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Ireland & UK 2002 reviews  

Twelve minute stroke of pure musical genius

I'll start with the (only) bad point about the concert - the lack of Hush, one of my favourite, albeit non-album tracks.

Now on to the good points. Following a warm-up session by an up-and-coming classical rock instrumental group, the thousand or so strong crowd was revved up and ready for Purple at their deepest. And this was exactly what they were going to get.

The band opened with Woman From Tokyo, and before long they had played through their four song intro, which also included Ted The Mechanic, Mary Long and Lazy. This mixture of Purple classics readied the audience for what was, in my opinion, the highlight of the evening.

Morse and Lord combined quiet and delicate keyboards and guitaring to weave together the melodic intro of perhaps the groups most successful track ever - Child In Time. As Gillan's scream rose to a crecendo, he looked to be straining as hard as he could to maintain the high-pitched vocals, though with a little synthesised help from Morse's electric guitar and floor mounted effects pad, the song was almost as it had been twenty-five years ago during the groups infamous Made In Japan tour.

Following this twelve minute stroke of pure musical genius, Deep Purple laid down a seven song run including a mixture of some new tracks from their forthcoming album. Steve Morse entertained the crowd with his Well Dressed Guitar track, one that he had written very recently, as if announcing that he was every bit as good as Blackmore ever was, and in my opinion he was indeed every bit as good, if not better.

Following some great non-Purple classic rock riffs played by Morse with style and finesse, including Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama and Hendrix's Voodoo Child, the group resorted to some older material to close out the evening with. Smoke On The Water was the eagerly awaited classic that most of the die-hard fans must have been preparing for. Speed King was the final track and included a three minute drum solo by Ian Paice, which humourously included clapped appreciation by the audience before Paice had even finished his solo!

The band left the stage to rapturous applause and returned to even louder applause as they embarked upon their much awaited encore, of which Black Night was the first hit, taking the place of Hush from the previous concerts. Highway Star was the final track and completed what had been a hugely successful return tour for a band that has been around for over 30 years. And may their success continue for many more years to come.

The set-list was as follows:

Woman From Tokyo
Ted The Mechanic
Mary Long
Child In Time
No One Come
The Aviator
Well Dressed Guitar
Perfect Strangers
Up The Wall
When A Blind Man Cries
Smoke On The Water
Speed King

Black Night
Highway Star

Jon Collin

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