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Enjoyably Paicey – Oslo

I live in the UK, but have traveled to the Oslo Spektrum twice now to see Purple. I’m not great at remembering setlists, but as far as I remember, it was identical to the one already listed for the Copenhagen concert, with the exception of Hush being replaced by Speed king.

Apart from a few problems with Ian Gillan’s microphone on the first song, everything seemed to run perfectly. The lighting is much better than on tours of recent times. Two large screens were also provided, one at each side of the stage. These were used to great effect to show close ups during solo spots. I found them particularly useful during Don Aireys solo spots.

One thing that did surprise me very much was how well the new material from ROTD was when performed live. I think the band has strived long and hard over recent years to create new material that can match the old classics when performed live. Personally, I feel that they have finally achieved that with the ROTD material. With the ROTD album having longer tracks, more instrumental breaks and those great hooks, it all transfers onto stage in a classic Deep Purple way, which I think will push all the right buttons for most hardened Deep Purple fans and newcomers alike.

The performance was to the usual high standard with all band members playing with great energy, enjoyment and skill. However, despite being fairly far back in the hall, the amplification seemed to be much louder than previous Purple concerts. The result of that was that Gillan’s voice and Morse’s guitar seemed a bit distorted at times as the amplification (or my eardrums) were pushed to the limit of their capabilities.

I’m a huge fan of Jon Lord, and had left concerts over the past few years feeling, like many others, that Don Airey is very good but it’s just not the same as it was with Jon. However, I felt more of an acceptance for Don after Sunday night. He played in a manner that showed he has firmly bedded in and is contributing a significant amount to the overall sound, performance and character of the band. He is clearly a man of great talent and is gaining the respect of many as time passes. My only small gripe is that he sometimes gets a much lighter sound out of the Hammond, when in fact, I’m expecting something with a bit more ‘gravitas’ as Jon Lord would say. It’s usually evident in the last keyboard instrumental break in Perfect Strangers. Anyway, a small point, he is doing a great job.

The man I usually have my eyes on during a Purple gig is Ian Paice. There are few drummers around that can match the skill and speed of Paicey, he alone is worth buying a ticket for. The seating is very steeply banked in the Spektrum, so I got a great view looking down on top of his arms without any obstruction from the drum kit. He is obviously enjoying playing the new rhythms he has laid down on the ROTD tracks such as Before Time Began and Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye. Whether old or new material, his work rate was very high and he put on a great show. The icing on the cake for me was the re-introduction on this tour of a short drum solo including his one handed drum roll. If I had to pick a man of the night from the bands performance, then Paicey would get my vote for sure.

At around 2 hours, the set was longer than that of the past few tours. The band energy levels were very high to the point where you were left wondering if they will be able to maintain that for the duration of the two year tour that lies ahead of them. They have in the past, so I’m sure they will this time, which is why I won’t have any hesitation in buying a ticket when the UK leg of the tour is announced. My advice to anyone is to buy a ticket for this tour, I can’t imagine anyone being disappointed after seeing how good the show was on Sunday night.

Chris Bell

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