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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 didn´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 I´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.

Gillan´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 didn´t spoil it.

So, the other bonuses were that they played ´a blinder´ again plus we had Bernie Mardsen join them for Smoke. Always a pleasure to see Bernie play, just a pity he doesn´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!).

Let´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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