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Ireland & UK 2002 reviews  

Best ever Lord

Firstly The Planets; the girls were good looking and the whole band were obviously talented musicians. They seemed like a cross between The Corrs and a Jon Lord’s Concerto for Group And Orchestra. I wish them well, but think that to appeal to a larger audience they will have to add some vocals.

Secondly, and much more importantly, Deep Purple: They opened with Woman From Tokyo (as expected from previous reviews) and it became clear straight away that Ian Gillan was struggling with his voice. He was coughing in-between verses, in-between lines and sometimes even in-between words! You couldn’t fault him for trying and often I felt really sorry for him, but the usual power, range and delivery was missing. I understand that DP postponed an earlier concert in Birmingham due to illness. I don’t know whether this was IG who was ill? If it was I wonder should they have postponed Brighton’s gig also, as DP without IG on form are not quite the same? However this causes disappointment and logistics problems, and there was no doubt that IG was giving it his best shot anyway.

But if IG was not up to 100%, the rest of the band were trying to make up for it by playing at 120%. Jon Lord’s organ playing was excellent - the best I have ever seen him play. Guitarist Steve Morse is now a fully integrated part of DP and his playing was also on top form all night. The chemistry is really starting to gel between JL and SM and their duelling/duet performances were a highlight of the evening and I’m sure brought back reminders of the power of Purple in the early days of the Mk II line up. Roger Glover and Ian Paice were as rock solid as ever in the rhythm section. These two hold the whole band together especially when Jon and Steve are flying about on their solos.

I won’t bother detailing the set list - firstly others have done this before, and secondly I was too busy enjoying myself to keep an exact note. However when they played Black Night half way through the set (instead of as an encore as with the previous shows) we knew we were in for some changes. In fact it seemed that Steve only knew which song was coming next when IG introduced it! One casualty of the new set list was Child In Time (I guess because of the state of Ian’s voice). This was a pity as it is a real classic and I would have loved to see IG sing this again with his voice intact. Whilst all the songs were good, particular highlights for me were Fools (to play such a complicated song live just shows how good DP are), When A Blind Man Cries and Speed King. There were hints of the real Ian Gillan in the first two of these whilst Jon and Steve’s solos in Fools and SK were made in heaven.

All in all this was a very good concert (but not great). Please come back to the south east again soon, and next time make sure IG brings his Deep Purple voice with him.

Chris Shelton

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