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Ireland & UK 2002 reviews  

What a night

Last time I saw the band was the infamous final gig this venue in.1976. That was disappointing on many fronts, and having lost touch with their music from that night I was looking forward to seeing again the classic line up with the addition of Steve Morse - although I was slightly apprehensive as what to actually expect. What a night! The band were fantastic with an evening of classic Purple mixed with new material.

It was obvious from the opening song that Ian Gillan had problems with his voice, a lot of coughing, so a touch of flu maybe? However, full credit to him as he battled on through the evening much to the enjoyment of the sell out crowd, a true star.

You could not ask for a better set from the opening Woman From Tokyo, through Ted The Mechanic, Lazy, Fools, Speed King, Perfect Strangers, Smoke On The Water (with a very clever intro of classic rock riffs) and many more. And what an encore - Black Night, Hush and Highway Star. Each member of the band looked like they were enjoying the night as much as the crowd which was nice to see.

The musicianship was second to none and having seen most of the 'great guitarists' over the years a special mention must go to Steve Morse who's playing on the night was in parts incredible, laying to bed the ghost of a certain Mr R Blackmore. In my opinion Morse is probably the best thing that's happened to the band in many years and long may it continue.

I can't wait for the next tour, hopefully in the near future and again at the smaller venues like Liverpool.

Thanks for a great evening, don't leave it to long to come back

Gary Baxter

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