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Ireland & UK 2002 reviews  

No sell-by date on this lot

I was one of the lucky 3,500 DP fans who witnessed Deep Purple's performance at the Apollo Hammersmith on Friday, February 23rd. I say lucky, as I've just seen that the second London concert has been cancelled.

The band positively exploded onto the stage with Woman From Tokyo. I expected to see those same 3,500 up on their feet, hands in the air, but no... Maybe it was the fact that Gillan sounded like he'd been gargling with Domestos - he sounded like Satchmo on the morning after the night before. It was very clear that the poor guy had been hit by some kind of bug, he sounded like no Gillan I'd ever heard. A poor start to the show. He kept letting his pals take up the music while he none too nonchalantly wandered off stage for a swig of something.

Despite that, he soon warmed up and the boys started beating the hell out of the music. It was magic. Gillan's voice meandered in between his Satchmo impersonations to moments of magic when his old self shone through. They played a few of the newer tracks, but it was the old faves that got the applause. Fools was magnificent, Highway Star was stupendous and Black Night was outtasight! No Child In Time, my favourite DP track ever, but no explanation was needed for this.

I was really disappointed with the audience. Despite the fact that most of them were made up of under 30s, we all sat on our fat ones and let the boys do all the work - what a shame. Don't Brits rock any more?? I think the biggest disappointment was that the audience also hugged their seats for Smoke On The Water - sacrilege!!! What happened to the screaming? What a tame bunch... [Where were you? Where I was everyone stood up! Rasmus]

OK, enough of the sad audience - they did actually get up at the end and brought the boys back for an encore, so they redeemed themselves to some degree.

Star of the match was Steve Morse. He was totally brilliant! The boy (OK, he's older than me, and I'm 44) was the highlight of my evening. He is a magician, pure and simple. He made the night for me. His medley of rock hits was inspiring.

Joint second came Jon Lord and Ian Paice - two of the finest musicians in the business today (well, I guess they have had enough practice - Lordy is over 60 now). Paice's solo was inspirational, but why didn't he have more than one? This guy was the main contributor to making DP the loudest band in the world, so why only five minutes out of the whole show? And Lordy too - the man is a legend. Like Paicey, he had one solo slot and truly showed the class magic of which he was capable.

Next came Roger Glover. Now I don't know if it's just me, but I feel the bass player is always in the shadow of the lead guitar. Despite this, when Rog did get his own solo, albeit he was shadowed by Paicey, he sounded great. But give the man more limelight.

I'm not going to put Gillan as the disappointment of the night, because he was clearly unwell. I think the crowd felt his pain. Even with this handicap he somehow shone through with patches of inspired singing through the croaking. This must have taken immense courage, and I for one, thank you Ian Gillan for being a true rock hero - well done, mate.

I had a brilliant evening, despite the drawbacks. I don't know how long the band can continue, but I hope it's for many years to come. Who says rocking has a time limit?

Deep Purple - the greatest band in the world, still

Nigel Kersh, Israel

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