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Auckland beat Wellington

A friend and I flew up from Wellington on Thursday afternoon (after seeing Deep Purple there the night before). The venue in Auckland was a small theatre, which I think is a much better choice compared to Wellington’s Events Centre. So much more intimate and purpose built for usic so better acoustics.

We arrived in the rain at the Logan Campbell Centre well in time before Purple hit the stage but after the opening act. Certainly a different make up of punters here tonight (generally older and more ‘hardened’ compared to the Wellington crowd). Upstairs was sold out but there was still some space downstairs.

What can I say about the gig. Wellington was good but Auckland was VERY good! The sound quality was an improvement, notably clearer if not ear-splitting loud at times (especially during Morse’s guitar solo). The band seemed to really be enjoying themselves with beaming smiles all round and the usual complimentary comments to the crowd from Gillan.

There was a slight change in the set list tonight with Rapture of the Deep and Mary Long replaced early in the set with Before Time Began and Living Wreck. And further into the set Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye was replaced with Junkyard Blues.

During Smoke On The Water some crazed fan managed to jump on stage and give Ian Gillan a big hug. It took a few seconds for security to react and guide him off stage. Gillan took it all in his stride. Steve Morse’s solo part was different and longer to Wellington, perhaps more emotional sounding.

Just before the start of the encore ‘Hush’ Gillan commented ‘We found this sound under a rock’ ‘It’s off the first Deep Purple album… from 1968!’. It’s amazing how they keep playing those old classics with the same level of enthusiasm year after year.

So in reflection I think the quality of the performance outdid the previous night, however this is probably due to a better sound quality in the venue.

Hope to see the Purps back in New Zealand soon!

Ben Doyle

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