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Purple do the business in Cardiff

This was a show I was particularly looking forward to, not just because it was Purple, but because it was Thin Lizzy as well.

It was my 7th Purple gig, the last one being in Bristol in 2002 – and that particular show has been amazing. Could they better it?

THIN LIZZY – Brilliant. Played for 40 minutes. Good sound, all the old hits. No new songs. Started with Jailbreak, also did Suicide, Emerald, The Cowboy Song, Don’t Believe a Word, Cold Sweat, Are you Ready, Waiting for an Alibi, and of course The Boys are Back in Town.

John Sykes (guitarist) kept pointing to the ceiling as if Phil Lynott was watching from above… Scott Gorham still there too. Drummer is Tommy Aldridge, ex-Whitesnake & Black Oak Arkansas.

I thought they were an ideal opening band, especially as they were always one of my favourites anyway. Not the same, of course, without Phil Lynott (how could it be?), but still good to watch.

STYX – I knew nothing about them at all, but I have to admit they were very good. Played for one hour including an encore. A revolving keyboard was something novel!

DEEP PURPLE – Played for exactly 90 minutes, including two encores. Should perhaps have been three, (no Speed King) but they finished bang on 11pm and I would imagine that Cardiff Arena has a time limit for these events. To be honest, I had expected a little more from Purple time wise, seeing as we had 1hr 50 minutes back in Bristol in 2002.

Set list in order:
Pictures of Home (what an opener!)
Things I Never Said
Into The Fire
Strange Kind of Woman
Rapture of the Deep
Well Dressed Guitar
Lazy (absolutely superb version!)
When a Blind Man Cries
Space Truckin’
Highway Star
Smoke on the Water

Hush (excellent version)
Black Night

I had read somewhere that they were going to do the entire Machine Head album on this tour, but that clearly didn’t happen. I had hoped to hear Perfect Strangers too, but for some reason, they dropped it.

Sound-wise, there was far too much bass in the first few songs, it sounded as if Roger Glover was playing a pneumatic drill and I could barely hear Steve Morse above it, but the sound mix did improve later on. Steve’s guitar prowess is second to none. It is hard to believe that he has now been in the band longer than Ritchie!

The band all seemed to enjoy themselves – plenty of laughter and messing about on stage. You wouldn’t think most of these guys were 60-odd, especially Ian Gillan who looks much younger! Ian Paice’s one handed drum roll has to be seen to be believed too. Don Airey is well settled in the band now and he is the ideal replacement for Mr Lord.

The audience consisted of all age groups and not just us wrinkly rockers. Loads of youngsters there. Great show all round, given the three bands in question. Here’s to the next time, Purple!

As an after thought Bristol badly needs an Arena like Cardiff, but plans for ours seems to have gone all quiet lately. They’ve even taken all the adverts down for it above the railway bridge just up from Temple Meads station where the land was cleared three years ago in readiness for the Arena. Makes you wonder now if it will ever happen at all…

Dave Smale of Bristol (aged 52)

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