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Polished is good, entertaining and enjoyable

Deep Purple live at Hard Rock Live (Orlando, USA 2014-08-30)

I’ve been to numerous Deep Purple since my first in 1987. I reviewed all the shows. And the band deserved a glowing review every time.

I’m not about to write a bad review, but it’s a mixed review. Good stuff first: I brought my wife and kids. My boys are 17 and 15 and love Deep Purple and ended up loving the show. We got to say hello to Internet Purple Maniac friends Rich, Julie and Glenn. It’s always good to meet personable, pleasant people who are also such perverse maniacs for the sound of that same one band you are. Great to see you! See you next time, guys!

I also laid eyes on Colin Hart. We had to wait in an area far from the doors but he was all the way up by the doors and talking to people. I left him alone. When they let him through the door I saw Don Airey give him a big hug. Later, Colin joined the sound booth which was right in front of me. I did manage to shake his hand and tell him I loved his story. He was very polite and friendly. Thanks, Colin.

The show. The setlist was the same. I’m not up for writing details on every song. The two best songs were Uncommon Man and Space Truckin’.

The sound was, at times, terrible. Most times it was fine, but that’s what you pay for. You expect it to be fine. But when I’m watching Don Airey play a solo on the videoscreen yet can’t hear it in the mix at all, I know there’s a problem. It was really muddy in sections and a song or two were damaged by the bad mix. Gillan’s voice was barely audible in spots. Many spots.

Unfortunately, that’s not all bad. Ian Gillan. Hmm. Ian Gillan is my favorite singer, he has been since 1973, and he’s a very significant part of my obsessive love for the music of this band. But his voice seems to have been deteriorating for awhile now. Tonight he mostly sang great, but when using the upper register he at times faked notes, he choked on notes, he skipped notes it seems he had intended to sing, and he arbitrarily started talking the lyrics instead of singing them. Nobody I was with noticed, so maybe I’m too critical. But some of the higher-pitched stuff had him singing like Joe Walsh. So those moments were hard for me.

Oh! If Deep Purple audiences in Europe and elsewhere are filled with 18-year-olds, the United States didn’t get the message.

This Deep Purple is super-competent and really, really polished. They get more polished every time i see them. Steve Morse has morphed Deep Purple into Kansas! 😉 Polished is good, entertaining and enjoyable. It’s not what I typically look for in an act, but when it’s done right it’s pretty amazing. That, the musicians’ competence and the roster of classic songs are the appeal of a DP show in today’s world. I’m sure that’s very enjoyable for some people.

review by Brad DeMoranville

16 Comments to “Polished is good, entertaining and enjoyable”:

  1. 1
    John Madric says:

    I much agree with these sentiments, but in fairness to the band, age plays a part, as does year after year of singing as Ian does. Musically the guys are brilliant – from a technical perspective. But the passion, hunger, drive, spontaneity, and free form improvisation belongs to their youth. These guys are legends, but it’s their/our past which we hanker for.

  2. 2
    LRT says:

    Hard to believe you saw the same band/singer as everyone else on this tour. I don’t know if seeing how they kick it before the show helps, but my experience sure was different. It was as if he/they had just woken up within an hour or two of arriving, seemed a little tired, but then came out on stage like animals. But what is easy to see, is a hater in disguise. 😀 Since when he even gone for the high register in years. What gives here?! It’s only a few spots and he clearly isn’t acting like it’s 1970. Adjusted in HLM, big deal.

  3. 3
    Steve Amaon says:

    That’s too bad…..one of the highlights for me at the San Diego show was Gillan’s voice. He sounded better than I had heard him in many years….considering the wear & tear factor…I would say perfect!

  4. 4
    Brad DeMoranville says:

    Maybe I’m just not considering the wear and tear factor. And much of it was excellent. But right out of the gate with Highway Star he seemed to be fighting with the song in spots.

  5. 5
    dirtydog says:

    Thanks for your review. I want to know you some things: it is not so that the venues in europe are filled with 18 years old – some 18 years old appear but most of the audience in Germany, Luxembourg, France are grown man older than 50 and most of them with grey hair – it is okay that the band tell us from the 18 years old but these are the guys in front of the stage the rest are the old followers.
    Ian Gillan (in the seventies shape) was the best rock singer and he still is very good and a real frontman, but he is 69, so we should be satiesfied with the great performances of IG we still get. And Steve: he don´t morphed Deep Purple into Kansas he saved Purple and now he is a great part of Deep Purple. Thanks Steve.

  6. 6
    T.J. Landry says:

    Howdy, Brad. I thought you were pretty fair in your review. This was my first Deep Purple concert ever, and I must say that it was stellar considering the age of the members. Gillan’s voice was iffy sometimes (which is to be expected), but I’m still blown away at how he nailed the “INTO THE FIRE” bit in the song of the same name. Leaving the concert, it left me wondering how I never got into the band sooner. In high school, I was always more into Zeppelin and Iron Maiden. Now at the age of 23, let’s just say that I’m on a Purple kick.

    My only complaint about the show had to do with the audience. People on the barrier looked like drones. If you’re going to be at the forefront, show the band that you appreciate them or give someone more deserving that spot. It’s frustrating to see legendary bands get out there and give it their all without getting the love and respect that they deserve.

  7. 7
    nikolai borisov says:

    Great to read a review by an old fan. I share the same interest and love for both the band and Gillan for about 25 years now. Still I keep asking myself wouldn’t it be better if they stopped milking the old cow cow… and while I love Purpendicular, to me the latest album is far from enjoyable, even though I hear it got “incredible” reviews all over the world. I was debating should I go see them aga6 this summer but I thought GIllan sounded pretty sad in 2007 so I kinda thought it would be better to skip.

  8. 8
    Hey Nonny Nonny says:

    A good and honest review.

    For me, DP died a long time ago and I feel they should have stopped many years ago and certainly when Jon Lord left. The sound just isn’t there anymore.

    They are without doubt superb musicians but Ian Gillan cant quite do it anymore (unlike Glenn Hughes who is arguably better than ever – even though he brought that awful shoeshine music to the band!)

    Time to say goodnight once and for all, lads…..

  9. 9
    Charles says:

    Thank you for this review! I totally agree with you and feel a bit uncomfortable about it.
    I am, too, a big fan. I happen to have the chance to live in Switzerland, where they tour very much. So I had the chance to see them about ten times in the last ten years.
    For me, Ian Gillan is THE voice which made me love a lot of music, the guy who introduced me into rock and other musical styles.

    I observe the same as you do, in live performances and through bootlegs and youtube: high parts sometimes not right, sometimes not sung, sometimes skipped, and he happens to talk instead of sing.

    Of course, he is old. Of course, I’m unable to do the same, even given the fact I’m much younger. But it is hard to watch him struggle that much.

    I do agree, too, with your statement about the band playing much more polished part. I love Steve Morse and the albums he played on – except abandon, but that’s only personnal 😉 – but they ain’t really surprising anymore, on stage, “just” really really tight. But that’s great too!

  10. 10
    Ivan says:

    Interesting review, and I agree with the Brad for the most part…this was my 3rd DP concert, and this time I brought my wife with me.

    She knew of Gillan’s monster voice (24 year old Gillan mind you) from my Jesus Christ Super star CD and she made a comment about the issues he had trying to hit the high notes.

    For me, as a fan since I was 16, I just cherished the moment. This was probably the last time I get to see them live, and I was amazed once again of the force that is Deep Purple.

    Also agree with Nikolai’s comment above that I just don’t buy the hype over “Now What”…Vincent Price is catchy, All The Time in the World and Uncommon Man are decent, but that’s about it…

    All in all, I was very very very happy to see them in concert again! Had a big grin on my face walking out, and a big THANK YOU to a band that has been a big part of my life for almost 20 years now…

  11. 11
    George Martin says:

    I was there and I thought the sound was great. Maybe it depended on where you where sitting. I was fifth row center and even the guy sitting next to me said he could not believe how good the sound was. Interesting.

  12. 12
    Victor says:

    Love the band! Love this version of the band. All comments are not without merit. This is, of course, Deep Purple, 2014. No way does Ian Gillan sing like days of yore. No way does the band have that edgy energy that was there in spades back in the day. However, beyond all our wildest dreams, their still here and that’s worth celebrating! Thank you Deep Purple! I saw the show at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA and was cringing when they opened with Highway Star and Into the Fire – if that doesn’t burn your vocal cords then what does? Mr. Gillan has some real balls to subject himself like that so early in the set. It did have it’s consequences as his vocal projection suffered throughout the remainder of the show. Did I have a good time? Yup! Would I go again? Yup! At this stage in the game, though, I would prefer to hear the tunes created from this version of the band, and, or tunes that are more suited to Ian’s vocal capabilities.

  13. 13
    Thunderous Jess says:

    Ian’s voice all comes down to these factors: 1) whether it’s rested or blow out (from a night off or consecutive touring nights); and 2) the sound system/size of the venue.

    I saw them a few days before this concert, and his vocals were better than they’ve been in almost 20 years! Then again, I’ve seen him on some nights when his voice was overtired and he needed to reserve it as much as possible.

    That said, he is 69 years old, so OF COURSE his voice isn’t what it was 40 years ago. Nonetheless, considering, in my opinion, he is the greatest rock singer of all time, even if his voice were only 10% of what it once was, it would still make for a good show – and I think we can all agree it is much MORE than just 10% of what it once was.

    As for Steve Morse, what can I say? A brilliantly gifted guitarist who will never fit in with Deep Purple musically as well as Ritchie did. On the other hand, Ritchie’s presence made the band miserable, whereas Steve’s presence brings them joy. No wonder, then, that Steve has now been in the band more total years than Ritchie!

  14. 14
    Scott W. says:

    Steve has been in the band longer than Ritchie. I wonder, if Zeppelin had replaced Page , or Sabbath replaced Iommi, if those 2 bands would function for 20 years? Hmmm…

  15. 15
    Del Ferguson says:

    I don’t know where you were sitting, but we were front row and the sound was great there. And Steve Morse has not morphed this band into Kansas. We saw Kansas last year and walked out. They were terrible. This is Deep Purple now. If you don’t like this style of their music, well I could say a lot, but it is what it is and it doesn’t please everyone. I happen to enjoy it. You apparently don’t. Everybody has there opinion. Too bad you didn’t enjoy the show like most of the people there. I thought they rocked.

  16. 16
    purplepriest1965 says:

    Saw Kansas last month.

    Yes, they are without Livgren and Steinhardt.

    I must admit it was my first time to see them, unfortunately.
    New is that singer Steve Walsh will also be going soon.

    I thought it was a very good evening, although a bit too short.

    Btw, why did my post on Mothers Finest get deleted?

    Should it have a DP link?

    It had because I said I went o it the same day DP played somewhere else…………..

    Dont be a sourkitty

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