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Ireland & UK 2002 reviews  

Quality gig devoid of His Sulking Darkness

8:30 PM - just made it inside the doors! Don't hang around in the bar too long. Six of us: four adults and two children, aged 11 and 12, had driven in the pouring rain all the way from the big city...(well, Leeds anyway!)

I won't detail the set list because others already have and it would appear that these days there is little or no change from gig to gig, but there were plenty of high lights on a personal and band level.

Firstly, its quite obvious that Purple are enjoying themselves and this is apparent with all the broad smiles which are abound on the stage. This translates through to the audience with a vibrant and fairly comprehensive set which threw in a few surprises (I'd never heard Fools or Mary Long live before), but which seemed to leave a few not so well acquainted aficionados looking around perplexed.

We now feel quite proud of the children's upbringing (as we have driven around the North Yorkshire Moors with Aviator in the car BLASTING out). Some bemused faced adults wondering how these two young fans could possibly know all the words while *they* had plainly never heard the song before.

It's good to see that Steve Morse, since I saw him on the Purpendicular tour, has acquired the ability to read the other band member's minds. I suppose after nine years he should have done! To see him jamming with Mr Lord and Garth Rockett at every opportunity is great - something that was sadly missing from The Battle Rages On gig at the NEC from the Dark One. His technical ability is quite outstanding. Myself and my better half could not help but be impressed by his playing during Fools (though I did notice it was Mr Lord who played the cello effect in the instrumental break) and his riffing with guest songs just before Smoke raised cheers and smiles with some of the hippies.

The only reservation is that Steve isn't dangerous, that certain edge the Dark One has which can push the other band members to great heights - or selfishness on his own part. Having said that Ritchie seems to be having a great time touring with His Lass, so maybe it's not all one-sided; he played a belting Black Night at York last year.

Uncle Ian seems to be singing better than he has for some time and his influence on the band is there for all to see (note the number of tracks from the Fireball era, Ian's favourite, which the Dark One would not play). I'm not a big fan of drum solos but Little Ian is the exception, a tight, well structured solo displaying a combination of subtlety, skill, dexterity and power. How old is this man!?

Anyway, we're going to see it all again on Friday in Liverpool and though I know there may be no surprises I know that at least we will get a high quality gig with no tantrums or sulking.

Chris, Brenda, James and Katie Mallinson, Leeds

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