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Ireland & UK 2002 reviews  

A weekend away - even from Purple

National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, UK February 16, 2002

With four children under the age of 13, weekend escapes for this fan and his wife, both Purple devotees of three decades standing, require meticulous planning. So it was then that as soon as rumours of a 2002 UK tour were confirmed, tickets for the NEC (great seats, row 11 centre stage) were duly purchased and (at some expense) return flights from the northern outpost of Aberdeen booked, along with two nights in the Holiday Inn a stone’s throw from the NEC. Yes, Purple are playing in Glasgow, but that was a midweek gig and the chance to combine a romantic weekend in Birmingham and a Purple concert with the band by all accounts at their peak was too good to miss.

Aged relatives whose ears first rang to the sounds of Purple in the early 70s were press ganged disbelievingly into unaccustomed child care duties as we made our getaway on Friday night. Everything ran like clockwork, flight on time, accommodation perfect and an arrival in plenty time for an intimate hour or two in the Sleepy Owl looking forward to the weekend’s events.

Train into New Street Station on Saturday morning for some shopping, a light lunch and then back to the Sleepy Owl for an early meal to be followed by the main event. Or so we thought. A call on the mobile from the ticket agency mid-morning confirmed that even rock stars have to take sick leave and our weekend was re-arranged.

A visit to the cinema, a meal out and early to bed, all novel events in themselves for us, replaced our anticipated evening in the company of The Best Band In The World and we returned north on Sunday.

We were philosophical. These things happen and we did have a weekend away after all. Still, no question of returning to Birmingham this Sunday for the re-scheduled event and a telephone call to the SECC confirmed that not surprisingly it is now sold out. It looks as if we’re not going to see the great ones this time around. However, if anyone has a couple of tickets for Glasgow on the 28th looking for a good home…

Alastair Bruce

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