided with the success of Black Night in the UK singles charts. The crowds which flocked to Tiffany's had the effect of stopping the traffic in the city's busiest thoroughfare, an evening of profound significance which earmarked a watershed point in the band's development.

Purple were back in Glasgow 28 years later to play the more salubrious Clyde Auditorium, an armadillo-shaped building on the banks of the river on which the city (birthplace of Ian Gillan's father) stands.
The concert had something of a time-warp effect on the audience who watched an awesome display of guitar virtuosity from Steve Morse which was matched by the raw power of Roger Glover's bass playing. Ian Gillan's energetic front line performance belied his 52 years while anyone listening to the inspirational thumping of Ian Paice's bass drum during the intro to Highway Star is left in no doubt that Paicey is gleaning the same level of adrenalin from the sound as anyone else in the auditorium. Jon Lord, meanwhile, gives the impression of casting a paternal eye over on-stage proceedings from his elevated bank of keyboards.

After the show, I was fortunate enough to get backstage where Ian Gillan hugged me like a long lost brother. I'd only met him once before, over two years ago, but still he recognised me. That's the kind of guy he is.

Alan Fairley

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