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Ireland & UK 2002 reviews  

Getting the stick at Southend

I was standing at the very front of a crowded Cliffs Pavilion last night and marvelled at the musical ability of Planets, Deep Purple's support band. A mixture of rocked-up classical songs, played with astounding ability and feeling.

The lights dimmed and Purple came onstage. Being a dyed-in-the-wool Purple fan for some 30 years and still playing the CDs from the early years, In Rock, Fireball, Machine Head, etc, I was apprehensive and excited, expecting a set to be certainly split 50/50 between new material and the classics.

The set open with Woman From Tokyo, a break from their normal opener of Highway Star. [Which they haven't opened with in six or seven years. Rasmus]

I find it difficult to put into words, but I have never seen Purple so good and tight. Ian Gillan gave such a good performance throughout with feeling and laughter. They looked like they were doing this and really enjoying it... as it should be! Without going through a set list that is very similar to the previous dates on this tour, I must say I was very surprised to see some unusual songs included. Ted The Mechanic followed WFT, one of the few songs from a recent album.

Ian Gillan astounded the audience with his exhaustive singing on Child In Time, a rarity to see this song in their set, which he carried off with true feeling. He can still do it, and do it well. The introduction of Steve Morse to replace Richie has to be looked at as a completely new direction, musically, and not as a replacement. Steve is not Richie, and never will be (and vice versa). They are two guitarists with different styles, but it is a shame that Steve has to step into the shoes of a guitarist who, along with Tony Iommi, invented the heavy riff.

Moving through the set, I was pleased to hear No One Came and Fools included, songs which generally don't get played very much. When A Blind Man Cries, as Ian Gillan said, was basically a b-side track that fitted well in last night's set, and was played and sung very well. Lazy, not heard live by me since the halcyon days of Made In Japan showed just how well Jon Lord plays.

Steve's intro to Smoke On The Water, comprising a number of other well known riff based songs from other artists, was received very well and led into a song which I had only ever heard as an encore. The audience capably sang the lyrics for Ian!!!

The set moved on for over 90 minutes, bringing the audience higher and closer to the band with excellent solos by Ian Paice, Jon Lord and Roger Glover. When was the last time anyone heard a bass solo?????

After a set over an hour and a half long, the band left and came back for the inevitable encore. Black Night and Highway Star were a very fitting finale to what I can only describe as one of the very best concerts I have ever been to.

And, I have in my sweaty palm one of Ian Paice's drum sticks!!!!!!!!!!!

Alun Priddle

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