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One to remember in Nottingham

Fistly to set the scene of what DP were up against on the night. Due to the venue misinforming me and my mate about start times of the bands, we missed all but the last three songs of Thin Lizzy so I can’t really judge. It sounded from the crowd response that they’d had a tough time getting the part started. Last time I saw Mendoza and Aldridge playing together was in Whitesnake so it really looks like a covers band I’m afraid.

Then the atmosphere really took a nose-dive. There was some major failure in monitoring (so I was told) during the break between Lizzy and Styx. Took about an hour to fix (crowd were slow hand-clapping at one point), DP were obviously locked in to a particular start time which meant that Styx had to come on, perform three songs and walk off. They were apologetic and looked embarassed by the whole thing and I wouldn’t like to have been backstage with their tech crew after the show.

A shame as I’d seen Styx in Nottingham a couple of years ago and they were outstanding.

And so on to our heroes. Maybe they had been told about the earlier screw-up and wanted to give a bit extra in their performance or it was just one of those nights but it was one of the best DP gigs I’ve ever seen (there have been quite a lot) since my first in the 80’s.

I’m not one for scribbling down set lists so I looked back at the last few reviewed here and last night’s basically fell in line with that. One song that was obvious by it’s absence however was Perfect Strangers. I think they may have had to cut the set slightly due to the set timings going all to cock previously. I can’t recall the last time I saw them when it wasn’t played, and I missed it a bit.

But the rest of the performance was immaculate, everything seemed to just work. Didn’t realise that The Battle Rages On had come back, it gives a dose of menace to the set, something a little darker to counter the happy singalong stuff that songs like Black Night and Hush have become. Otherwise it is still a very Machine Head-laden set (Smoke of course, Lazy, Highway Star, Pictures of Home, Space Truckin’, Blind Man).

Lots of albums now get no representation. I wouldn’t have expected anything from Bananas, they toured with that all over the UK a few years back but now there’s nothing from Purpendicular either, along with Abandon, Perfect Strangers (maybe only for this show?) and The House Of Blue Light.

Gillan was singing better than he has for the last couple of times I’ve seen them. I saw them at Milton Keynes las summer and they looked jaded and a little lacklustre. Tonight the fire was there again and they really looked into it. Steve is always a joy to watch but tonight he just ripped into things and it all came off.

Don seems very much at home, he was even mingling in the crowd after Thin Lizzy were on. The engine room of Rog and IP did everything expected of them. The one stick drum roll still looks impressive.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable end to the night’s entertainment. If this ends up as my last DP show at least it’s one to remember.

Kevin Bailey

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