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Deep, meaningful, and mercifully short

Deep Purple are currently touring the country where it all started some 54 years ago, and here is a selection of gig reviews so far from the UK press.

London, October 20:

The much delayed UK tour by rock legends Deep Purple finally ‘Whooshed’ into London for what looked like a sell-out show at the O2 Arena. Following a solid performance from support band Blue Oyster Cult (who did a fine job of warming up the crowd) the audience rose to their feet as Purple took to the stage and gave a performance that belied their years.

The sound was the best I’ve heard at the O2 (and possibly anywhere) with all instruments clear and distinct and the band themselves sounded like they’d never been away. Remarkable. The big change this time around of course was the inclusion of new boy Simon McBride on guitar (stepping in to replace long-time guitarist Steve Morse who withdrew from the band for family reasons). Simon quickly proved that he was up to the task, knowing when to pay homage to the original solos in classic songs and when to put his own stamp on proceedings. He particularly shone during the extended intro to ‘Uncommon Man’ which he made his own.

Continue reading at The Rockpit.

Glasgow, October 22:

The arena was full and had an air of expectation when Deep Purple entered the fray. The slow build-up in the Highway Star intro got everyone on their feet, and it wasn’t long before the first few lines were seemingly being sung by the whole room, as well as Ian Gillan.

The sound was almost perfect, each instrument able to be heard clearly and the song bubbling along on a rhythm section that doesn’t sound like it has aged at all.

Then it was time for that classic guitar solo spot, and Simon McBride stepped front and centre for the first time.

Continue reading in Metal Talk.

Leeds, October 23:

“This one’s deep and meaningful,” Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan tells Leeds’s First Direct Arena, as drummer Ian Paice grins behind his kit. The two exchange a glance, before the former adds a knowing caveat: “And mercifully short.”

He’s not wrong to clarify brevity: at this much-delayed stop in West Yorkshire, their performance is as much a world-class exercise in wig-out noodling as anything else.

There is little disputing the indelible mark the veteran group have left upon hard rock and heavy metal, even if their line-up has been reshuffled more times than England’s top-order batting partnership.

Continue reading in the Yorkshire Post.

[Update Oct 29]: Manchester, October 26:

Oh, so dramatic, the stage goes black while the speakers boom out Holst’s The Planets. The band find their places before exploding into Highway Star. It’s a big number to kick the show off with and the front man’s voice really could have done with something a little easier. He quickly get’s into and here we are. Deep Purple, three original members from ‘Mark I’ – Ian Gillan, Roger Glover (on bass) and Ian Paice (on drums), augmented by Don Airey on keyboards, replacing the late Jon Lord, and Simon McBride on lead guitar, who recently took over from Steve Morse, himself taking over from Richie Blackmore via Joe Satriani. It’s like this with these iconic rock band – keep up!

Continue reading in Louder Than War.

Perhaps this is the right place to remind everybody that you can write your own review of a gig for The Highway Star.

14 Comments to “Deep, meaningful, and mercifully short”:

  1. 1
    Gregster says:


  2. 2
    Rob Dykes says:

    Just seen Deep Purple last night in Birmingham …….. what class evening of rock n roll great tunes great sound and band so tight.
    New guy on lead was having a ball , super musician . Excellent Simon
    Ian on drums was the heartbeat, Roger defying his age throughly enjoyed himself Don sounded louder than any gig I’d seen before and finally Ian Gillan the VOICE his love of these tunes spreads through the whole arena never missing his cue never a flat note he is truly amazing
    The problem is with these big arenas is the atmosphere , very sterile. No rushing to the front ,no headbanging, some barely clapping , I know we all can’t stand for hours on end but it kills the vibe
    It was a brilliant concert it will be my last , I will live on the past concerts I’ve seen all over the world with DP
    I thank yoooooooooo !

  3. 3
    janbl says:

    I have yet to see a negative review (not that I expect one). The most negative reviewer in Denmark (Thomas Treo) did apparently not attend the concert in Royal Arena (or could not find anything bad to say about the concert and refrained to write anything at all).

  4. 4
    Adel Faragalla says:

    I agree the sound was amazing at the O2 but the set list hds no surprises.
    Still the best even at what they do.
    Peace ✌️

  5. 5
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Hey, not really more line-up changes recently than Prime Ministers!

    Just sayin‘, sunak or later someone had to remark on it. ; – )

  6. 6
    Roger Garrini says:

    Birmingham last night, a great show, sheer class all round. A balanced show mostly old but classics and all played with huge energy. Gillan was particularly amazing.

  7. 7
    yance says:

    Seen the boys in Leeds and Birmingham , cant really see how anyone could have bad comments , so tight and they really seemed to enjoy the gigs, not sure if the sound system is different but the the mix was excellent and the sound was so good . IG was in fine form on both nights . A pleasure to be there.

  8. 8
    Robert Maitland says:

    Don’t know what gig the Glasgow reviewer was at when he says “the arena was full”. The top two tiers were curtained off, so a long way from being full. I was in the 10th row but over to the side, which meant a restricted view of the stage – I could only see the left side of Ian Paice for example. Pretty poor when I bought the ticket as soon as they went on sale. Add to this the distraction of the camera boom continually swooping overhead (they were filming the gig), it was the worst seat I have ever had at a Purple gig and I have been to many at numerous venues since 1985 – the mud at Knebworth was preferable. Those below the boom had to sit as the boom would have been directly in our line of sight if we had stood.
    As for Purple, the sound was good and it was a great performance, though the set list offered few surprises. Still I suppose they are catering for the masses, even if there were less of them than last time around. Still, I can always get the DVD and see what I missed.

  9. 9
    Dennis brown says:

    O2 London,
    Cracking performance IG voice struggle a little but hey
    Simon seen this guy before as a single guitarist for Joe Satriani and to be fair wiped the floor with him.
    Looking forward hopefully to a rock album soon.
    Great sound and as previous statements you could hear all the instruments .

  10. 10
    Graham Cooke says:

    My son and I were at Birmingham last night for the BOC / Purple concert. 3rd row from the front and centrally sited. And what a concert! Whilst I may have been happy standing for two or more hours when I first saw Purple on the Burn tour in 1974, I am now perfectly happy to remain seated while enjoying the sheer delight of their musicanship and skill.
    I will admit that I have been a Steve Morse fan from the release of Purpendicular and have greatly enjoyed his playing live. Consequently I was saddened by his decision to leave the band, but entirely understood those reasons; they are a measure of the man and the love for his wife. I harboured some doubts about a new face on stage, a new guitarist. My fears were unfounded. Simon McBride was simply superb last night. He may not have the delicacy or finesse of Morse, but he plays with an aggression and a sense of humour that fits perfectly with the rest. The interplay between McBride and both Glover and Airey was something to witness. A special mention must go to the sound technicians – that was the best sound I’ve heard at a Purple concert – yes, it was loud, but it was also crystal clear.
    Ian Gillan struggled a bit with Highway Star (unsurprisingly) but after that he was better than I’ve seen him for more than a decade. The new songs fitted in well (although I would have liked more and was very sad that Birds of Prey did not feature) and his singing on When a Blind Man Cries was spinechilling. It was also nice to hear Anya again – great piece of music. Mr Paice continues to drive the band with a new found ferocity. Roger just makes me laugh – so much fun and so much interpaly with the audience. Don’s solos mixed craft with humour and dazzled.
    Other than a slight ringing in my ears, the biggest physical problem I faced after the concert was with aching facial muscles – they ache when you’ve been smiling non stop for nearly two hours.
    As I said to my son, after his 6th Purple concert, we have to treasure concerts like this because I can’t see where the next generation are coming from. You take 5 musicians, still performing at or very near their peak, put them together in an environment where they are still clearly enjoying themselves, add in a back catalogue that very few, if any bands can match, and the result is a thing of beauty. Thank you Deep Purple – after all these years, still my favourite band.

  11. 11
    Dr. Bob says:

    A common theme in the reviews and comments is how well they sound live, the balance, and clearly hearing each instrument. That has been my experience everytime I have seen them in concert in a variety of theaters and outdoor venue. It’s truly astonishing how they do that every time.

  12. 12
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Purple always had the projetion of their live sound down pat UNLIKE THAT OTHER BAND WITH THE MEANINGLESS WORDS I WILL NOT IDENTIFY HERE.

    People also seem to like Simon, he has guitarslinger plus gung-ho appeal and people relate to that. It wasn’t an aspect that was exactly “conscientious and musicianly Steve’s” forte. A part of DP is also about kicking butt.

  13. 13
    Rik_UK says:

    Manchester. I’ve seen them 25 times now and this ranks highly. Gillan was amazing and Simon Mcbride a joy to behold. The whole band were. Hopefully this UK tour was filmed, i did read that somewhere…hope so.

  14. 14
    Peter J says:

    I’ve seen a couple of UK shows and couldn’t believe how good the band was…

    I’ve attended 80 shows since the 80’s and I’d rank Manchester in the top 5-6…Gillan was incredible…

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