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Wembley Arena, London, England
June 21, 2003

Highway Star
Mary Long
I'm Alone
Pictures Of Home
Speed King
Well Dressed Guitar
I've Got Your Number
Don Airey Solo
Perfect Strangers
Steve Morse Solo
Smoke On The Water
Space Truckin'

Black Night

I had a great time at Wembley last Saturday! It was the best gig I've been to for years, but please tell them to get rid of the seats next time, so I can get closer to the front - I can still hear, that can't be right!
Steve Hanscomb

The surprise highlight was the new song, "Haunted". I really like this song! It's got a nice melody, a good guitar solo, and tonight it featured an excellent performance from Gillan.
The other new song, "Got Your Number", also works well. I don't know how much it's changed from last year's prototype version ("Up the Wall") - I recognised the basic song, but this version seems to work better. I thought Up The Wall was structured a bit oddly; this version flows much better.
Apart from two new songs and one surprise from the vaults ("I'm Alone", which works so well live you wonder why they've never done it before), it was pretty much as you would expect. Everybody played well, with Gillan especially in great form throughout. Don was a bit lost in the mix a lot of the time, but when he was showcased (notably on Lazy and Hush), he played superbly. Definitely worthy of a place in the world's greatest rock band.
So, not sure what else to say...
It was... good.
David Meadows

Having been to quite a few of the previous tours we were looking forward to this one.
Lynyrd Skynyrd was just a bonus as far as we were concerned. As it turned out they were the highlight. What a brilliant set they played, and they lit the place up. For Purple it was a case of "follow that". Unfortunately, Purple didn't.
The set list, although different, was definitely nothing special. People were either just standing still or even sitting down (quite good for me as the guy two rows in front was over six foot and whenever I strayed a few inches to the left to see, the aisle police pushed me back).
The two new numbers seemed OK. It also seemed to be the "Don & Steve Show" - where was Ian's drum solo? We felt that this was a "going through the motions" show. We ended up leaving (with a lot of others) before the encores.
Oh, and the 'new programme'. It's the old one from a couple of years ago with Jon Lord replaced with Don Airey. At £10 a throw, a complete rip-off.
Overall, very disappointing.
Chris & Jackie Archer

After a more than superb rendition of Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd, we could just imagine DP backstage whispering amongst themselves "Blimey, are we going on next?"
Rest assured, a different set from the recent ones, with great showcase promotion of both Steve Morse and Don Airey (Jon Lord can never be replaced - but Don's solo was gob-smackingingly good!), Ian G was on brilliant form - except he seemed to be reading from notes the whole time (and where were the bongos - someone confiscated them?).
Ian P was just Ian P as usual (shame he didn't get a solo tho'), and Roger is just always so damn groovy.
Right - which gig do we go to next? Just can't get enough of DP.
Tricia, Belgium

Deep Purple showed they were the masters of rock last night giving an excellent performance. Playing roaring rock classics to a few Bananas from the new bunch, they held the audience in the palm of their hand.
The brilliance and skill of Steve Morse shone out like an highly illuminated Highway Star - his playing seems to get better - Steve had a few volume pedal problems and needed a little tech assistance at one
point but continued his screeching and wailing style in a totally professional manner. He also had a new guitar to show to the crowd - the same Musicman 'Steve Morse' but in Sunburst with a matching headstock!
Ian Gillan had a great night, his voice has never sounded as good in recent years - something tells me that he may give 'Child in Time' a bash again if the improvement continues!
Good banter, as always, amongst the band. It seemed Gillan was extremely happy Morsey pulled off one or two new solos in just the way he wanted.
As usual Roger Glover's bass was hard, precise, warm, flawless and friendly (All of Deep Purple seem to give back an huge amount of time and support to their fans - special tribute to Jon Lord on our meeting in Plymouth last year!).
The man at the back Mr Ian Paice showed why his perfect timing, energy, enthusiasm, skill and personality have helped the band stay at the top for so many years - He is the rock in the Purple quintet - no one does it better. We did miss the normal Paicey solo, with his one arm drum roll and seemingly effortless talent with the skins - please bring it back.
Don Airey put in a good performance although the normal keyboard/guitar duel during Speed King was not as polished, accurate, interesting and fun as when Jon Lord and Steve Morse battle - let's give it/him time though.
Yes, it was an unusual mix and order of songs - the first half of the concert seems to need a little mixing around to keep the interest flowing (new/old, rock/ballard etc) but all said it was a good night out.
I look forward to the 'Bananas' tour and maybe the reintroduction of anything 'Purpendicular' or from the abandoned 'Abandon' (I won't list - you know the ones).
Martin & Darren Wonnacott

I decided not to attend the Wembley show as I saw the band wasn't playing anything from "Purpendicular" and "Abandon" - and only include songs that I've already heard live.
I think the two excellent studio albums recorded with Steve Morse deserve to be well represented in any DEEP PURPLE show, at least a couple of songs from each.
And what about "Strange Kind Of Woman", "Maybe I'm a Leo", "Child in Time" or "Knocking at your backdoor"? These songs haven't been played for ages either.
I hope the band consider this and put on a much better show for the Bananas tour.
They're still one of the best rock bands ever.
Thanks very much,
Douglas Delgado

Gillan's voice seemed to be in pretty good shape, particularly in Space Truckin'.. he was really screaming his head off, albeit with Steve adding some backup on the guitar in case he didn't hit the notes - he did though! Space Truckin' was definitely one of the highlights of the show.
Don Airey fitted in superbly, he was a bit withdrawn last time (possibly because Jon Lord was lurking about), but tonight he contributed some really interesting / weird solos! His solo section with just him was quite interesting aswell, despite the obligatory Star Wars. He was quite buried in the mix for quite a few of the songs, which was a shame, but that may have been because of where I was sitting.
Haunted ( a new song ) didn't seem to go down hugely well - I've heard it before and so know the song (took a bit of getting used to!), but the crowd didn't seem to think it was that great, and Gillan made what seemed to me like a veiled excuse afterwards. However, the second new song "I've got your number" was fantastic, an extremely rocking song with Roger, Steve, and Don doing backing vocals (not Paicey though) - another one of the highlights of the evening. I'm Alone was also (as IG would say in a dodgy French accent..) "superb."
Lowlights? Well, occasionally the sound got a bit muddy and turned into a wall of noise, but that was only occasionally. They played a by-the-book version of Highway Star, which gets on my nerves as it's a song open for improvisation. The Machine Head version is wooden enough as it is, and they replicated it exactly. Not good.
In terms of performance, the band was almost flawless - it was very loud, and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves.. other than a few headbangers, the crowd weren't jumping about but they seemed to be appreciative of it, the atmosphere was great. It's notable that the arena was almost full - they can still draw a crowd from the look of it! Lots of younger people were also there (like myself), which is always good to see.
James Hobbs

On one of the hottest days of the year we set off early so we could grab a McDonalds before hand as my lottery ticket wasn't a winner so I couldn't afford Wembley catering. We got there to see no long queues and a welcome sign saying cameras are allowed in the venue if you weren't a budding David Bailey , much to the annoyance of my 14 year old son Ian who had been told to leave his in the car. How many times are children right ? hardly ever but I put my hands up to that one. Lets hope more groups allow this to happen.
Alan Savill - read Alan's full review

What an appallingly ragged and disappointing performance.
This was the first time I have seen Deep Purple live, despite having been a concert goer since around 1974. I was really looking forward to the gig but what a load of pretentious rubbish they played.
With a back catalogue to die for they played over-the-top keyboard solos, guitar solos including bits of Jessica and the Star Wars theme and so on. WHY???
We walked out just as Smoke on the Water was starting but that wasn't a good enough reason to stay.
David Packham

I think it is terrific that Wembley invite people to a show on receipt of a large sum of money and then charge £10.00 to park and £3.50 for a bottle of beer! What a rip off.
We waited patiently for Lynyrd Skynyrd to start thinking this would be a great warm up for the main event. On came Skynyrd, Wembley suddenly came alive. The band were connecting with the audience in a way I used to see bands do 25 years ago. It's not that the quality of the playing/singing was so great but every song was delivered with conviction and the band wanted Wembley to enjoy their performance and to get involved. And they certainly did. At many points in their set virtually everybody in the auditorium was on their feet clapping, singing, waving lighters around in time with the ballads etc etc. when Skynyrd left the stage Wembley erupted, demanding an encore and the band kept them waiting and clapping/chanting/stamping for a long time before returning to perform the inevitable Free Bird which was delivered with great passion and drama. What a brilliant set - and I'm not even a LS fan!
But if this was only a warm up, Deep Purple would surely rise to the challenge and deliver an equally storming set. Wrong. The band came on stage and I knew that Highway Star was the opener. What a damp squib. The auditorium was quiet, glued to their seats. Highway Star gave way to Mary Long. Still no connection with the crowd and no real attempt either.
It wasn't until Speed King that a handful of people rose to their feet and responded. Why? The guys on stage were performing well. Gillan in fine voice, Steve playing with his usual technical brilliance, Ian "the metronome" delivering with precision as usual, Roger pounding out the bass line and Don, well Don's performance was technically flawless as well. So the sum of these parts is a great performance then? Well no it certainly wasn't. The performance as a whole was lack lustre, was delivered in a formulaic fashion and largely failed to connect with the audience.
At one point Ian said "Thanks, you're sending down some great vibes, means a lot to us," but he must have been in a different venue because the atmosphere was distinctly subdued. [Maybe it's in his crip sheet... Rasmus]
When Purple left the stage they came back on for the encore after about 60 seconds. Good job too because many in the crowd were not asking for one.
What happened last night at Wembley? Well, I think that one band gave a total performance and made a lot of friends in the process The other band played their music extremely competently but very mechanically and predictably and disappointed many of their fans including this one. Something has to change if Deep Purple are to maintain their standing and their fan base and the message is "listen to the people who still want to see you deliver an exciting. inspiring performance and concentrate more on connecting with the audience than delivering a technically flawless but tired and uninspiring set.
Simon Smith & Rosie Kuropka

This is the loudest gig I've been to in ages this includes seeing DP at my local venue. Hope that continues.
They all played very well as usual, Ian Gillan stands out head and shoulders again. He continues to look fit and well and his vocals are superb. Think back to the eighties with him croaking with that double chin. And playing the harmonica in Lazy all dressed in white lit up with the spots looking, well all god like I suppose.
What can you say about Don. The exchanges in Speed King betwen Steve and JL just flowed sounding natural bouncing back and forth. With Don they sound a bit mechanical shall we say. But he is worthy. Steve played Happy Birthday on the guitar for him.
As for the 2 new songs the wife and I liked them. And I’m Alone was really good. It was the B-side to the Strange Kind Of woman single on the old green Harvest label. Lost my copy ages ago.
More happy memories to carry until the next time. Great show and a great end to a horrible sticky day in London.

The main problem was the crowd shame on you. A lot of people sat down during Purple's performance!
A bit too much Airey for my liking even if it was his birthday. Steve Morse was brilliant as ever but was left in front way too much.
This was very much a 'well we have to play so this is it' show. Straight forward and good cos Purple always are, but for me a lacklustre performance.
Cathy Ives

One thing I cannot fault Purple for, is their lack of ego. Any band who are happy to allow the best rock performers of all time to steal the show (not the first time Skynyrd have done this) must be applauded. Lynyrd Skynyrd were awesome, and had the crowd eating out of their hand.
Purple were very good, Skynyrd were simply the best.
Robin Collins

This was their 35th Anniversary tour - you'd think they would pull out all the stops? Wrong!
Where was Child in time, Strange kind of woman? No doubt they get fed up with playing the same songs all the time, but what they don't seem to realise is that audiences never get fed up with hearing them.
A nd why does Gillan never want to sing any of the Coverdale era songs? Imagine AC/DC not doing any Bon Scott tracks, Judas Priest not doing any Rob Halford songs. I'm sure Burn, Stormbringer and Mistreated would have all gone down a storm.
We all know what great musicians they all are, and so should have put their talents to better use. Next time I hope they leave their egos behind and play for the fans.
Clive Barrett

Generally the band seemed lethargic to the point of dis-interest. Sure - they played amazingly well but something was missing. I blame the venue - the last time I felt Purple didn't reach their own high standards was the Abandon tour at the same place.
Once again - a cabaret show with only two tracks from the current line up. As those two tracks were from the new album and had to be played anyway made the fact that nothing from Purpendicular or Abandon was played even more criminal. Steve Morse is a genuine contributor to the Purple legend but we will lose him if they continue to showcase a disproportionately Blackmore era track list.
Having said all that the two new tracks were awesome (I consider Well Dressed Guitar an 'oldie' since it has been part of the set for more than a year now). I really cannot wait for the new album - and another tour to promote it please!
Raj Kohli

Have to agree the majority that this was a performance to forget from Purple. They didn't seem interested and the set list was without any highlights.
To now find out that a couple of nights later they felt the need to revamp the set list to somewhere near decent has added insult to injury.
I will await judgement on the two new songs as they were delivered without any passion so I will wait for the cd to come out before commenting.
Overall this was the most disappointing Purple performance I have ever seen, and that's a lot of gigs.
Thank god that Lynyrd Skynyrd delivered the goods otherwise the whole evening would have been a complete waste. Proberbly not a good idea to be on the same bill as band of the calibre of LS next time. Just hope that this tour in general was a blip!!
Peter Stokes

After the LS sound problems, I was fearful about what DP would sound like.
Loud. Louder than I have heard them over the past 7 years - louder even than 1985 in Sydney. The loudest I have ever heard them. Even more impressive, the sound was clear. Not crystal clear - the keyboards kept getting lost - but a hell of a lot better than what had gone before.
Musically they were fine, and Steve does appear to be playing more DP and less Steve. The new songs rock (even though I was wondering whether they were winging it during "I got your number"). The crowd where I was were standing (except during the keyboard solo - traditionally, this seems to be "old people sitting down time").
It would be interesting to see how long it was before the encores started - but it was more than 60 seconds.
Of the two gigs Ive seen this tour (the other one was Feb 2002) this was musically the better one.
Simon Brand

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