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Wembley Arena, London, United Kingdom
November 13, 2004

I wasn't looking forward to this. I hate the cavernous, dated barn that is Wembley Arena.
The last time I saw Deep Purple, at Wembley in June 2003, they were blown apart by Lynryd Skynyrd. Then Bananas came out, and did little for me - I haven't played it much at all. So I was already drifting away, and then the very mixed reviews of the other UK shows appeared. "No passion", "cabaret act", and "boring" were just some of the comments. And one reading of the announcement that they plan to take a year off was that they'd had enough - that it was over.
So I was wondering whether it was going to be worth trekking to Wembley to see my once-favourites, perhaps for the last time? Then, a couple of days before the show, I had a load of urgent work dumped on me. The decision had been taken for me - I told my wife to give the tickets away to anyone in her office who wanted them.
Hang on - this is simply giving in, and I don't do surrender. Not for the first or last time, my wife had ignored me, so we still had the tickets. A couple of late nights broke the back of the work, and had the added bonus that the roads were dead quiet when I was driving home. So it was off to Wembley.....
We caught only the last one-and-a-half numbers from the Dean Howard band. They sounded good, melodic, intelligent.
Thunder were great fun. A lot of fans in the audience, a lot of t-shirts sold, they worked their socks off, and a great time was had by all.
Peter Frampton was excellent, in a different sort of way. No danger that his brand of soft-rock would blow DP apart, and he was becoming a wee bit tedious by the time he finished.
And so to the main event. Now listen up.
Message begins.
Deep Purple are the best band in the world.
They played an incendiary high-octane high-velocity set of astonishing energy, passion, craft and skill. They made it look so easy.
The songs from Bananas fitted in perfectly, Demon's Eye was a rare treat, and even though the youngest of the songs in the latter part of the show were nearly a third of a century old, they sounded as fresh and vital as the day they were conceived. (Well, OK, I wasn't there in the Grand Hotel, so how would I know?)
They blew me away. Absolutely fantastic. Arsenal scored 5 on the same day, but let in 4. Here it was 5-0 to Deep Purple.
I'm not going to single out any individual member or moment, because it truly was a team performance. Each one of these guys put his heart and soul into it. When the bass player is soaked in sweat at the end of a show, you know it's been no cabaret.
This band is not finished. That was not a band playing its last show. They will be back.
Memo from my wife, Nancy: Flattered though she was to hear the two DP songs which refer to a lady of her name, she has never been too impressed with these references. She wants to know if one of you once had a bad experience with one of her namesakes?
Memo to Ian Gillan: Although the female part of the audience was greatly taken by you changing outfit at the back of the stage where 95% of the crowd can't see you, us blokes were not pleased. For cryin' out loud, you're a rock star - so act like one! What is it with folding up your discarded clothes, and then carefully putting them on hangers? If you can't leave them in a crumpled heap on the floor, what chance is there for the rest of us?
Memo to the band: Thought you were very kind to the chap who clambered up to help out on keyboards for Black Night. Portly old gent, grey suit, white hair, pony-tail, beard. Steve and Rog just smiled, Ian G did an exaggerated "Who the hell are you?" mime. Don't ask me, mate, no idea.*
Memo to Ritchie Blackmore: The new Wembley Stadium has an enormous arch right across it. All you need are some computer-controlled coloured lights and you'll have the perfect place for a Rainbow reunion. You'll probably need Bill Gates to fund it, but don't let him give you any of his software.
That's all for now. My faith has been restored. Fully. Contact re-established.
Message ends.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some urgent work to finish off.
Garry Smith

I went to see them at Wembley Arena, it was fantasmical, made me orgasm.
Paul Muddle

Deep Purple gave as ever, a great solid performance. You know the set list. What more praise can you say of a bunch of seasoned pros. Gillan sang his lungs out even though he looked absolutely exhausted from the moment he walked on stage.
They did two songs in the encore and were about to walk off but, amid some confusion, they put their guitars back on, then did Black Night, only to reveal that Jon Lord was in town and stood behind the Hammond with Don. Now, I got more pleasure from Jon's three minutes than the whole of Don's performance.
During Speed Kings organ/guitar duel Don never made eye contact with Steve once. There just seems to be no chemistry at all! Don flies up and down the scale with great speed, but no finesse or melody.
Jon did a mini duel with Steve, like it's supposed to happen in Speed King. It was brief but the magic and chemistry were there, and you could hear the notes from the Hammond. This isn't necessarily a bad thing to say about Don. While Ritchie is replaceable with the ever smiling guitar genius that is Steve Morse, I don't think anyone plays rock/blues Hammond on the planet like Jon Lord. If you look up God in the dictionary it says “see Jon Lord.”
I'm also not too keen on the sound of Roger's bass. I'm no expert, it just sounds a tad funky, as if the strings are too tight. Frampton's bass players sound was real heavy.
It was a nice change to have good sound on all the bands playing.
Great to see Purple again. We had a great time, top entertainment. If you love Steve's playing buy the Living Loud DVD - you won't be disappointed. And please Don, no more synth it's not the 80's.
Kurt, Bruce and Spotty Dog
P.S. I could see Paul Mann and Bruce Payne in the wings. And what a great portion of chips we had before and after the show. [Need to know or nice to know? Rasmus]

Absolutely stunning. Having asked nicely, on behalf of my son, whether there was any chance that we might get Morse's signature guitar signed by the band if we brought it over, we were presented with backstage passes and what a treat that was.
Having bought Frampton Comes Alive the first time around (and the 25th Anniversary edition on CD a couple of years ago) I was looking forward to seeing Peter Frampton and he was terrific - a beautiful balance of old and new stuff made for a great but sadly too short set.
"Impossible to follow," I thought but trust Deep Purple to defy the odds. The numbers from Bananas moulded in perfectly with older stuff - it was just a shame that there was not enough time for Lazy or Sometimes - but their absence was more than made up by Jon Lord appearing for the final encore.
Bring on the next tour.
Graeme McKerrell

Very good show!
A few minutes earlier than planned Deep Purple slipped on stage and into "Silver Tongue" and excellent opener. The sound in the aircraft hangar was much better than expected/normal and the band tore on through the set.
Gillan sat on the stage to dedicate Contact Lost to Emlyn Hughes as well as the Challenger crew. This was followed by The Well Dressed Guitar, not one of my favourites but it always seems to go down well with most others.
Before we realised it we were into Smoke and then it seemed that they were off and back for the encore(s).
Then came the surprise, Jon Lord joined them for a third encore Black Night. This was the icing on the cake!
So all in all a pretty good performance, enjoyed by the greater majority.
However, after they have rested and hopefully recorded a new album, the band should seriously consider the wisdom of taking three support acts with them. Yes, it was slickly handled and everyone started and finished pretty much on time, but frankly there was not enough Deep Purple. One support act and two hours or so of Purple I think would keep everybody happy - as would a tour of the smaller venues in and around London.
How about it lads?
Thanks again for another great night.
Ian Surridge

My wife and I thought this was the best DP gig we had been too. We paid extra for middle row four tickets and it was worth it to see and be near the band. Next time we will take the kids.
The great set could have been longer and I would have liked a longer drum solo by Ian, but I did manage to catch one of his sticks.
All the support acts were good.
Looking forward to the next tour which we will catch in Europe for a change.
Keep going lads.

Wow. I'm still in shock. I usually hate seeing anyone at the Wembley Arena because it is so lacking in atmosphere but this was a concert where any more atmosphere and the roof would have broke free.
Thunder got the crowd going, Peter Frampton brought back memories of listening to a certain album on a hot summer's night with a bottle of wine. His guitar style is still as refreshing as it was 30 years ago and when he left the stage, everything was really set up for some fireworks.
And fireworks we got. Deep Purple were a lot crisper than their last Wembley performance where I thought they were going through the motions a bit - a rare comment for a band that still has boundless energy.
Instead, everything was so tight and controlled that it was like being hit with buckets of adrenaline when ever they played. Don Airey has settled in and brings differences and nuances that have made the band evolve yet again. The new material from Bananas fitted in perfectly with the old material and it didn't matter what they played.
Shock of the night was feeling my chest vibrating from the bass notes from Don's solo. I've heard bass before but that was unreal.
Steve's Contact Lost was nothing short of miraculous and you could feel the emotion pouring out of his guitar.
The whole evening was wrapped up when Jon Lord made a guest appearance at the end during an impromptu Black Night extra encore. The camaraderie was still there and Jon hasn't lost his touch either.
All in all, a great night. No, make that an exceptional night.
Steve Heath

You can't have it all - or can you?
Off we go to the familiar but nevertheless horrible Wembley Arena hoping we will see DP at their best after the disappointments of summer 2003.
Deep Purple strode onto the stage and started up with Silver Tongue from Bananas. From the outset it was evident that the band were in a different frame of mind than their last Wembley appearance. Great energy, great set in which they very successfully blended classics with Bananas numbers (please keep Bananas numbers in the live set) and great vocals from Ian who seemed to be especially enjoying himself on stage and a great response from the Wembley crowd. Good lights too!
The only downer was the overall sound which for a loud band like DP must be almost impossible to control in this aircraft hanger. Get big Ian's sound right and Steve disappears in the mix, bring little Ian forward and Roger's sound turns to mud. Oh well, you cant have it all I suppose, or can you? On came the great Jon Lord for an extra encore rendition of Black Night. Wonderful end to a great night!
A small request. Please can we see the band in some smaller venues next year. You just cant beat the 2-3000 seaters for sound quality and atmosphere.
Simon Smith and Rosie Kuropka

Let’s start with the conclusion: it was a great night out and Purple surpassed themselves. Wembley’s not the best venue for sound quality, but somehow, someone has got their act together and the quality wasn’t as grim as it usually is there.
Onto the real part of the evening, and first the music. For me, the best part of the act was the sheer variety of material the band played - none of the one-album repertoire but an excellent mix from most eras. A few tracks from Bananas - well it is the Bananas tour! Some good old stuff - Woman from Tokyo, Highway Star, Space Truckin', and of course Smoke on the Water. A welcome appearance of Demon’s Eye - never thought I’d see that live. Speed King, Hush, and an excellent Steve Morse showcase of Contact Lost and The Well Dressed Guitar - never get tired of hearing and seeing that live. Thought we might have had a couple from Burn as they’ve just released the 30th anniversary remaster (can you believe it) but it looks like the band didn’t think so.
Onto the people. Ian Gillan was as good as ever - I thought a bit less chat than usual - except one intro that was spoiled by some inconsiderate gits who all but drowned him out as he tried to tell us about the reasons behind Contact Lost, and dedicate it to the memory of Emlyn Hughes. Have some respect guys.
Roger Glover - great bass solo - don’t remember seeing this done so well if at all before. Ian Paice - no solo but several spotlight sessions - pounding away as well as ever, and now the only original band member left. Don Airey - some great stuff in his spotlight sessions as he teased us with snatches of familiar music before moving on to another piece.
And of course Steve Morse. What can I say? The man deserves sainthood, if not to be a minor deity, he’s that good. What he can’t make that guitar do is nobody’s business. And to top it all, a quick burst from Jon Lord.
‘Time for just one more,’ said Ian, and at the end of that number many of the audience were out of their seats and away down the exits to beat the car park rush. They missed one of the evening’s highlights, another number and when the spotlight went on the keyboards, Don Airey’s standing back and Jon Lord’s giving it welly. More power to the man - good to see him back with the band, even if it’s for just a few minutes. He appeared to take even them by surprise.
Three biggest downs? Merchandise stalls that had run out of certain shirts/sizes by 6.30pm. Piss poor beer at £3 a pint. Half an hour to get about thirty yards out of the car park at the end and the bomb-site of a road in.
Three biggest ups? The set list. A band that appears to be enjoying themselves. Jon Lord’s reappearance. Steve Morse.
A good evening - one of the best.
Andy Croyle

A fantastic entrance by Deep Purple. The whole auditorium was on their feet and rocked throughout.
A blinding performance from Gillan much fitter and leaner than last year. Roger Glover looked liked he'd had a pep up preshow too. Paicey good but a bit tired. Steve Morse was not at his best until Jon Lord made a show. Don Airey did his perfomance adequately.
The arrival of Jon Lord was unexpected, made more exciting by the fact that the band (apart from Paicey) didn't realise at first.
My faves were Highway Star and Speed King with the added Black Night. A late finish for Wembley.
Another spot on show from the boys... keep rocking.
Thank you.
Cathy Ives

Was it worth it? Schlepping to the frozen wastes of north London, with no tubes running and crowded replacement buses... The best part of £35 for a ticket that is a quarter mile from the stage... £3.00 for a pint of urine beer... £4.00 for a cold hot dog...
Yes it was. I missed Thunder and couldn't be arsed with Frampton, but Purple were amazing. Much better atmosphere than last time, mainly because Gillan seemed to give a toss and sang like an angel for 95% of the gig. Paicey was class, as ever, the pick of the bunch.
Lord showing up was a bonus and it was even better to see the drongos heading for the exit early turning round and realising they had shot their bolts too soon.
Lows: arseholes shouting during the intro to Contact Lost; boring keyboard solo; not enough drums; mechanical, perfunctory guitar; Wembley itself.
Highs: the girls dancing near the mixing desk (schwing!); My Sweet Lord; Paice; Woman from Tokyo and Demon's Eye; around 8000 people turning up for a Purple gig.
Chris Scrivener

My third time at a Deep Purple gig. They've been my favourite band since I was 14 and now I'm 47 - and only managed three gigs!
Over the evening we were treated to a whole range of music from Demon's Eye to Contact Lost. From where we were (sadly,towards the back) it wasn't the same involvement that I had felt two years ago at Hammersmith, but we still had a great time.
At the beginning I was afraid that Ian Gillan was saving his voice as he was quiet, but the old Gillan magic gradually built up and by the encores he was screaming as good as always and, incidentally, is still the sexiest man in rock music.
Three encores - Speed King, Hush and then Black Night. Some people around us had left after Speed King. Pity for them as they missed the arrival on stage of the wonderful Jon Lord for a bit of ivory tinkling in Black Night.
Roger was the last to leave the stage and I felt a bit choked and hope that this will not be the last time I see this wonderful group who have meant so much to me.
If you can get a ticket for the remaining dates ... Go!
Mary Throssell

My second Deep Purple gig - first one was Hammersmith in Sept 2002. Both great shows, this one was a very different experience to the last one.
Purple hit the stage at around 9.20, and what followed was a loud, powerful performance, with Ian Gillan in particularly good form. The newer Bananas numbers seemed to go down well and fitted in easily with the older classics.
Steve Morse's solo was'nt too long (nor was Don Airey's) , which for the most part helped keep the pace up and The Well Dressed Guitar got a particularly good response from the audience. At least two (or was it three?) encores, and Jon Lord's appearance during Black Night simply added a nice surprise to the end of the show.
Missed not having Ian Paice's drum solo (this was jaw dropping at Hammersmith) but if he wasn't feeling 100 per cent, he still did a great job at this show.
Also good to see a broad age ranged audience who for the most part seemed to be enjoying themselves. I think that this performance was overall more powerful than emotional, (the emotion in a song like Sometimes I feel Like Screaming was amazing on, for instance, the Perihelion DVD), but Purple have moved on to a different creative period now, with the release of the new album. Can't say wether this period is better or worse than the last one, just different.
Thanks again Deep Purple, still the greatest rock band on the planet!

Richard Barnes

What a fantastic Purple weekend. It started with the drive up from Cardiff on Friday and pulling into Heston Services and guess who was in the car park? Jon Lord. What are the chances of that?
I had never met him but walked up to him as he was getting into his car. Mentioned Purple's gig the following day and asked if he was going. He said no, all good things must come to an end. We said goodbye and I left just wondering.
As you know, he did turn up and did the final of three encores, Black Night, and I met him again getting into his car after the gig. He said hello and was warm and friendly and signed my Concerto DVD.
I got to meet the band backstage at both gigs although Ian Paice never came back at either.
Steve Morse mentioned the band are getting in the studio in February 2005, but to date nothing is written. Ian said he was loving every minute of it now and had never felt better.
Don mentioned three keyboards had blown up at the Cardiff gig hence the omission of the Star Wars bit. [Some guys have all the luck. Rasmus]
Anyway, on to the show itself.
The set remains exactly the same as other reviews with stunning performances from Steve who relishes the opportunity given.
These Hanger type arenas never seem to be sound friendly to any band but the mix was clear from where I was in row 23 of the front blocks. Apart from an error in Woman from Tokyo when Roger seemed to change early the set was flawless. Great stories from Ian. What is a woman's perdunkel then, Ian?
Tight solid rhythm with the usual splendid interchanges that are reminiscent between Lord and Morse now adequately filled by Don 'Star Wars' Airey who added Maybe It's Because I'm A Londoner to his musical qualude of ditties.
I wish Ian would bring back the bongoes instead of moon sliding in Perfect Strangers - and where is the harmonica these days, Ian?
This band is just getting better every time I see them but I would prefer to cut the support acts to one and let Purple rock for two hours instead of 1hr 30min.
The encores were Speed King which was the tightest I've seen to date and Hush. Then just when you thought it was safe Ian called Steve Morse back and told the others to start Black Night- and then he appeared. Good Lord! The man I had met 24 hrs earlier in a service station and the epitomy of Hammond rock. Jon 'The Hammond God' appeared to close the show with a fantastic note for note duet with Steve Morse.
Backstage after both Don and Roger mentioned they had no idea Jon was coming on. I'm glad I went and so were the thousands who stayed. Thank you very much, Mr Lord.
The night air was cold outside but my inner ears had been warmed by the greatest rock band this planet is ever likely to see!
Dave Bonner

The gig started on time, but I think there were too many supports. Two would be enough.
When Purple entered the stage, the audience stood up and got crazy. English people love them so much! They didn't want to sit down until the end of the show.
It was very kind of them to keep silence during the Contact Lost. Steve must have been happy, I'm sure.
His guitar play was moving, as usual. In general, the band's condition was excellent and they gave us some surprises. The first one was Demon's Eye. Very good performance, although Ian forgot some lines of the lyrics. But his voice was unusual. Everybody wanted to dance. Those seats were real obstacles indeed! We couldn't dance to the hilt. But we shouted and sang every song.
The scenery wasn't very interesting - banana trees - but the lights were awesome, especially during Perfect Strangers. Not only green, but also white and blue lightnings were dancing all over the scene.
As for two songs - Knocking at Your Back Door and Perfect Strangers - I think their endings sounded quite false. I'd like to suggest some changes here. What about some guitar or organ solo, and then a slight passage to the next song?
Unfortunately, the show couldn't continue. It's a pity. I had the time of my life. Happily, the band played three encores.
Two first ones were played without surprises, but the third one was like a thunder. Wow! Two fellows at the keyboard? Oh, yes! Jon Lord! What a surprise indeed! Jon and Don together! I think nobody expected that.
I thought I'd never see Jon Lord with Purple live. And I did. What a pleasure. It was very kind of you, Mr. Lord. It was very interesting to hear two best keyboard players together. Many thanks!
Now I wonder what else I'll see on 16th November. As I'm in England, I'm going to be at another gig. Why not? Maybe Jon will come to see us again...
Thanks, Ian, Jon, Don, Paicey, Roger, Steve...
See you in Brighton!
Joanna Ostrowiecka

Friday night, no sleep, anticipation overriding the system. Same feelings appearing like the fist time I saw them a few years ago back home in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Saturday - cannot stay still. Traffic to the Arena is mild. Couple of beers in and we are ready. It was very pleasant to see people of my own age (20) and younger paying their respects to the masters.
The whole arena stood up to honor the legends of hard rock.
The band looked fresh, Glover and Paice playing as tightly as ever, Morse and Airey playing in the Deep Purple keyboard-guitar manner, and Gillan sounding excactly the way he did back in the Perfect strangers era. Knocking At Your Back Door and Perfect Strangers also featured in the show, at which point the crowd went mad. One could observe a few small patches of young blood having a ball, standing up, jumping around and swinging their heads. The atmosphere was really warm - like seeing an old buddy after a long time and I believe the band realised that.
Smoke on the Water had all ages banging their heads. Speed King featured a fantastic improvisation part from Morse and Airey. Airey's solo part really got the fans enthused with some wall shaking sound effects.
The night closed with an unexpected surprise - Jon Lord! They played Black Night.
What a night! Got back home at 1am and couldn't stop thinking about the concert, put on Machine Head and listened to Maybe I'm a Leo and Pictures of Home - no sleeping that night.
Marios Hatzopoulos


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