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Brum: Morse sheer genius

So, off to Birmingham for the last night of the UK Tour. After Cardiff, could I expect any bonuses?

Well, the first was that I had a seat and so didnĀ“t have to endure Lizzy and Styx.

Downside – it was the NEC and this damn building seems to leach sound and atmosphere from any audience, but they insist on coming here so IĀ“ll have tp put up with it.

Purple came on Stage at 9:30 and opened with Pictures of Home – in other words, no variation on the Cardiff set. Never mind, they were (despite the venue) on fire – still smiling, still playing so well that at times I watched the video screens in absolute awe as each member of the band proved their versatility.

GillanĀ“s voice was still on the button; Paicey was the powerhouse he always is; Glover providing the perfect counterpoint to the fluent drums; Airey (apart from losing his temper when the keyboards failed during Hush) was able to take the Lord compositions and make them his own.

And Morse? – the man is an absolute revelation. No matter how many times I see him play, his virtuosity, humour and sheer genious complements and enhances all of the numbers. He can take a Blackmore (who?) riff or solo and pay homage to the original while totally transforming it into his own Morse code (groan!).
I have never, and I mean never, heard his solo and Well Dressed Guitar played so well. Even the Guns and Scirrosis riff didnĀ“t spoil it.

So, the other bonuses were that they played Ā“a blinderĀ“ again plus we had Bernie Mardsen join them for Smoke. Always a pleasure to see Bernie play, just a pity he doesnĀ“t release more or tour more than he does.

The end of another tour – only two visits for me this year due to work commitments (dammit!).

LetĀ“s hope that they come back soon (a la France) with a revised set list… Yes, they played a blinder, but I will yet again voice what so many fans want: a set list covering more than Mk2 and the odd Morse era is now needed to keep the fans truly happy – yes, we will stick by you through thick and thin, but listen to the people that matter, fellers!

Tom Dixon

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