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Ireland & UK 2002 reviews  

Fishing in Oxford

Pop Idols eh?! Due to various constraints (i.e. time and money), this was the first time I had seen Purple since '96, so the level of anticipation was running about as high as a "strange cigarette." For those of you unaquainted, the Apollo at Oxford is a medium sized old style venue; intimate enough, but not too small and nigh on perfect pitch and acoustics for Purple's dynamics, of which more of later.

First off were an eight piece ensemble monickered The Planets who played a fusion of classical and rock music, a tad like the tracks off Jon's Before I Forget. In short, they were a great surprise, and a good success judging from the favourable reaction from the crowd, although I wonder how many of the lads listened to the music, rather than look at the favourable females in the band?! Check out their new CD, Classical Graffiti, and I think you'll find it's worth it. [However naff the title! Rasmus]

The familar Paicey intro to Woman From Tokyo that echoed around the Apollo kickstarted Purple time, and the thing that first caught my eye was the obvious enthusiasm between the five members. I swear you could stretch Steve Morse's grin right across the stage, and by Ted he had the crowd spellbound. The mix of material was spot on, with the likes of Lazy coming on as a good companion to the likes of The Aviator, which was complete with new arrangement, and I think better than the original version.

New material came in the shape of Up The Wall, which is a middle paced tune, and I think it could sit in well as a single, although the chances of that happening are as rare as... Well, you know the rest. Also given an airing for the first time [in Oxford] was a quick paced instrumental Well Dressed Guitar and a Morse medley of classic songs such as You Really Got Me and The Who's Won't Get Fooled Again.

Highlights, well, there were so many to choose from, amongst which were Child In Time, for which predictably the place went wild (Ian sang it superbly), and one of the encores in the shape of Hush - and the classical solo from Jon, which has never sounded as good. However, *the* highlight of the night came in the form of vocal comment from the Hammond meister himself when, responding from a refrain from the audience, piped up, "Don't do that on your own, or someone will throw you a fish!" Priceless stuff, and something, like the whole night, that will live with me for years to come.

Craig Storey

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