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Ireland & UK 2002 reviews  

Bedroom rockstars get ultimate fix

I think it was Deep Purple's first gig in Ireland. If it was then it's been long long overdue. The Point was packed solid, but not as I first suspected with aging, cantankerous LSD-licking hippies searching for those past pockets of drug-induced pleasures. Instead it was an altogether more healthy variety of age groups that were happy to be whisked for that moment back in time to the early seventies when the industry was wonderfully free from the infection of overexposed made-to-order supermarket-type boybands (Sorry Louis).

Some of the lesser-haired members of the gathering even went to the trouble of buying wigs, ensuring a memorable head-banging session. I don't care what anyone says; it had to bring them back to the days of wishing you were Ritchie Blackmore - when you banged on the strings of a cheap tennis racket that you bought back in the Borg-McEnroe era. When you sweated like a pig trying to keep up with finger-bleeding pace of what seemed like the everlasting riff in Child In Time. And when the shine from the spotlight you rigged up from an old table lamp you robbed from your brother's room blinded you from all the cheering crowds at your feet. And you didn't care if the neighbours were hassled by the loud music. And then when you tried to mimic King Gillan's voice complete with contorted face and the pulsating near-bursting veins in your neck, who despite his years is still able to screech those normally unscreechably high notes.

We waited with an air of impatience, like I and some of the wig-wearing fanatics needed an infusion of a bucketful of drugs, for Speed King. We stood there twitching, hoping, praying for instantaneous Divine Intervention that it would be as fast, furious and as beautifully brutal as the 1972 Made In Japan version mixed with the superbly verging-on-violence intro by Blackmore that's thankfully forever etched in the vinyl of Deep Purple In Rock. Last night at the Point Speed King lacked the insane intro but the rest of it packed just as much of a punch to the gob-smacked crowd.

For me the king of all rock and roll guitarists has always been Ritchie Blackmore but I and a lot of my rubber-stamped, clincally devoted colleagues were pleasantly surprised at the unblemished keyboard-guitar conversation from Jon Lord and from move-over-Ritchie, Steve Morse. Equally as good were Paice's and Glover's solos that shouts volumes, from the mount, the reasons carved on two tablets of stone that Deep Purple are and still are the real kings of good ole rock and roll.

More of the same please, and soon!

Bernard Stobie

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