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Smiling faces everywhere in Rouen

Show started at 6pm with Philip Sayce’s brilliant power blues-rock trio. With a set essentially based on the Peace Machine LP, Sayce took the audience by surprise using his talent to set the field for Purple.

The oriental intro served by the new lightshow surprised the audience a few seconds just the time to hear Ian Paice running the Highway Star introduction. Don Airey’s Hammond and Morse’s driving solo punched into Le Zenith : smiling faces everywhere from 14 to … Powerful version.

Then came Hard Lovin’ Man : what a blast ! Morse and Airey again settled an apparently never ending song. I have to say that I was a little bit disappointed because Ian Gillan looked very tired last night. Ok, the band almost play every night and great Ian is no longer a young man but I have noticed a disturbing thinness and the loss of his voice and words constantly ( Maybe I’m a Leo, Perfect Strangers, Fireball and even Smoke showed sometimes the musicians playing alone ).

Maybe I’m wrong but Ian seemed to be in apnea during all the show using oxygen backstage to find back his voice… Let’s go back to the concert with a great version of Strange Kind of Woman, a terrific Rapture of the Deep and a quite heavy version of Silver Tongue. Fireball was a cataclysm : people looked totally knocked out !

Then Steve Morse slow down the set with Contact Lost followed by a medieval improvisation. Gillan came back on stage to take back Roger’s and Steve’s pick ups and launching a quite emotional version of When a Blind Man Cries. Not enough time to dry our eyes : Steve Morse has started The Well Dressed Guitar with people all hands up ! Great time as usual !

For now, I’m not quite sure of the order of the set : was Perfect Strangers before Almost Human or Lazy ? I can’t remember but it was great to here Almost Human and a well-introduced version of Lazy by Don Airey : seemed to see the ghost of Jon Lord… Nice Airey solo and an awesome Perfect Strangers minus an absent Ian Gillan.

No One Came was the best moment of this concert : heavy, loud and melodic at the same time. The closing section with heavy spotlights set the band on fire : these guys are the heaviest band on earth ! No need to use Ibanez or Yamaha material or having piercing and tatto’s ! Just five old pals blasting the scene ! Space Truckin’ was in the same mood with Roger’s playing terryfing the audience. Splendid version of Smoke… when we could hear Ian, a little bit lost at the middle of the song.

Then came a funky Hush and a heavy Black Night : Larry Graham / Roger Glover : we call it a draw ! But we know that the show is over, the last note of Black Night is still in the air that Ian Paice is up yet.

Hope that great Ian got some rest last night…

17 Comments to “Smiling faces everywhere in Rouen”:

  1. 1
    Tommy H. says:

    Take a rest and get well soon, Ian!

    Everytime his voice seemed to have serious problems, Ian has managed to get it back again. It just takes some time to recover. I’ve to say that almost every rock singer out there isn’t able to do what Ian can do physically. I still can’t explain why he didn’t loose his voice entirely years ago. Rock on, Ian!

  2. 2
    stéphane says:

    Ian Gillan was terribly ill in Strasbourg on dec 1st. He is still recovering, and has ups and downs (he was up the night before in Troyes). Now should there be a cancellation policy ? That’s another story. But Big Ian was in a GREAT shape allthrough november until he got flu.

  3. 3
    Roberto says:

    “using oxygen backstage” are you serious? if this is true the end is very close…

  4. 4
    Jazk says:

    I think that this are the last occassions to see L IVE Highway Star , Fireball. Since 2009 The Battle Rages on isn’t on setlist, Speed King since 2007, Child since 2002 and Anya since 1995. So in 2011/2012 it will be end of DP , only not if Glenn Hughes will take a microphone ( Coverdale probably not -he’s very strange , I don’t understand him – Lars Ulrich offered to him re-make of MK III DP with R.B.,J.Lord,G.H.so you know,stupid one )
    All the shows after 2008 DP are on moderate level ,or even not.

  5. 5
    Wiz says:


    Many singers young and old use oxygen. It’s been happening since the 1980s, all over the world, in all sized venues.

  6. 6
    james jay says:

    @3 and 5–world class athletes use a dose of O2. Plus-they are not performing in a closed- in and smoke- filled room. In adition, the athletes are also 1/3 IG’s age. All considered, IG is superman.

  7. 7
    Apollo says:

    Jazk, I don’t agree with you. I’ve seen them loads of times in the past few years, and one cannot say Ian’s voice is really declining. 2008 and the first half of 2009 were low points, but he came strong again in the autumn of 2009, and this November his voice was really good, the best I’d seen him in years. And the tracks you mention may no be on the setlist anymore, but I don’t Think Hard Loving Man is really easier to sing than TBRO or Anya, far from that in fact…

    But it’s true he was very ill in Strasbourg, and it’s clear that touring when you’re 65 and the temperatures are below zero makes you get a cold easily…

  8. 8
    Bill The Wizard Pierce says:

    Hey Roberto, exactly right, thats not new for Rock, well any serious vocalist for that matter, Oxygen helps a lot if your winded! Does Ian still smoke? anyway the band sound besides Ian having a bug or something like there on Fire lately. Would have loved to have been there! In the US, we don’t get to see to many(IMHO)Great Great Bands. Country is very prevalent here unfortunately, Actually I guess you get to see good bands, but not Purple, or Whitesnake. Even with DC living in LTahoe, usually it’s overseas 1st. Jazk, DC is not so strange, if you’ve ever read any of his interviews, The Fans want IG, not DC and he always said that it was a little tough to compete with the phenomenal legacy of what Deep Purple stands for!! ie Child in Time, Hghy Star, SKOW, as well as the newer material, to write songs in their style! But I’d love to see it now, with Roger on Bass! without GH. Not that I really have anything against Glenn, It would just (for me)anyway work better without him!! Sounds like a great tour! I would love a new CD as well though. cheers Bill

  9. 9
    Roberto says:

    “All the shows after 2008 DP are on moderate level ,or even not.”
    this is sadly true…

  10. 10
    hotblack says:

    @ Roberto: Did you read some of the reviews for the Germany tour in November? All the voices said in unison that Ian was in even a better shape than some years ago. Physcally and voice-wise. Or – could it be that YOU have been on “all the shows after 2008” to be able to differ with them??

    In general: It is obvious that Ian Gillan has caught a bad cold since the end of the Germany leg. To make this a ‘loss of voice’ and to deduct the end of DP out of this is grossly exaggerated. Again, I get the impression that some people are just waiting for things like this, to spit their end-time-prophecies. The poor man has a cold, so what? He had some before and he always recovered from them.

    As for the oxygen – he probably just went to the rear end of the stage to gargle a bit with some cough syrup or to blow his nose. I mean, we all know the effects of a cold, don’t we? It doesn’t just affect the throat but also the nose. And blowing one’s nose on open stage might be not the best way to entertain an audience ;-). Of course I am just guessing, but so is Anthony, so we are both on the same level of validity.

  11. 11
    T says:

    The same thing happened when I played with Gillan back in 2006.

    He was very thin, frequently went to the wings for a towel-off, drink of water and to blow his nose, and then was back on his way. Most of that could not be seen from the audience’s point of view.

    His vocals were top-notch in that small venue (it was a US Gillan’s Inn solo tour) but he was obviously suffering from a bad cold. I don’t think the audience was none the wiser and it was a great performance. Gillan was a true professional to give that kind of show under those circumstances.

    These things will happen every now and again, especially this time of year. That any musician can go out on stage and put in a hard performance night after night during heaving touring and long-distance traveling like Purple does is frankly amazing. Doing it while under the influence of a bad cold or flu is getting close to superhuman.

    The guy certainly loves what he does.

  12. 12
    Tony says:

    It was a fine concert. The band was shining (Ian Paice, what a drummer! Steve Morse and Don Airey, excellent as always and same for Roger) but Ian Gillan was very tired, it seems to me that he sang almost 50% of his parts. I think he should slow down… Opening the show with “Highway star” is kind of suicidal for a 65 singer. Same for the famous screamings, one or two per concert will be enough instead of dozen of attempts (for example, I think Rob Halford has managed to find a new way of singing since his comeback in Judas Priest).

  13. 13
    Roberto says:

    @10 until 2008 with its hig and low Gillan’s voice was ok, from that date on there’s has been few high and many low…that’s the difference…

  14. 14
    RobH says:

    To put the record straight, as someone who has seen almost every show the band have done since February 1996, everywhere in the world, I can say that Ian’s performance on this latest tour has been consistently his strongest in the past 3 years.
    Until he got a bad attack of gastric flu, he was performimg like a man half his age. Can you imagine what it must feel like to be on display in front of thousands of people when you’ve got a bad case of gastric ‘flu?
    Can you imagine what your throat must feel like?
    Most singers would have cancelled a block of shows, but Ian, like the consummate professional he is, soldiered through and got better.

    For the record, He does not, and has never, used oxygen backstage.

    I wouldn’t normally post here, but when I read some of the utter drivel written by certain individuals, it makes my blood boil!

  15. 15
    purplepriest1965 says:


    I tried to find some info about this “gastric flu”.

    It seems to me espescially with this kinda flue one should stay away from too much tension, work and so on.

    Drinking alcohol is very bad when trying to cure from it, btw.

    ” Performing like a man half his age”.

    To make one thing clear :
    I dont say he does not try to give his best on stage but…..

    In 1982, aged 37, he was voted best vocalist in one the UK rock magazines.

    Now he is 65. Indeed a very special thing still being there.

    But he is not 74.

    He is not singing like he was 30.

    I know this sounds very saracastic but I d like to stress the need for being a bit more realistic.

    I dont expect him to sing like he was in his 20 s or 30 s.
    Hell no!!!

    In Linz he chose to restrain himself and that helped a lot.

    Btw, Ian, congratulations if you really recovered from this terrible flu.

    Feeling abit(…)empathic, being under the attacks of Laryngitis and sinisitus for so long in a row.

    Still recovering, yours truly, Mark

  16. 16
    purplepriest1965 says:


    Some more info..
    Say Rob, I did not know he had this illness.

    How do you know?

    The story in wiki reminded me of Ians swimming in the Thames many moons ago.

    Could it be that it(Doing something dirty when being young) invokes a weak thing in someones health later awakening?

  17. 17
    Svante Axbacke says:

    Mark, RobH is the monitor engineer for Deep Purple.

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