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Personal report from Yekaterinburg

The event I have been waiting for for two years happened. Deep Purple came to Yekaterinburg again.

We were lucky that the band arrived on the day before the show, on Sunday, the 15th of October. So they were not in a hurry and had some more free time than they usually have in tours. My dad, his friend, my sister Irina and I came to the hotel where the band was going to stay. We met Deep Purple there when they’ve just arrived.

The band was in Yekaterinburg two times before, in 2002 and 2004, and I met them and was at their show both times. Therefore when I met them this time Don Airey recognized me, which was really amazing. We greeted each other like old friends. I gave him some photos from the last meeting. At the same time Irina greeted Ian Gillan, who was also very nice and kind to her.

Then we met Roger Glover and Steve Morse. I gave them photos too and Irina presented to Steve a picture she drew herself with the image of a wolf (we can often see wolves on Steve’s t-shirts and so on). We took some photos with them again, as Roger Glover said “for the next time”.

After this short meeting the musicians checked in the hotel. Later on they went to the lobby a few times and we had a great chance to speak to them. First one who approached us was Roger Glover. He came and said that he has some presents for us and gave us postcards with his photo. We asked if he could sign them, and he said “I can do that”, taking his pen he had in his pocket.

So he sat on the sit where we were sitting in the lobby and asked us to tell him our names to write them on the card to each of us. That was very nice of him. Thank you, Roger. After that we had a very interesting and long conversation with him. We had rock encyclopedia with us which we give to every band we meet to sign the page with the discography of this band. Don’t know why, but we didn’t have autographs of Deep Purple members there yet.

So first of all we asked Roger to sign the page with Deep Purple’s discography. Next we asked Roger to sign the pages with the bands he have been playing in or the bands he produced. So we marked a few more pages we wanted him to sign (like Rainbow, Nazareth and some others). It captured Roger a lot and he began to look for other bands he was working with. In particular he signed the page with Judas Priest (he produced the album Sin After Sin) and Michael Schenker Group (he produced the album The Michael Schenker Group), and some others.

At the same time we had an exciting conversation. For example, Roger said that he designed the cover of Fireball album. He also said that he knew George Harrison very well and looked like John Lennon when he was young. Also he told us that a few weeks ago he met Jon Lord at his house and they had some tea together. It was a big pleasure to talk to Mr. Glover. He is a very open, kind and energetic person.

Very soon after we talked to Roger Glover, Steve Morse came downstairs to the lobby. So we took a chance to chat to him a bit too. He also signed Deep Purple’s page in the encyclopedia and the page with Kansas. He played with Kansas at the albums named Power (1986) and In The Spirit Of Things (1988). I also asked him to give his autograph on the covers of a couple of albums of Steve Morse Band and Living Loud. He was surprised that I am interested in his other music too.

Apart from music we were talking about his family. He showed us the picture of one of his sons and told us that he is playing guitar too. Steve teaches him. He said he is a very talented young man. Maybe we will hear about him sometime. It was very nice to talk to Steve again in such informal situation. But as he was a bit busy, we didn’t keep him very long talking to us.

A bit later Don Airey came out. He approached us as we arranged to meet later in the lobby with him. We also asked him to sign our encyclopedia which took him quite a long time too as he took part in so many bands and projects. [He must have signed every page in your book! 😉 Rasmus]

After talking a bit with him and the other fans my sister and I joined Don in the café and drank a cup of tea with him. It was very nice of him to invite us. We were talking about many different things. Don told us that he is working at his new concept album at the moment. He said that he will continue his work after he come back home from Russia.

On the next day my sister and I came to the hotel in the afternoon again. We met Don Airey again. At that time he told us that in St Petersburg (the last Russian city in the tour) famous Austrian-Russian violin player would join the band during Rapture of the Deep song. I was very excited about that, though I was not going to go to St Petersburg and couldn’t see it. Later after St Petersburg’s show I’ve heard that Deep Purple played two songs with her: Rapture of the Deep, as Don Airey said, and Black Night at the end of the gig. That was really something new. It’s a pity I couldn’t see it…

At 4 pm Don Airey and Ian Paice went to the concert hall for the sound check. My sister and I had a great opportunity to go with them. We saw how Don was rehearsing wearing headphones. It was an important moment. As always Don was going to play something local in his solo. One of the journalists and a big fan of Deep Purple who followed the band on their tour gave him a score of the local Urals song called “Uralskaya ryabinyshka” earlier. Don was also given a CD of this and a couple of other songs by his fan from Yekaterinburg. Later he played exactly this song at the gig. The crowd was elated.

Just before the show my family (mum, dad, two sisters and I) and some other people, including people from the local parliament who love Deep Purple gave them some presents. They were given vodka “Deep Purple” made especially for them, and we gave them handmade glasses cut from the Urals stone. After this ceremony we took a picture with the whole band and they hurried to the stage. The audience was already waiting for them.

The concert
There are only a few things I want to say about the show. My family and I were standing just in front of the stage on the side of Steve Morse, so we could hear only his guitar best of all. We could hardly hear Ian Gillan’s voice, which was a pity. It was also very difficult to hear the rest of the musician’s instruments. Some people told us that the best place to hear the gig was the middle of the concert hall where the sound was balanced. I know that the same thing was in the other cities, so I hope the sound tech will do something with it in the next tours.

Here is the set list of the gig:

Pictures Of Home
Things I Never Said
Into The Fire
Strange Kind Of Woman
Rapture Of The Deep
Wrong Man
Steve Morse guitar solo
Well Dressed Guitar
When A Blind Man Cries
Don Airey solo
Perfect Strangers
Space Truckin’
Highway Star
Smoke On The Water

Black Night

We were glad to hear both the new songs and the old great hits. I wish I could hear Clearly Quite Absurd live, as I love this song very much.

Ian Gillan was in a very good shape. He kept a good feedback with the audience. Unfortunately I can’t say anything about his singing as I almost couldn’t hear him…

I was impressed by Steve Morse’s solo. I enjoyed every sound of his guitar. As always he played a part from Stairway to Heaven and some of his music.

Don Airey’s solo was great too. I can’t stop admire his playing. This time he didn’t play the theme from The Star Wars, but as always he played some classics and I think a couple of chords from Mr. Crowley and, of course, the Urals national song I was talking about.

Roger Glover was as always cheerful and funny. It’s a pleasure to see how he works.

Ian Paice’s playing was incredible as usual. His technique is still amazing.

The interesting thing was that when the gig was just finished Ian Gillan very quickly put on his shoes and went directly to the hotel, so no one could see him.

After the gig my two sisters Irina and Yana and I went to the hotel to meet the musicians again. We had a great opportunity to join them in the bar. Ian Gillan and Ian Paice came to the bar earlier than we, so they and managers were sitting a little bit away from us. Steve Morse went to sleep after the gig.

As before, we had very exciting conversations with Roger Glover and Don Airey. We were speaking about music, arts and many other things. My sister Yana (a designer, who likes to paint and draw) and Roger (who is a wonderful artist too) held a little drawing competition where my sister won as Mr. Glover said. That was so much fun. We spent an unforgettable night out with Deep Purple.

On the next day I came to the hotel again to say goodbye to the band. It was quite a sad moment for me, as I spent a few wonderful days with these very kind and outstanding people. I hope it was not the last time when Deep Purple came to Yekaterinburg and I’ll see their live show again.

Thanks a lot for being such a wonderful people who make other’s people life happier.

Julia Akhmetshina

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