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Polish Purple October

Art best conquers time, and therefore the nemo. It constitutes that timeless world of the full intellect where each artefact is contemporary, and as nearly immortal as an object in a cosmos without immortality can be’ – John Fowles

Deep Purple are immortal. Deep Purple are timeless. Deep Purple are daring in the approach to their art. Adventure leaks out of the speakers; excitement is built up by the lightning; glorious past is reminded on the video screens – yet it all thrives on the present and allows to throw a hopeful glimpse at the playground of the future.

Deep Purple are the quality of their own. The five piece band of musicians never cease to amaze – be it with the Sunday concert goers or the hard core fans. For me personally, they are the only band able to leave a firm feeling of euphoria mixed with something of indescribable nature which runs in my system for days after the last show. This time I got a triple dose and the spiritual high I am in works wonders.

All the shows were practically sold out. There were two smaller venues (Rzeszow, and Wroclaw – around 6 000) and one bigger (Katowice – around 9 000 to 10 000). The halls were packed in with people of all generations you can possibly think of. You could even see small children rocking the hell out of their first encounter with Deep Purple.

I mean, this country loves this band. The fans here react enthusiastically to every note produced by the musicians. The fun sprinkled with a bit of insanity and spontaneity and the spirit of Deep Purple has justified its existence on it and has refused to die over the years. For many (me included) those past three shows were like one big, national holiday compared to the 11th of November (the regaining of Independence in 1918) and 3rd of May (signing of the world’s second constitution or rather a bill of rights).

I spoke to lots of Polish fans and they all claimed Deep Purple’s visit is always a special treat for them. Some even admitted they took the leave at work. Some borrowed money to get the tickets, and some travelled the country far and wide just to be on one show only. The dedication is amazing and gives you a wider perspective on the matter of the Polish Deep Purple fan base. This can be loosely related to the notion of patriotism.

Poland has its place in Deep Purple’s history as well. In 1991 the band paid the first visit to Poland and did a gig in Poznan. Jon Lord was so moved by the audience’s reaction that after the last song he stepped out and with a lump in his throat thanked the fans and promised they would come back pretty soon. It took them two years. In 1993 the band triumphantly returned. This time it was the classic line-up.

Backstage, a fan nearly weeping begged Roger never to split up, and the bass player though it ironic because a night before Ritchie declared he was going to leave the band after the European leg of the tour was finished. At the same time, the reaction of hysterical admiration allowed them to forget all the nuisances and they put on a fantastic show that memorable night.

Roger also admitted he felt like Purplemania would have come back. It certainly strengthened the band’s spirit in that difficult time. The next visit was soon after Purpendicular was released. The crowed warmly welcomed the shows in 1996 despite Ian Gillan’s cold and reassured the band Steve Morse was a spot on choice. Steve was given a chance to pilot one of the Polish produced aircrafts too!

In 1998 Deep Purple visited Poland bringing the fresh material of the ‘Abandon’ album. Next visit was in 2000 with the late Ronnie Dio and, for many, this remains the definitive Deep Purple Polish show. In 2003 Deep Purple treated the Polish fan base to a banana, and returned for two shows in 2004. On this occasion the musicians planted their trees in Szczecin.

In 2006 Ian Gillan dedicated the show to the victims of collapsed trade hall in Katowice and this is still warmly remembered here. In 2009 owing to Deep Purple we broke the Guinness World Record and Steve Morse said the performance of Smoke sang by nearly 20 000 people was the moment he would cherish forever. The same year Ian Gillan was approached to perform at The Solidarity of Arts festival and thus Deep Purple’s input into Polish fight for freedom in the Communism got recognized.

Ian has also left his hand pressing in Gdansk (the place where overthrow of Communism began). There even used to be an active Polish fan club that organized convents for fans year by year until 2006. The last show in Katowice was dedicated to Tommy Dziubinksi, the band’s promoter, who according to Ian is not well at the moment. It is not a mystery Ian Gillan’s idea for his latest solo recording originated in Poland and now Ian appears in a Polish documentary about Chopin.

All the ‘Purple People’ have numerously been to Poland as well. They all appreciated the kindness and the hospitality the Poles endow them with. Jon Lord for instance is going to visit Poland soon… I do not want to bore you with a history lesson so let me get to the main topic of this account.

Roger said to me backstage: ‘I love Poland, man. People here are very strong inside’.

This was the ‘longest’ Purple stint in Poland and they played three shows and currently are at the very start of the Fall/Winter leg of the tour. For your benefit, and for fear of losing some excitement I will just throw in the short reports I was writing for the Hub soon after every single show got to its end.

Rzeszow, Podpromie Hall, 28.10.2010
The last night’s show in Rzeszow went down pretty well. Set list stayed the same, no drum solo from Ian Paice. They rehearsed ‘Rosa’s Cantina’ but unfortunately didn’t play the song last night. Anyway, it was a great chance to see the changes and a breath of fresh air the ‘old-new’ songs have brought into the set and the general reception of the music by the audience.

They’re also happy with the changes as the positive energy the songs are welcomed with is reflected in their faces and conversations after the show. No ‘Highway Star’ played last night. They were all having a ball on stage, particularly big Ian who’s shooting another part for the Chopin movie today in Warsaw.

Note: This is only the beginning of the tour and there were some areas the band could improve upon. They weren’t as tight as I saw them previously, but I’m sure the next one is going to be much tighter. And yes, the energy levels HLM generated was amazing

I recorded HLM, ST and AH. However, I didn’t have my usual ‘first row’ place because I had some other things to do before the show than queuing in the cold and I’m particularly unimpressed with the final quality of the recordings. I’ll wait till I record more and let you all know on Monday.

Katowice, Spodek, 30.10.2010
This time it wasn’t even pretty well. This time it wasn’t even good. Hell, it wasn’t even fantastic. It was smokin’ hot!!! Man, what a show did the Purple boys put on in Katowice. Everything was brilliant. The sound, the musicians and the singer too. Comparing it to Rzeszow now I feel I saw two different bands, not to imply Rzeszow was a tragedy or something. They rocked the place down. Everything was faultless from the beginning.

During HLM Steve nodded to Don and you could tell the show was going to be awesome. Ian sang beautifully and interpreted his ‘usual’ parts in a slightly different way. Steve was fantastic, I especially loved the closing solo to ‘Silver Tongue’ played in a different way than in Rzeszow. Don was all over the place with the Hammond and shone on ‘Almost Human’. Any solo he touched turned to gold. Can’t say anything bad about the guy… He even changed his solo spot keeping all the must-dos like Chopin and Polish National Anthem. Roger was jumping around throughout the entire show, and Paicey was drumming in a steady, yet impeccable way. You should have seen things he was doing in ‘TINS’.

Set list still the same, nothing’s changed since Prague. The show was sold out – people had lots of fun. I had a standing place, made it to the second row but then I found myself in the first one.

Personal favourites: Hard Lovin’ Man, Silver Tongue, Almost Human, No One Came.

In ‘Fireball’, the moment the song starts, you can see the back curtain fall down, presenting DP logo and a building in an ancient style architecture wise. The only theatrical element in Purple show, but it makes a nice impression – at least it did on me.

Wroclaw, the last show of Polish tour, tomorrow.

Conclusion: Some Deep Purple (women) fans are simply just breathtakingly beautiful. Thank you for allowing me to have one eye to Morocco during the show!!!

Wroclaw, Hala Stulecia, 31.10.2010
It’s 3 am and it’s going to be my last dispatch. Not that I’m being taken into captivity… The last show in Poland went brilliant! The band was hot but the set list stayed the same. There were notable differences though. Steve changed his solos (improvised in a different way) and played a part of Hey Joe as an intro to SOTW. You may ask: ‘Why the hell Hey Joe?’ Because the show was in Wroclaw and Steve took part in ‘Thanks Jimi’ festival last year where they broke the World Guinness Record.

Slightly different solo spot too. Don’s solo got longer and au contraire to his solo spot from Katowice it didn’t include Beethoven’s Fur Elise. Roger played his mini solo in Fireball in a slightly different fashion and Paicey lost a drumstick in ROTD (I felt like watching Montreux 2006 a bit but on a way bigger screen and with way better sound). Ian sounded really well though the show was taking its toll on the voice and it was especially visible by the end. Nevertheless he performed really well and gave 20000 % of his self.

Another sold out show, another town, another night… another girl? Another chapter in the Purple history has closed. I’m glad I had a chance to be part of it. Go and see Deep Purple in concert if you get a chance. They’re still the best band in the Universe and the ease they manouvre within the boundaries the songs make them face is amazing. Uplifting and artistic.

Over and out.

Generally speaking they sounded very heavy reminding me of the shows circa 1998/1999 when they were promoting ‘Abandon’. The set list stayed the same though you may see in one of the photos that they put ‘Highway Star’ as the first encore. Yet the song was not performed. It is a very daring move and I am particularly proud of them.

I am glad they finally dropped ‘Highway Star’ and hope if they are going to play it, it is going to be played in the encores and not as an opener because ‘Hard Lovin’ Man’ is just fantastic. Need to mention ‘When a Blind Man Cries’. I have not heard it performed live for three years and it sounds better than ever! ‘Perfect Strangers’ transported the crowd into a different dimension and ‘Lazy’ rocked us with its boogie feel. They were rather brief, Ian limited his usual on stage banter to minimum and Steve did play more in classical rock guitar vein than ever.

A side note on Rzeszow: the band might not have sounded that tight because the hall has particularly poor acoustics. This aspect took toll particularly on Paicey’s drumming and Roger’s bass. Some registers of the bass guitar simply buzzed. Snare drum was way too loud and bass drum got blurred in the mix. Purple’s sound engineer, Steve and Roger were doing what their best so it could all sound coherently together but they seem to have lost with the acoustics.

How am I to conclude this? I have no clue. I will just leave you with no conclusion conclusion to make things a bit different. I hope you enjoyed this ‘not brief’ account. Oh yes, I nearly forgot. I need to thank here a lovely girl who was kind enough to grace me with the feel of her svelte rear in Katowice (because of the crush in the hall). You certainly added to the excitement this show generated!



6 Comments to “Polish Purple October”:

  1. 1
    Joanna says:

    Hi, Marcin, some weeks ago my pals forecasted the shows wouldn’t be sold out, so I was surprised indeed seing the halls were full :). A long review, yes, and I enjoy it in fact. As for Gillan’s performance in the Chopin documentary: we see he’s became an actor at last 😀

  2. 2
    Gary says:

    Hi Joanna :-)…I think Ian and Marcin will do just fine, don’t you ?…Best wishes…Gary

  3. 3
    T says:

    Kudos to all of the Polish fans for their undying enthusiasm for Deep Purple.

  4. 4
    Michael says:

    How long are the concerts of Deep Purple on this tour 2010 ?
    The Starting Time here in Germany is 8 p.m.
    I will see them on friday this week.

  5. 5
    marcinn says:

    Michael,

    Make it two hours. Not sharp though.

  6. 6
    Joanna says:

    Ha ha, Gary, I used to be an actress, too. At school. I played a raindrop 😀 😀 😀

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