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Deep Purple Kick Off Japan Tour in Sapporo

Once again I had the privilege of seeing Deep Purple perform, this time in Sapporo, Japan on this past Monday night May 9th. I last caught them at London O2 in December, 2015 and as I mentioned in my review then, these guys are showing no sign of slowing down. In fact the 5 month break away from touring has re-energized them. Particularly Ian Gillan whose voice was very strong and clear on this night.

I made a last minute trip to Sapporo on Sunday and tried to track down Purple tickets but it’s really hard to do in Japan unless one can speak the language. And no online booking service there either it would seem, not from overseas in any case. So I took a chance and lined up early on Monday night at the Sapporo Geibunken Hall for tickets. Incredibly I scored a front row centre seat!! I couldn’t believe my luck, it seems there had been some VIP tickets that hadn’t been scooped up, and at that last minute I got lucky!

The hall was not large like O2 or Budokan, but it was a full house, packed with 2,200 appreciative Sapporo fans. As for me, I still couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to be up front and centre to witness Purple playing about 15 feet in front of me. They opened with Highway Star and then into Bloodsucker, and on that Ian’s voice in the upper register was very impressive.

From there it was Hard Lovin’ Man, Strange Kind of Woman (very nice guitar solo by Steve Morse), Woman from Tokyo, Vincent Price, Contact Lost, Uncommon Man, Well Dressed Guitar, The Mule (great drum solo by Ian Paice), Don Airey’s Keyboard solo which morphed into Lazy, Demon’s Eye, Hell to Pay, Perfect Strangers, Space Truckin’ and the closer – Smoke on the Water.

And as if I hadn’t been lucky enough to get the front row seat, at the end of Smoke I caught one of Ian Paice’s drum sticks!!! The guys came back on for the encore numbers of Green Onions, Hush (with some very nice keyboard and guitar interplay by Don & Steve), and the final song , Black Night with some nice bass work by Roger Glover. An hour and 55 minutes of great music put on by 5 men who look very happy to playing together.

There were no new songs yet from the upcoming album, but I would imagine those will be inserted into the setlists after the new album’s release (I believe they want to maintain the surprise factor in much the same way as they did with Now What?!). Looking forward to seeing Deep Purple again after that new album release.

Gary Halverson, Sapporo, Japan – May 2016



32 Comments to “Deep Purple Kick Off Japan Tour in Sapporo”:

  1. 1
    Gwain Pineda Marañon says:

    one of the best band in the world…DP

  2. 2
    Kim Peters says:

    Thanks for the review!

  3. 3
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Very similar if not exactly as towards the end of the last tour. Sure hope they change it up some when they hit the States. Come on boys, dig out some different stuff this go round. Especially MK7/8 material from previous albums….

    Getting quite exited about the upcoming album from the Living Breathing Deep Purple.


  4. 4
    John says:

    About that…did they ever finish the new album? I thought they were going to finish the vocals in April, but then we never heard any more about it.

  5. 5
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    Front row & centre?, I guess some people have all the luck. But then, I suppose it means I.G. has completed all of his of his parts for the new album, so it won’t be long before the new music is available to us. Yabba dabba doo!. Smiles to ya all.

  6. 6
    Kasper Kjærsgaard says:

    The original band?
    You mean Ritchie, Jon, Nick, Rod and Ian?
    They were the original Deep Purple.

  7. 7
    Hansjörg Sitner says:

    Well done mate…it has always been wonderful to see the Boys live (apart from one Show in Vienna when IG and RB didn’t even look at each other in the mid-eighties) starting from April 75 when I saw them for the first time…this year I will catch them twice (Austria and Germany) and even for my 13yrs old daughter it already will be her second DP Show…Keep on rocking and have a great Weekend from Graz

  8. 8
    Adel says:

    The crowds are getting smaller and smaller. 2200 fans is a very disappointing number for DP. They should tour less and halve the price of tickets and fill big venues. Also the set list is getting very old tired and predictable. A new album with some decent live songs is a must. Good luck guys…Ritchie is rooting for you.

  9. 9
    Dr. Bob says:

    I know how you feel. In 2007 I somehow managed to get 1st row seats to see DP in South Bend, Indiana. At the end of the show I was able to catch one of Ian’s drumsticks. It’s been enshrined o my office desk ever since.

  10. 10
    Theo says:

    If they keep playing this set there’s no need to catch them. The encores are so predictable.
    I will only go to another show if they play songs like Ted, Rapture and less mark II songs. There is absolutely no excitement/surprise in this setlist. And don’t tell me it are the improvisations, they are never as good as they were in the good old days.
    Just one word for this setlist: boring
    If I spend a lot of money (and prices are too expensive) I want to see a band that excites me.

  11. 11
    Ivica says:

    Happy new tour guys, maybe I’ll see you somewhere in Central Europe this summer
    I’d like to be on the setlist more songs Steve Morse era / Don also /:
    “Sometimes I Fell Like Screaming”, “Doing It Tonight,” ” Wrong Man”, “The Aviator,” Après Vous “,” Things I Never Said “….

  12. 12
    Woman From Tokyo says:

    Hello! Writing for the first time. I have just been to their show at Budokan.
    Ian’s high tone got better and better as the set went on. The crowd were awesome. They seemed really happy too.

    There is one question. Or favor, I may say.
    For non- English speaking crowd, Ian’s chat between songs are always difficult to understand. What was he saying this time? He was talking about a woman I think- probably it was the same in Sapporo? I really want to know! Thank you.

  13. 13
    Tommy H. says:

    @ 10, Theo:

    I understand your sentiments but attending a show is a completely different experience than watching YouTube. I don’t intend to teach you anything but these guys are not in their 20ies or 30ies anymore and to be honest, it’s quite ridiculous to be picky this time around. I think that everyone who really loves the band should go see them if there’s an opportunity (also if it’s only out of nostalgic reasons). Of course I hope that they continue as long as possible but when I think about all those great musicians (Keith Emerson was a hero to me) from the 60ies and 70ies who left the building just this year – man, it’s shocking and to some degree disillusioning. It’s not a matter of course that Purple is still around.

  14. 14
    John Grabowski says:

    Just sayin’.. Love Steve Morse.. As the guitarist of the Dregs..

  15. 15
    GaryH says:

    Hi Woman from Tokyo @12. Sorry but I don’t recall exactly what Ian said between most songs. What I do remember are the following:

    -At the end of Woman from Tokyo he said something like its great to be here in Sapporo, and then introduced the song Vincent Price.

    -At the end of Well Dressed guitar solo, he said the band had just come from the Himalayas but had not flown here, they had instead come underground like the Mule, and then started playing the song The Mule.

    -At the end of Hell to Pay, he introduced “the Admiral of the Fleet, Mr. Don Airey”, who did a keys solo and then into Perfect Strangers.

    Sorry that’s about the only in between song chatter I can remember.

    How was Budokan? Was it a full house?

  16. 16
    stoffer says:

    lets hope the setlist changes, basically the same the last ‘2’ tours….not good

  17. 17
    George Martin says:

    Face it, the set list is what it is. I have been asking the band to play Flight of the Rat and Smooth Dancer ever since Steve Morse joined the band. Bands by nature cater to the marginal fan rather than the hardcore fan. It’s like Ian Paice said to me on different occasions. You might want to hear those songs but for every guy like you there are hundreds of people there that have no clue as to where those songs came from. We have to play what people expect to a certain extent, if we don’t then the majority of the fans will be disappointed. I to would like to hear more of the Bananas album one of my favorites but I realize it’s not going to happen. Just be glad there still touring. Can’t wait for them to come back to America!

  18. 18
    Patrick O\'Lowrey says:

    Well the setlist are very boring in the last few years .
    They got wide range of famous songs,not only hard lovin man and woman from tokyo.Thats why I’m not going to see them on stage.No point to pay for ticket,and listen the same songs year by year.
    They sould do an official list of songs,from where the fans can choose 5-6 songs for the setlist.

  19. 19
    Dpfender says:

    I am glad they’re still touring. The set list sounds good to me. A lot of songs people want to hear were played back when the perspective albums came out so there’s usually a live version as well. It’s good to see Bloodsucker back and hearing Steve and Don play Lazy is never boring. At least nobody on here said they should hang it up!

  20. 20
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Sun Goes Down, Weirdistan, Out of Hand, Blood From a Stone and a few from the upcoming new album would be AWESOME! 😉

  21. 21
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    Oh and of course…. The Heavy Hitter Well Known Songs from the past….. gotta keep the masses happy!

  22. 22
    Rock Voorne says:

    Reasoning along the lines of Paicey is clearly quite absurd.
    So many great acts/bands/artists DO change that setlist around in a way he is implicating it would never work or attract enough people.

    Why then injecting songs like HardLovingMan, Bloodsucker, POH and so forth?
    Never heard people complaining about those relatively obscure(for the people outside the diehard club)songs being added to the show.
    Were there ever complaints from that group outside the diehardclub?

    It would have shown great strenght and confidence to ignore them if there ever were a substantial amount of them(?).

    It could have produced a greater variety of live albums and DVD’s as well.
    A good compromise, expecting them to be unwilling to experiment , could have been performing obscure sets and record them for official recordings.
    God knows how big their surprise could have been seeing those sets sell well.

  23. 23
    Ogre Turtle says:

    Hello there. My wife and I are old fans from 70’s. We went to 2 shows, one in Koriyama, Fukushima and the other in Tokyo.

    Ian G’s voice was much stronger than the Japan shows 2 years ago. So, the grade of the shows this year was much better and we really enjoyed the show.

    In Tokyo, we took the VIP package to meet 4 of the band members and see the stage setting. Here are some photos form the 2 shows to share with the fans♪


  24. 24
    GaryH says:

    Hi Ogre Turtle @ 23….some very nice photos you got there – very similar to how I remember the Sapporo concert but security there was so strict, I couldn’t take any photos. Thanks for these, a very nice souvenir to have.

  25. 25
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    OT @ 23:

    Dude, those are some great pictures. Best I have seen taken from the crowd. Nicely done. Really gets me exited to see them hopefully soon here in the States. Love the big screen in the back with the words from Hell to Pay. Did the crowd join in and sing it?

    Thanks for sharing those pics and,


  26. 26
    Ogre Turtle says:

    Gary, Tracy,

    Thank you very much for your comments. I was lucky in Fukushima that I could take photos while I was holding my small camera at my chest.

    Tracy, the words came on screen only for the main chorus part, so sing along was with more well known songs like Smoke, Black Nights, etc. even without words on screen.

  27. 27
    George Martin says:

    @ 23
    I agree awesome pictures! Can anyone deny Roger Glover is the coolest dude in the world?
    I don’t think so!

  28. 28
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    @ OT 26…
    I was only referring to the Hell to Pay chorus. Pretty sure the crowd knows SOTW and BN, etc. So my question remains…. did the crowd sing along to HTP?

  29. 29
    Ogre Turtle says:

    @28 George, thank you. I was standing near Roger. He is really cool. I met him at bullet train station, too♪

  30. 30
    Ogre Turtle says:

    @28 Tracy

    Belated reply. I would say most audience were not singing together, as it is rather difficult for non-English native people to sing along except really familiar songs.

  31. 31
    drakhead says:

    The impressive voice of Ian Gillan? Just Autotune!

  32. 32
    DeeperPurps says:

    drakhead! @ 31…..??? Please explain. I don’t understand.

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