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Purple night in Lion City

I have been an ardent fan of Deep Purple since the spring of 1973 when a friend lent me a 45 rpm record of Smoke on the Water (studio version on one side, live edited version from Made in Japan on the other). From that point onward I was completely hooked on all things Purple and have followed with keen interest the band in all its incarnations for over 37 years now.

To say that I have always been a huge Ritchie Blackmore fan would be a gross understatement and I must admit that back in 1975/76 I was unable to adapt to the then Tommy Bolin brand of Purple. Yet with the benefit of intervening years during which time I developed a wider musical palate, I rediscovered Bolin`s version of the band and now hold some of his guitar work in as high regard as Blackmore`s. Likewise I must admit that I have not always been able to completely appreciate Steve Morse`s guitar style in Purple in spite of his 15 plus years with the band. I can now say that has all changed after the concert I witnessed him play a couple of nights ago in Singapore. The man is obviously a key driving force in the band`s enduring legacy and from what I saw and heard, had moments on the fretboard which out-shined even the venerable Blackmore.

I traveled from home in Bangkok down to Singapore to catch the band at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Wednesday May 14th and with no opening act and no lights on a jet black stage the band kicked immediately into overdrive at 8:15 p.m. with the pulsating rhythms and wailing guitar intro of Highway Star. Then with a flash, on came the lights and there was Ian Gillan standing there screaming like it was 1972. Everyone in the place was out of their chairs and on their feet. The sheer energy between the band and the audience was palpable.

Before and during the concert I looked around on what I estimated to be a crowd of between 6000 to 7000 and saw people of all ages and races of this very multi-cultural city. Seated beside me was a young lady of sixteen who told me her dad had introduced her to Deep Purple some years back and her favourite album was Made in Japan. There were hundreds of other young fans like her there to witness a band that has been rocking for almost two generations before them. I challenge anyone to name me another active touring rock group that has been around as long, and which has the cross-cultural / cross-generational appeal that Purple has.

Proceedings continued with Things I Never Said, Strange Kind of Woman, Maybe I`m a Leo, and as Ian Gillan introduced it…..here`s the title track from our latest album – Rapture of the Deep!! I noted how strong Ian was of voice, not only in the lower and mid-ranges, but in the upper register as well, he hit all the notes. And Steve`s guitar renderings on these songs were just superb. As well, from my vantage point I noted how amazingly good the sound was in this venue.

Onward through their catalogue came Fireball, Contact Lost, Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming, Well-Dressed Guitar, and Mary Long on which Ian did a wonderful middle-eastern tinged vocal outro.

Then it was Don Airey`s chance to shine on the intro to Lazy which once the band joined in got the entire place up and boogying. It was clearly obvious that the band is happy to be on stage making music and playing for the people – smiles all around. These fellows are not doing it by the numbers, nor for the money – they all could have retired comfortably years ago on their royalty checks. Instead it is apparent that they are up there for the sheer joy of the music and the interaction with the crowd.

Next up was a very funky version of No One Came with some great jamming guitar and bass interplay. Then it was back to Don Airey for an extended solo (after about 5 minutes or so Ian Paice got up from behind the cabinets and feigned a playful rifle shot at Don) and intro to Perfect Strangers. At that the place jumped to its feet, people gyrating, heads banging to the music, fists pounding the air – it was dare I say almost a religious experience.

The momentum of the band and crowd continued with Space Trucking and a brilliant Steve Morse solo, and then completely erupted when Steve hit in staccato the first three notes of Smoke on the Water. The place was seething and hit its high point on the now familiar sing-along of the chorus. And then it was over – the band said its thank yous and into the front rows were tossed picks, sticks and towels. The appreciative fans cried for more and were rewarded a couple of minutes later with a jazzy jam intro to Hush on which Ian Paice delivered a great swinging solo. From there Roger Glover went into full gear on an absolutely stunning bass guitar solo (I never realized what a master he is of the instrument) which then segued into a raucous Black Night. Steve delivered a great solo with a highly-spirited crowd call and response. And then it was really over, final goodbyes, more sticks and picks, and on came the lights. It was about 10:00 p.m. – about a 1 hour, 45 minute performance.

After the show a few die-hard fans (self included) waited out by the trucks for a final glimpse of the band. First out was Steve Morse who came over to give autographs and chat with the kids. Last out was Ian Gillan who even after a long session of backstage chatting, in his ever gracious manner made it a point to come over and reward the few remaining fans who had been patiently waiting by the security gate, with handshakes and to sign whatever was placed in front of him.

An overall very satisfying concert experience from a band whose following seems only to be growing. I was looking forward to seeing them in Bangkok two nights hence.



24 Comments to “Purple night in Lion City”:

  1. 1
    dave_wallis says:

    If the following is growing, maybe they should take some time off and record a brand new album? I simply don’t understand their attitude.

  2. 2
    Karl-Heinz says:

    Wow – what a fantstic review!!!!

    Great to hear, that Big Ian had a good voice!

    Karl-Heinz

  3. 3
    marcinn says:

    Great review. Nice to hear you had a good time, Gary. Great fun is guaranteed with class of musicianship as high as Purple represent. No one can match them. I also liked the variety of cultures and age of the audience. Ian is right – their audience is getting younger!

    Thanks.

  4. 4
    John Bartone says:

    Long Live the Morse era…

  5. 5
    george says:

    That’s great!
    Ian’s voice is truly improving. I heard some bootlegs from 2010 tour and got to say, he is in the same great shape, which he used to be in 2005-2006…
    btw, 2008 was the WORST year for him

  6. 6
    syed shahroll says:

    well that’s interesting, why didn’t u come to Genting Highlands, Malaysia on 16-05-2010. I was there for the concert. I managed to get their picture taken with me individually and what a birthday gift for me this year. I’ve seen them twice in Singapore & thrice in Malaysia. I hope to see them again in years to come. Anyway, it was a night to remember for me and my son Danny Jamalulail.

  7. 7
    Аlex says:

    So good to hear of that, but I”m looking for the new album only. Not to go the same show again(((

  8. 8
    Аlex says:

    Yes, maybe (I hope) the next album will be very strong, hard and with more loud Don’s keyboards.

  9. 9
    elprupdeep says:

    thanks gary for that wonderful rewiew.I wish my english was like yours and I will write nearly the same thing, with the experience I had in Perth on the 5 th of May.
    It is very true and I find the band myself in a very good shape, especially big Ian which voice is far much better than my last concert in Pau (France) in 2007.
    I was definitely scared before the concert that it will maybe be the last time I see my favorite band , but I can tell you that I am completely re-assured now that these guys are not going to retire yet.

    p.s. during the opening act I had the chance to see Roger in the corridor next to the toilet and I shake his hand as warmly as I could but was so surprised with that encounter could not say a word.
    like a kid who see santa for the first time I said R,GLOVER and he said yes… how are u? how are u? good thanks! where is the stage he said?
    and I show him the way… so happy!!!
    long live Deep Purple.
    cheers. richard.

  10. 10
    fernando says:

    I think as a little love Deep Purple, but I do not understand anything, if they continued on the scene but with a new album under his arm, I still do not understand anything

  11. 11
    Wiz says:

    gawd….. new album – new album. Is that all some people can say?

    How postively 80’s

    If you are running a business and one part of that business is unprofitable, you are a fool if you continue with that part of the business. “Albums” (what a quaint old fasioned word) lose money.

    I am sure that when they are feeling artistically ready they will produce some new music. Forcing an album when the muse isn’t there is a complete waste of their (and your) money – Assuming you buy the results rather than just downloading them illegally.

  12. 12
    purplepriest1965 says:

    I keep on going to YouTubes to see if things improve or change.

    Espescially after raving reviews like these.

    Did end up sad and depressed anyway…..

    AGAIN!!!!

  13. 13
    deeperpurps says:

    I believe it is a valid point that purplepriest1965 makes. YouTube does offer a snapshot of the current state of the band at any given time, albeit with the sonic and visual limitations of most cellphone and pocket cameras.

    I would add however that nothing beats the actual concert-going experience itself. Within the context of an entire show, one is able to witness the interplay of the band, both between the musicians themselves, as well as their interactions with the crowd. Those familiar tunes, when belted out in earnest on the stage by the musicians who crafted them is the reward the concert goer is seeking. I know it is tempting to compare past glories with present day offerings, but no amount of wishing will bring the band back to what it once was.

    I grant that this brand of Purple is not the same band it was who I saw in 1985 in Montreal during the Mark II reunion tour. But then neither was Mark II 1985 the mighty band it was on the Made in Japan album. Purple has gone from strength to strength for over more than 40 years. There are pearls and gold nuggets on all their albums, just as there are some tracks which even with repeated listenings will never grow on me. Nevertheless, the fact that Purple is still going out there and playing their hearts out after 40 some years (even if Gillan’s screams are not what they once were, and even though Lordy’s subterranean Hammond growls and Blacker’s Strat mastery are no longer present), the present day version is bringing the music to people, new generations in fact, to parts of the globe who never had a chance to see them in the glorious 70’s and mid-80’s years.

    I take it for what it is, a band that is a living organism, somewhat weathered with time, but still vital. The mainstream music press may choose to ignore them, but all the purple people in the world know what they like.

  14. 14
    Wiz says:

    deeperpurps:
    Thing is though – I suspect that purplepriest1965 likes feeling like that.

    For me, the fact that when I go to see Deep Purple now I am going to see 5 people who want to be there as is important as any other consideration. Even on the Perfect Strangers tour there were nights when one RB obviously didn’t want to be on stage.

    Just like seeing the Rolling Stones in 2010 isn’t the same as seeing the Rolling Stones in 1964, seeing Deep Purple now isn’t that same as in 1974. If it was, no-ne would botehr doing it.

  15. 15
    Аlex says:

    To # 11/// Money-money-money/ ))))

  16. 16
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Such a sad and despicable approach to creating music.

    If the current members had any self esteem they would kik themselves in the butt and try to show EVERYONE what they are made of.

    Ofcourse nowadays buisness is unprofitable but making money should not be the only motivaytion to put out a album.

    Things would improve a lot sale wise if they had lowered or would lower the price of a cd.

    10 E max and like the DVD 2 Disc they made with effective protection against burning the material.

    But still I m convinced the real core of the problem, is it a problem really??????, is in the artistic void in the band.

    Prove me otherwise.

    Cheers, Mark

  17. 17
    purplepriest1965 says:

    @ 13

    Well, you certainly got me confused!

    Maybe you are referring to something I said on another thread?

  18. 18
    Wiz says:

    Alex

    I suppose you work for free?

  19. 19
    purplepriest1965 says:

    @ 18

    I dont think Alex is implying something you suggest.

    The MAIN COMPLAIN is that it seems very often that the MAIN FOCUS is on the buisness side.

    Not that I feel they manage that side good enough.

    Like I said, produce a disc with a RESONABLE PRICE and combine that with a ANTI BURNING PROGRAM and an ATTRACTIVE CREATION.

    I suggested more than once, for example, they could have done a win win situation if they had something like this …..
    After Lordys departure….
    With a 2 or 3 Double disc with tracks, excluding the MACHINE HEAD numbers, but pushing the PURPENDICULAR APPROACH aka doing tracks they did not play, or seldom with Ritchie…and renditions of Morse era material.

    So from …
    Pictures from home, WABC, No One Came, Bloodsucker, and so on uptill I m alone combined with 7th Heaven and other Morse tracks.

    Ofcourse wondering why they did not do that always directs to speculating if THEY lacked the confidence in such an output mainly because THEY feel the Morse era tracks, live or not, dont have enough commercial attraction.

    Even me, not known for the greatest affection for the Morse era would have liked such a document.

    Live at the Olympia and Total Abandon were BOTH half hearted in their approach cause they still are too much based on old MK 2 material.

    Cheers, Mark

  20. 20
    purplepriest1965 says:

    ad

    I forgot a few other titles.
    Excuse me.

    Montreux 96 is performance wise the ONLY one that does not suffer too much from bad performances in an certain area.

    If they could have produced something with that level but extended with tracks I mentioned, that could have been their best aim and testament.

  21. 21
    deeperpurps says:

    Hi purplepriest1965,

    With reference to your #17, sorry, no confusion was intended on my post #13. Your point on your post #12 re your disappointment after having visited the latest Purps offerings at Youtube is a valid one. I do not entirely disagree with you sir.

    I often check the Youtube site as well to see what how the band is doing at any given time. It is definitely not mid-70’s Purple I will grant you that; as when I listen to their albums of the past 25 years or so, I have to admit that the band is not what I would term firing on all cylinders (to my taste) like they were between the In Rock to the Made in Japan era. That is a given.

    What I do appreciate is the fact that the band still goes out there after all these years and still puts in 100% of what they do have, into their live performances. It may not hit all the markers that it did in the 1970’s but at least they are trying, and in the process they are winning over many new fans and satisfying many of the older generations as well. There are not too many other bands doing what they are doing – going to many places which I am sure their peers judge to be very obscure, to play their music.

    Are they creating new music?…..Not right now. Will they?….Perhaps they might in future. But even if not, I think we should take it for what it is – a band of seasoned, professional, mature musicians who love their craft, who enjoy bringing those old tunes we love to people of all ages and races, and to keep on doing it night after night in spots where most would dare not venture.

    That is why I respect this band – there is no hype, they do what they do without any fanfare. Heaven knows they do not get much coverage in most music publications (especially in those magazines that trod out all the same old warmed-up, re-hashed, tired, old stories about those classic rock groups who may have at one time had God-like status, but now have gone the way of the DoDo bird at least 30 years or more ago. The Purps though still play on – maybe not 100% the same power they had back many years ago, but still doing a pretty fine job. Not perfect, but then who is?

  22. 22
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Well Ronnie James Dio was almost perfect.

    No matter how much I loved what came after, the RAINBOW line up with him and Powell was invincible.

  23. 23
    deeperpurps says:

    You`re absolutely right about Dio. The extended Purple family has lost a magnificent singer, person, friend.

  24. 24
    Alex says:

    to 18, No, for sure. I’m working for money. But…
    1. DP are pure people?
    2. To do my work I every time should prepare something new fow clients

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