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Gillan at Tbilisi fan meeting in Istanbul

July 20, the hot summer day was a memorable day for Ian Gillan, Georgian fans and for Istanbul, of course. Why? Here’s a really great story how Georgian fans had a special meet&greet with Gillan in Turkey, before the show:

I live in Tbilisi, Georgia. Unfortunately DP hasn’t visited our country, but we had a great time with Ian Gillan in 1990, in Tbilisi. He had 5 sold-out shows in Tbilisi Sports Palace as part of his [then] USSR solo-tour, and a great wedding with his wife Bron Gillan, in national Georgian clothes. Gillan’s and Bron’s wedding in our city was the event, we never forget, as well as Gillan & Bron theirselves.

Tbilisi is a real Purple city, but we had no chance to see DP. In January 2009 I read on ths.com DP coming to Istanbul and decided: “something gonna change, we should do something great”. I called to some of my friends and we began collecting Georgian fans to visit Istanbul for one Purple night. I began internet and outdoor promotion for the show, posted posters on Georgian sites, sent press-releases to georgian news-agencies and even published posters in Tbilisi streets. the result was – 50 Georgian fans, one full bus ready to go to Istanbul.

In April I wrote e-mail to Ian Gillan, telling him our preparation for the show and asking to tell us story of his wedding in Tbilisi. In 1 week Sally, Gillan’s PA answered me that Gillan was very happy for the letter and he would be in touch soon. So we had nothing more to wait for Ian’s answer.

On June 6 I received the greatest e-mail in my life, DP’s tour coordinator Kate notified me, Gillan was so happy for my e-mail, that he decided to meet all Georgian fans in Istanbul, before the show. It was the day I never forget. Georgian fans became crazy, waitting for July 20 to meet our hero.

July 20 was a crazy day – 60 georgian fans were waitting at the back entrance of Turkcell Kurucesme Arena, where the show would take place after several hours. we entered the arena at 5:00PM, straight in front of stage waitting for Gillan. And he came.

Arena was deafen by our screaming when we saw the man himself – the greatest rock vocalist and our hero. He met us so warmly, kissing and huging, smiling all the way, signing tickets and CD’s, T-shirts and flags of Georgia. then Gillan told us the story of his visit in Tbilisi in 1990: “My visit in Tbilisi was fantastic, we [Ian & Bron] never forget our wedding and time we had there, great people, great city”.

Ian seemed to be in a huge emotions during talking to us. The biggest surprise was when we gave the photos of the wedding to Bron – she screamed: “ohh my goooodd” and began crying (Bron was there, celebrating 25th anniversary of their wedding).

All in all, the meeting was so emotional, I can’t express the emotions:


after the meeting I had interview with Gillan. it lasted more then half hour (not 15 minutes as it was planned). When I told him, that i was George, he who wrote a letter to him in April, he huged me and said “Thank you George for your lovely letter, Internet is quite a good thing”.
Then I took photos with Gillan, he signed my ticket and my copy of Rapture of the Deep CD and said, that Bron was still in emotions after seeing those wedding photos which she had never seen.

After this super-emotional meeting and interview, we had left nothing more, to wait for the show. I’d admitt: 60 Georgian met Gillan, but all in all over 400 fans from Georgia were at the arena.

And they came on stage. Deep Purple kicked off with Highway Star, unfortunately we could hear only bass and drum due to technical problems, vocs, key and guitar was hard to hear.
Things I Never Said followed and then the bombastic version of Wrong Man. At that time sound was improved and was brilliantly. Personal highlights from the show were Wrong Man, rapture of the Deep, Fireball, Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming, Well Dressed Guitar, The Battle Rages On, Perfect Strangers and Black Night.

The band was in superb form, as well as Gillan himself. he only had some difficulties during Space Trucking. even physically Ian was absolutely full of energy, running and jumping on the stage, enjoying the great 20 000 crowd.

the biggest surprise was when he said hello to the crowd: “he Heyyyy, hello Istanbul, Hello Georgia… Where’re you Georgian fans?” and the arena was deafen by our screaming after he said hello to us.

another highlight was Roger Glover, who was fully in fire, especially during Black Night – this is really Roger’s song, he conquerd the crowd.

the crowd itself was absolutely amazing – 20 000 people singing and shouting together, they were very responsive and loud, you could hear screaming of 20 000 people during EVERY song, including tracks from Rapture.

all in all, it was a fantastic meeting, fantastic interview, fantastic show and fantastic day, which we (together with Gillan and Bron) will never forget.

Ian and the purple boys, we Thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank youuuuuuuuuuuuu, so much, it was unbelievable.


Highway Star
Things I Never Said
Wrong Man
Strange Kind Of Woman
Rapture Of The Deep
Contact Lost
Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
Well Dressed Guitar
Wring That Neck
The Battle Rages On
Don Airey Solo
Perfect Strangers
Space Truckin’
Smoke On The Water

Black Night

17 Comments to “Gillan at Tbilisi fan meeting in Istanbul”:

  1. 1
    stoffer says:

    Yes Ian, “the internet is quite a good thing”. Amazing, what a thoughtful man.

  2. 2
    Nikos says:

    Great stuff George thanks for sharing this with us.

  3. 3
    marcinn says:

    I’m really happy for you guys, George. You deserved that. Ian is endearing man indeed. Cheers!

    I just hope you won’t be as severe for him in your comments when he has a bad night on stage…

  4. 4
    T says:

    Everyone who has met him would agree that Ian Gillan is a very nice guy–very appreciative of the fans and often goes the extra distance to spend time with them. This is difficult given the lifestyle of a traveling musician on a tight schedule.

  5. 5
    Roberto says:


    watch this!

  6. 6
    HZ says:

    George, I’m glad that you’ve make it :-), cheers!

  7. 7
    George says:

    Marcinn, In Istanbul he was on really good shape, I still remember his outstanding screams at the end of Strange Kind of Woman, during Battle rages On and during Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming.

    What you call “a bad night on stage” it was when he performed quite bad on their latest South American tour (this year, February), but he had 42gradus temperature and cold then…
    But in Istanbul he was in GREAT voice (not to count Space Truckin’)

    btw, if you can find, listen to the Bootleg from recent Japan Tour (Spring 2009), he was in the GREATEST shape for the last 4-5 years…

    He has always had good and bad nights even in the 70’s. But what makes him such a great vocalist is that, one night he can’t even speak properly, but for the another night he can scream out the stage… ๐Ÿ™‚

    What about his personality, I could never imagine that ROCK star could be such a natural person. I always knew that Gillan NEVER tried to be kind of celebrity/star with un-reachable image, but his naturalness and his gentleman style exceeded my expectations. He’s simply what he is, never trying to imitiate something or somebody. Respect…

  8. 8
    marcinn says:


    I wasn’t refering to Istanbul. Rather to the comments you posted under the thread of South America 2009 videos. They were to severe as far as I’m concerned and I know he doesn’t deserve treatment as such. That is why, now after everything he did for you, I hope you will not be as swift with passing judgements and bashing him. That’s all. You had a terrific time in Turkey and a lesson of humility. And I’m really happy for you.

    Every artist has bad and good nights on stage. That’s reality of being a performer. We discuss mostly our favourite artists here, and we follow them show after show. That is why we don’t know much about others.

    Ian is simply a good man, but I’m sure you’ve already noticed that…


  9. 9
    Crimson Ghost says:

    Thanks George, nice work!

    Roberto, I told you about ‘RARENESS’ most of it’s out the window by now or you wouldn’t be seeing it at YT. It’s just not what it used to be…

  10. 10
    Purplefan says:

    Man that was great. This really shows that Deep Purple is still alive. Traveling 2000 km to see Them? That shows fanisme


    Purplefan ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  11. 11
    juraj says:

    Hello George,
    nice report,thank you.Last year when I went to Odessa to see Purple gig I belive,there were some fans from Georgia as well.I have one personal question.What is the best way to travel from Ukraine to Georgia?I would like to vist your country via UA.
    Cheers Juraj.

  12. 12
    George says:

    yes, that was really great journey – 2.000km, 26 hours by bus, full of 60 hardcore DP fans. can you imagine what happened in the bus? we spent 26 hours (with no sleep) listening to DP, talking about DP, watching DP DVDs, then July 20 – the whole xrazy day waitting meeting with Ian, then meet&greet, then my interview with Ian (which lasted more than half-hour), then 1 hr waitting for the show, then 2 hr – long-time-dreamed DEEP PURPLE LIVE and then DP and DP again haha…

    yesterday I had 1 hr interview in the most popular Georgian Jazz-Radio, telling Istanbul-journey stories. radio-show opened with Fireball, Child In Time (Ian Gillan Band’s jazz-rock version)followed. then DJ played Smoke On The Water (jazz-cover). then Walk On (GREAT BLUES track from Bananas). When DJ asked me about Steve Morse, we played Pictures Of Home from “Live At Olympia ’96”. we also played 2 tracks from Rapture – Girls Like That and Rapture Of The Deep and the show ended with Stuttgart ’93 version of Highway Star.
    I got to say it CIT (jazz-rock fusion version) and Walk On raised a great interest in the radio’s jazz-fan listeners, as well as Don Airey’s solo in Girls Like That.


    I tries to go Odessa in 2008 for DP gig, but failed due to finansial crisis in my family ๐Ÿ™‚
    the best way to travel from Ukraine to Georgia is airplane with no doubt. it depends on where you live. If you live in Odessa, you can ‘Sail Away’ from Odessa to Batumi by ferryboat, and then by bus from Batumi to Tbilisi. but if you live in Kiev, you’d better close your eyes, you’d better bow your head, wait for the airplane ๐Ÿ˜€

    btw, if you’re really going to visit Georgia, I’d love you to be my guest, we would have a great time here ๐Ÿ™‚
    so welcome to Georgia ๐Ÿ™‚

    thanks for all ths.com users and admins for such nice comments ๐Ÿ™‚
    6 months ago when a had a big and very bad debates with Tony Carey on ths.com (which turned into swearing), site admins allmost banned me and I promised them that I wouldn’t say any word and wouldn’t send any material from Gillan’s meet&greet…. but I was stupid then… I guessed (and I always knew) that music is nothing more than simply music – friendship, love, joy, entertainment, happiness, politeness – IG proved that. He was so natural, so gentle, so wise and kind-hearted to us, he is THE MAN!

  13. 13
    juraj says:

    To George
    I really like to visit Georgia.Could we keep in touch on private e mail?Just write to:j19juraj@post.sk and we can gather our wings make a step into the future befor the time will begin.
    Thank you again.

  14. 14
    George says:

    Ok juraj, I’ll email you ๐Ÿ™‚
    Ian was right: “What a wonderful thing the internet is, we gonna appreciate it”

  15. 15
    Reinaldo Alves says:

    George, congratulations !

    glad you had the opportunity to face Gillan. As I live in Brazil I am accostumed to it since Purple comes here every year or so. But it wasnยดt always like this…. so I know how you feel. Back in 1997 I got a letter from Mr. Gillan at the office in Miami (where I was living). He wrote the letter during his stay in Buenos Aires. So it is nice, when our idols dedicate some moments to us, devoted fans.



  16. 16
    IRAN Purple says:

    LONG LIVE ROCK N ROLL & also Iranian fanatic Purple fans

  17. 17
    George says:

    IRAN Purple,

    There was one Iranian fan, very tall and with very very very long hairs, he stood in front of stage alongside with me ๐Ÿ™‚

    was that you?

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