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Steve, the smiling guitar god

Because the other performers at the festival did not interest us at all (Isabelle A, Bart Peeters, Eddy Grant,…) and the Purple show would only start at 23:00, we left sunny Bruges rather late, around 18:30. Due to the returning tourists heading inland from the coast it took us a while to arrive in Tienen.

By huge chance we found a great – free – parking space only 200 meter away from the market square where the festival took place. After changing our ridiculous big tickets (A4) for a wrist thingy, we took a stroll around the square, looking at the pubs (looking for Johan’s favourite brand of beer) and at the young crowd, most were younger than we are used to see at a Deep Purple gig.

With it’s own advantages: thanks to the great weather the view was nicer; although the forecast was not very good: showers were predicted, and this part of Belgium even had some flooding. We even did not pay any attention to which ever band that was playing on stage.

After a while we found us a café where they had a bigger choice than the ordinary pils beers, only to find out that we had to drink our Duvel and Trappist beer in a plastic cup. Disgusting!!! In Belgium every beer (we have over 750 sorts!) has it’s own glass.

The music they played was good: Deep Purple, Golden Earring, Rainbow, and the likes. But the volume was way too low, one had to make an effort to hear some music. So we took a hike to the pub next door. And that was more like it: a hard rock café (not the “real” one!) with beer served in a bottle, and loud music (Deep Purple, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Black Label Society, Whitesnake,…).

To understand each other, we even had to shout. However, when they played Slayer, Throwdown,… I felt too old (I just turned 50, normally I feel like a thirty-something): much too heavy for me and without “real” singing. We spend rather a long time in that pub, once in a while I had a soft drink, because I “drink, don’t drive”! (kind of).

Around 22:15 while Johan had yet another beer, I went back to the festival site; we almost always split up during concerts, to meet afterwards front stage. As always, I bought a t-shirt, this time it was a difficult choice: they all looked nice; the girl behind the counter helped me by choosing one . My wife would be very pleased: yet another Purple t-shirt to my already huge collection! I proudly was wearing my Deep Purple Hub t-shirt (I wanted to wear my Korean Deep Purple t-shirt, but I suspect that my wife washed it too hot – or could it be possible, being a head chef, that I have gained a little weight over the years?)

Although I was quite a distance away from stage (I guess 60 m. As a rule I am in the front rows), I found a good place in front of the TV camera to enjoy the show. Because of the crowd there was almost no room to move, to take pictures or to write. Normally when people see me taking pictures and making notes at a gig, they move over a bit, so I have ample room to do all this things. And yes, while taking notes and so, I still enjoy the concert a lot!
Unexpectedly, at 22:46 Deep Purple already was on stage! Quarter of an hour too soon, but we weren’t complaining, not at all.

The first 3 songs were, as usual,- all performed in one go (Fireball, Into the Fire, SKOW) and, as usual, played rather routinely.
During Ian’s introduction of the next song:

“It is also the title of our new record” someone shouted “Rapture of the Deep”. Ian replied with: “I did not know you were coming.”

By now I was sitting on the fence between the camera and behind me, so I easily could look over people’s head in front of me, however after a while my bum was hurting, as a consequence the rest of the night I was on and off the balustrade. “And now, without further ado I want to introduce Steve Morse”.

Who played a lovely intro to SIFLS. The elder man next to me got tired of sitting on the fence, jumped off, turned his back to the stage, smoked a cigarette and moved oh so subtle to the music. At one moment during the gig, Ian spoke some French words.

Unexpectedly… a big surprise (in opposite to my normal behaviour I had not read any reviews prior to this concert): they played Wring That Neck, and although I am not a huge fan of this song (too jazzy for me; I even disliked it when we were at the London Royal Albert Hall Concerto, 1999) it was great to hear it again. They used it as an intro to The Well Dressed Guitar. Even though most of the audience never heard it before, they liked a lot! “Yeah oh yeah.”

The Battle Rages On. I did not notice anything wrong with this one, but Ian said: “there is always someone who messed it up: Don Airey! I am sorry, I should not have said that.”

His solo was a goodie, a tad more different than his normal one. Perfect Strangers was as usual: grand. However, I still and always will miss the fantastic green laser show they did during the 80’s. Furthermore I will, until the end of time, be connecting this song with 1984 when I read the newspaper that Deep Purple would reform!

“I don’t know if you have noticed it, but there is a split in the sky. It will be gone in the morning.” Space Truckin’. During this one it started to drizzle lightly, I was getting worried because of the shower prediction. Space Truckin’ was a treat, but, as always, much too short. By this time the audience really was awakened, it also was more difficult to take pictures because now the fence was shaking due to the raving masse.

I have known them doing better intro’s to Highway Star. The last years Steve did a swell long intro to this one. So good I often re-listen it over and over again, when playing a bootleg in my car. Maybe he shortened it because this is a festival? Yesterday in Köln they did 1 more song (Mary Long), today there is no drum solo, nevertheless they only shortened the show about 8 minutes. Yep, I already have the bootleg!

A too short intro to the crowd pleaser Smoke on the Water. Without any of his known riff parade. I like the ‘awful noise’ Don nowadays makes when Ian’s sings the lines about ‘the gambling house, it died with an awful sound’. My neighbour thought they started Child in Time! Which reminds me of a colleague at work who claims to be a fan of Deep Purple, he especially likes Stairway to Heaven!!!!

At 23:57 the first part was over, quickly followed by Hush. Part of the intro played by Don Airey was a short “Happy Birthday”. Dunno why or for whom. Black Night was powerful and great, but without drum solo, pity people here could not see his famous one armed solo. At 00:11, It all was over much too soon.

I had the impression everybody was pleased to see and hear the legendary Deep Purple, I heard a lot of good comments. This is one positive part of doing festivals: they always gain new fans. I’ve seen them a few times performing at festivals, and almost every time people are in disbelieve that these old rockers are as good as they are.

And everybody was, on excellent form indeed: Big Ian singing like a rock star (although he can’t reach the high notes no more in Child in Time, but I don’t blame him for that (hey, remember In Concert 1970!) I would errrm…kill… to see and hear this song live again ), Steve being the smiling guitar god he is, Roger bassing and singing away, Don has proved since a long time that he is the worthy successor of Mr Lord and Little Ian drumming like only he can; I think if I would try mimicking him, I would be exhausted after only half a song, if only I have the faintest idea how to play drums.

Because otherwise we had to face the heavy traffic back home, we had another drink at that same hard rock café 😉 On the way my wife texted me Brugge had some serious thunder and lightning. Guess we were very lucky that evening only to have a tiny drizzle! Downside was I only had 3 hours to sleep before I had to get to work.

The next day I saw a positive review on Belgian TV news and the radio was positive as well. I already had a browse through the 862 pictures I took. After a first sift I still have 275. (in Liège 2007 I took 1664 pictures!)

6 Comments to “Steve, the smiling guitar god”:

  1. 1
    Michael says:

    Funny you should mention the Highway Star intro…
    I usually get goose-bumps when that starts, but this time? Nothing.
    A pitty…
    But other than that: brilliant show!


  2. 2
    dubbe says:

    there was a fight during the battle rages on,and Ian Gillan have take a reply to that……..remember the dvd of the concert in 72-73 during highway star

  3. 3
    AndreA says:


    ahahahahah!!! yes,scandinavian nights Copenaghen Fireball’s Tour,Gillan VS Fans in front of the stage “OOOHHHH!! OOOHHH!!” on HighwayStar performance..


  4. 4
    Hugo aka fledermaus says:

    Great review, pity I didn’t see your hub t-shirt as I wore mine as well 🙂
    The happy birthday part was for Steve by the way!

  5. 5
    belgian purple says:

    thanks for the comments; yeah, i read it somewhere that it was Steve’s birthday. At the moment we are on holiday in York. Jon will be playing York the 16th. Guess when we are returning to Belgium? Yep, the 16th
    (as we are here, i still have to do the pix i took; when we get back home, i’ll upload them to my website)

  6. 6
    belgian purple says:

    ow, i forgot: on the Deep Purple Hub you can find the recording of this gig

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