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Ireland & UK 2002 reviews  

When a standing man cries

I was a little worried about seeing DP at the Apollo in Oxford as it is an all seated venue and unfortunately my fears were justified. From the moment the band came came on and ripped into Women From Tokyo I seemed to be the only one up on my feet in the right hand stalls. There were others elsewhere but they were few and far between. Only when the band started Smoke On The Water about 3/4 into their set did the crowd realise they were at a rock gig and not a pantomime! I am sorry folks, but I didn't pay almost £30 to get DVT sitting watching a great band like Deep Purple. To say the majority of the crowd were an embarrassment would be justified.

That aside the band were superb but the frustration on Ian Gillan's face at the lacklustre crowd was painful at times. A tight version of Ted soon followed with Steve Morse on excellent form which had everybody asking once again - 'Richie who'? A new song, Mary Long, followed which are always hard to judge on first hearing when played in between such classics. [Calum, you need to check out the Who Do We Think We Are album from 1973. Rasmus]

The first real gem was Child In Time which hadn't been aired for many a year. Once again the years slipped away as Ian hit the high notes time and time again. No One Came followed, and The Aviator kept things moving at a cracking pace.

A new instrumental, Well Dressed Guitar, gave Steve an opportunity to silence the critics once and for all. This man has given Purple a new lease of life - it is like watching a new band, nothing like the tired and creaking old dinosaur that I saw on The House Of Blue Light tour. Did the band ever have so much fun and smile so much when Mr. Blackmore was onstage - I don't think so. [It may have happened way back when... Rasmus]

Fools was next, then another newie, Up the Wall. The crowd almost came alive for Perfect Strangers with the opening organ sound instantly recognisable. Another gem in the form of When A Blind Man Cries was next, then THAT song, but not before Steve teased the crowd with his guitar jukebox giving us snippets of classics such as Day Tripper, You Really Got Me and even a burst of the solo from Stairway To Heaven note for note.

After the crowd finally woke up it was time for a 'new song' - a cross between a "country song with Chinese overtones." It was of course Speed King.

Another oldie not heard for a while came in the form of Hush and the final song of the evening instantly recognisable from Ian Paice's snare was Highway Star.

Two hours and 40 minutes of classic rock. Hats off to the guys for such a tight performance and playing a tour of smaller venues. The band certainly enjoyed themselves as did I - I just wish the crowd had had the manners to show their gratitude a bit more and get off their arses and enjoy themselves. Hurry back guys and don't leave it another 20 years.

See you at Hammersmith!

[Yes!! Rasmus]

Calum Beatt

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