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Genuinely delighted – London

4 stars [out of 5]

The T-shirts are out tonight – if they don’t list previous tour dates of Deep Purple, they’re for Iron Maiden or AC/DC. Over the decades, these bands’ public standing has gone from lock-up yer-daughters shock to a fond nostalgia. But Deep Purple’s fan base is so dependable, despite the band having lost their guitarist and co-founder Ritchie Blackmore over a decade ago, that tonight sees them beginning a two-year world tour.

Perhaps its the breadth of their style that has served them so well. Certainly, the guitar solos are there, superbly managed by the hands of Steve Morse, but it’s the piano and organ solos that really capture the imagination. Don Airey plays his keyboards with a gorgeous lightness, sometimes delving towards honky tonk and funk, raising a laugh by leading from an epic solo into a few sneaky bars of Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner.

Like a Barbara Cartland novel, the music of Deep Purple contains a lot more build-up than climax, although Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming, with its vocal lead, reminds us that they can also do pop. Lemmy from Motorhead has said he gets so bored of singing Ace of Spades that he often changes the words, but there’s no such tricks from Ian Gillan, who seems genuinely delighted when they end their set with their classic Smoke on the Water. His whole band are incandescent; men reunited with the thing they love the most.

(c) The Guardian, Sophie Heawood



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