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Scintillated by Morse

Seeing Deep Purple for the nth time since the age of 15 (I am 52 now!) never diminishes in excitement. And this year’s NEC show was no less a scintillating experience.

Also living part-time in the USA I was not unfamiliar with Styx, who must be my favourite USA band. So, to have my favourite British and American bands on the same bill was sheer joy! As for Thin Lizzy: sorry guys, give it up. Nice to see ya, but…

Styx, however, showed how to put on a rock show. I have always been amazed that they have never been ‘bigger’ in the UK and it irks me to see and read that so many rock fans know little about them.

Mention should go to the ‘cover’ version of The Beatles; “I am the Walrus” which the good people sitting next to me quite rightly stated was “better than the original!” A word to the Styx management: promote them more in the UK – they deserve it!

Then the headliners… and well worth waiting for. Deep Purple must be the most underrated rock band in British music history. They provided a solid performance with superb musicianship and, although not having the ‘flair’ of their support act, rocked the house with a well-balanced mix of old and new Purple classics.

They finished with a driving second encore of “Black Night” (which, incidentally, put me in mind of a 35-minute version played in Birmingham Town Hall in the 70’s that put the lights down! Oh, to be young again..!).

I was disappointed only with Ian Gillan’s choice of ‘costume’ – I have grown to like his white flowing gown of previous appearances; while I do think that it is about time the truly excellent Steve Morse developed a ‘persona’ of his own and came out of his shell somewhat… he still looks like the shy newcomer – even though he must by now be Purple’s longest-serving ‘axe-man’, whose brilliance as a guitarist is second-to-none. So dress the part Steve, and shine!

Keep coming back guys. Again and again. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We love ya…!

Stephen J. Smith
Birmingham UK and New Orleans USA

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