[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

No spitting images, please

Being a die-hard Purple fan for 22 years now, it's difficult to write anything non-praising about the band, which I consider be the greatest rock group of all time. I have attended seven Purple shows; all in the Morse era (Mexico '94, '98 and the two Concerto shows in '00, San Antonio '01, '02 and Houston '02) and I have never left the arena with a disappointing feeling until the last Texan shows.

First of all I want to remark that I feel that a considerable part of the audience was there for the Scorpions (which I consider a great band, but their music is too commercial for me) so that was a first shortfall since that type of rock fans isn't usually very open towards an act based on musicianship and full of improvisation. I think the Texan audiences prefer to see a clown that is spitting water every minute at his drum kit, than a real master drummer - and are more want to sing along to commercial radio hits such as Big City Nights and Rock You Like A Hurricane, rather than enjoy a fine interplay between the guitar and the keyboard.

I think Purple felt the coldness of the audience reception, especially in San Antonio, and failed to connect with them. If you were there, it was difficult to realize that Purple was the headliners, considering that the Scorpions had already played and that they gave people what they wanted to hear.

However, I do have some complaints about the band, some shared by others who have posted their reviews already on THS. I can't understand why if you only have 80 minutes or less to play songs from your 30-year repertory, you go fooling around playing bits here and there of other people's dribble. You have to make the most of every minute of the show to present your own material. I also consider that the playing of bits rock anthems that precedes SOTW has gone way too far. In Selma that introduction took more than five minutes, which means they dropped other great songs such as Knocking At Your Back Door, Fireball, Space Truckin', etc. just to play extracts of songs like Sweet Child Of Mine.

I have always loved this band because of their ability to present something different every night and not just repeat their studio recordings note by note (it's the main reason why they are still alive after all these years) and not because of their clothes, personal and stage scandals, light-show, etc. and I think almost all their fans would agree with me, but musicianship is not opposed to showmanship, those abilities can complement each other nicely. If you arrive to a country where they want your lead singer to scream a little bit between songs, play more of your sing-along tunes, maybe throw some guitar picks and drum sticks at the beginning of the show and play more of your historic radio hits, rather than excellent not-so-well-known material, you just have do it, and you won't be losing your identity. I recall Gillan's words in CHOHW: "You have to learn what people like and what people don't like, otherwise you'll remain an amateur."

I think Don is an excellent keyboardist, but he is not Lord; Morse is a guitar master, but he is not Blackmore, so this incarnation of Purple has its own different sound. They have to let new material and ideas develop and drop some of the classic hits that sometimes sound a little bit odd. Just as they did when Coverdale and Hughes joined the band and produced new music that had it's own character - like Mistreated, Burn, Stormbringer, etc. Just like the band did in the Mk3 era they need to let the new material develop onstage, otherwise they'll be condemned to play Oldie But Goodie shows forever, and that's not right for such a great band. And I haven't even mentioned the excellent Purpendicular and Abandon records. To do this, maybe they will have to give up 10,000 seater arenas and package tours, and start to play, at least in the States, at smaller venues packed with core Purple fans. Maybe it isn't as profitable or as fancy as the current tour, but they won't have to play before audiences who want to hear Bon Jovi (or crap like that) and celebrate water-spitting drummers.

López de Cardenas Jorge

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