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Pension off the mothballs – Milton Keynes

Purple struck it lucky with fantastic weather and an appreciative crowd. Taking the stage at sunset they stormed through an hour and half (too short as is usual nowadays) of high energy rock – 13 songs by my count – and solo spots were kept to a minimum.

Bearing in mind the diverse nature of the audience I suppose it was not surprising that they played such a predictable set, but I don’t see how they can complain about being tagged as a ‘Classic Rock’ act when 80%+ of the set included songs recorded over 30 years ago. Consequently, there was no room for Rapture highlights such as Wrong Man, Clearly Quite Absurd and Junkyard Blues although, bizarrely, they did play Things I Never Said, which wasn’t even on the European version of the CD.

That said, the band played well, a couple of surprisingly missed cues apart, and the Paice/Glover axis was on top form. A highlight was the extended and revamped Highway Star, which breathed new life into the classic. Another was a more sparse When a Blind Man Cries and a great Rapture of the Deep.

I see they’re coming to the UK next year. Hopefully, they’ll have the courage to mothball the likes of Fireball and Strange Kind of Woman and play a more adventurous set based on Morse/Airey era numbers with a few surprises thrown in.


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