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Deep Purple at the XFinity Center, Mansfield, Massachusetts, USA – August 27th, 2017

Last Sunday evening I attended the Edgar Winter/ Alice Cooper /Deep Purple show at the XFinity outdoor amphitheatre, about an hour’s drive south of Boston, Mass. I know a lot has already been written about Purple’s current USA jaunt in recent reviews here, but thought I would add my 2 cents worth of perspective just for good measure.
First up at 6:45 pm were Edgar Winter and his excellent band who played all their big hits: Free Ride; a cover of the Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash; Rock & Roll Hootchie Koo; a great vocal call / guitar response on Tobacco Road; and Frankenstein. Edgar showed himself to be a very talented multi-instrumentalist, very impressive. 45 minutes of enjoyable, well-played musical entertainment. I was pleased to have seen Edgar perform this night, a real treat.
Next up at 8:00 pm on the dot was Alice Cooper. Lots of theatrics, showmanship and guitar-shredding; and very loud, too loud. Apart from a couple of big hits (Eighteen and School’s Out), I found the rest of his show interminably long. I do however caveat my statement by the fact that I have never been a fan of Alice’s music – I have never owned his records, so perhaps I am a bit biased in this department – the crowd did seem to appreciate his 70 minute show. At the end I overheard a comment from a nearby concert goer to the effect that Deep Purple would have to work very hard to top Alice’s show.
Well at 9:40 pm Deep Purple arrived and brought their A-game with them. Perhaps the band had been monitoring some of the show reviews, perhaps they had settled into this particular combo-tour package format; whatever it was, they came on strong this night. Highway Star was the opener and Gillan in his Popeye T-shirt was in pretty good voice for the song. On Fireball, as others have remarked, Gillan struggled to keep up with the song’s fast tempo and thereby missed a few lyrics. Purple might want to re-think whether in future, this is a good song to retain on the set list.
Next up was Strange Kind of Woman which I also think might be best retired in favour of other songs from the Purple catalogue. Though the riff and vibe of the song might be crowd pleasers, Gillan & Morse’s call and response is no longer the stuff of legend. In fact I was far more impressed with Edgar Winter and his guitarist’s Tobacco Road exchange – Edgar’s vocal range and scat singing is stronger, as was the shredding energy of his guitarist.
One thing I noted about the show by this point was the poor quality of the sound system. Gillan’s vocals though seemingly quite strong, were diminished by distortion and volume quality. I did notice something similar during Alice Cooper’s show, so perhaps it’s the venue’s P.A. system which is the culprit. I also noted that Gillan did seem genuinely happy and smiley this evening – no curmudgeonly grumpiness as has been reported in other reviews.
On with the concert….Uncommon Man was then introduced by Gillan as “to the memory of our beloved Jon Lord”. Steve Morse’s guitar intro for it was a lot more raw and hard than in previous shows I have witnessed. The song then morphed into a very majestic sounding performance which was very well received by the crowd. Then came Lazy which is a song I have never generally liked all that much on record nor in concert. Tonight however I actually enjoyed how it was played – I tapped my feet and bopped to it for the first time that I can ever recall – due in part no doubt to the very good energy by the band. And again Steve’s guitar seems to have taken on a more raw character, more crunch and less noodling. Perhaps his problematic wrist has forced him to alter his playing style. Whatever it is, I enjoyed his playing this evening, more so than in past shows.
Knocking at Your Back Door was the surprise this evening for me. It’s the first time I have heard it at a Purple concert since the Mark 2 reunion show in Montreal in 1985. Ian Gillan’s voice was great and the whole song came across very well on stage. Then came a stirring performance of The Surprising from the new album – Ian’s voice was perfect on it. Next was an Airey keyboard solo which led into another strong performance by Gillan and band on Perfect Strangers.
Then in rapid-fire succession came Space Truckin’, Time for Bedlam, Hush and Smoke on the Water. All well played and well received, however the band dispensed with the usual Smoke sing-along, due possibly to time constraints. Nor was there an encore performance per sé; Hush and Smoke were all rolled into one to finish the 80 minute show. Actually I have no issue with this, the standard show encore concept is really such a contrived performance vehicle these days….everybody expects it. Closing with Smoke as was done this night left the crowd happy all the same. The show ended just before the clock struck 11:00 pm.

So what was different tonight versus standard Deep Purple concerts? Yes a bit shorter, a few less songs and not a lot of soloing. The only fairly lengthy solo on this night was Airey’s intro to Perfect Strangers. Nor was there a drum solo by Little Ian, perhaps that’s due to his recent health scare. I would however have liked to have heard more tunes from the new album, especially Birds of Prey, but that’s a small gripe. The band did seem to be happy playing, even though they were restricted by time. I have attended several other Purple shows in past few years and did not feel tonight’s overall performance was any less worthy than previous outings. In fact I was suitably impressed with Gillan’s performances and Morse’s rougher-edged guitar work. The 19,000 or so attendees at this night’s event also seemed to be very appreciative of Purple’s performance.

Gary Halverson, September 2nd, 2017

19 Comments to “Deep Purple at the XFinity Center, Mansfield, Massachusetts, USA – August 27th, 2017”:

  1. 1
    D'ablo Bicasso says:

    The best show is always backstage 🤘🏻✨🎶

  2. 2
    Bob Wolstein says:

    Thanks for the review. I would have teally enjoyed Behind your Back Door if they played it last month in LA. I agree with you concerning Fireball as well. No One Came or Into the Fire would have been be my favorite replacement.

  3. 3
    Michael Quinlan says:

    Quality review, maybe I’m biased, I agree with you on Alice and on your views on the Purple songs you mentioned

  4. 4
    Moe Cullity says:

    Only one song from Infinite (Bedlam) at the concert in Toronto (Sept. 2nd).

  5. 5
    Scott says:

    I’m with you on Birds of Prey. It is my new favorite song and the versions they were doing on the pre-American tour sounded fantastic. Glad you enjoyed the show as I did here in Las Vegas.

  6. 6
    Adel says:

    Closing the show with SOTW is a statement of lack of adventure and keeping things safe.
    I don’t know who writes these reviews and what is their relation to the THWS web domain but it’s not that difficult to create a live concert link where people leave proper unbiased reviews and send pictures of themselves really in the show!!!!

  7. 7
    Rikk Desgres says:

    It was a fun show to watch.

  8. 8
    Micke says:

    @6 Adel, you really are something.. always negative.

  9. 9
    GaryH. says:

    Adel at # 6….I can assure you that I am not beholden to anyone, not Highway Star, not Deep Purple. These are my personal views 100%.. Tell me Adel, what other motivation might I have for writing whatever kind of review, whether positive or negative?…..and tell me Adel, what is particularly problematic with this review in your opinion?

  10. 10
    GaryH. says:

    Adel at #6.

    Me again!! Sounds like a great idea to me, thanks for that excellent suggestion!

    If you would like to help me pay for my concert tickets and my travel expenses next time, I will gladly create a link for a future Purple show from which I will happily post my ugly mug at the performance for all to see! If you’re still interested, I will send you the link to my Paypal account and you Adel, could be my first crowdfunder!!

  11. 11
    Chip says:

    Adel has sniffed out the conspiracy to write inaccurate reviews (or reviews you may not agree with) Thank you for revealing the demonic plot by the HS staff and fans….


  12. 12
    Lovely Lady Cakes says:

    Hahaha! The comments are entertaining to read! Excellent review by the way, Good job! xx

  13. 13
    Adel says:

    Miche @ 8
    As a long life DP fan who has attended several concerts i challenge you if you can ever find a DP concert which has ended with SOTW. So it’s not a statement of negativity it’s more a statement related to facts if I say that they were lacking adventure.

  14. 14
    Stephen Graham says:

    Paris, ’87.
    Well, to be honest it ended with a volley of chairs and boo’s but Smoke was the last song started….
    Plenty of shows have finished with SOTW.

  15. 15
    Adel says:

    Gary @9
    There is nothing wrong with your review but it’s more geared up for a professional cover review of a magazine or a website and not really an ordinary fan base link.
    The way you make comparisons with other recent concert shows and crowd reactions is what has driven me to ask about the background of the person and their links to the THWS.

  16. 16
    Adel says:

    Gary @10
    I wish I had the extra cash but I will raise a glass or two in your honour tonight.

  17. 17
    Stephen Graham says:

    “There is nothing wrong with your review but it’s more geared up for a professional cover review of a magazine or a website and not really an ordinary fan base link.’

    I’m not at all sure what you mean by this. We at THS do not operate some sort of filter. If we get a review we publish it, as long as it is relevant.

    Only spam comments are not published, though we do run a modicum of moderation for our own sanity.

    Simple as that really. No conspiracy.

    It has been quite a delight to have people take the time out to review their experience.

  18. 18
    GaryH. says:

    Adel @ # 15 & 16.

    That’s just my writing style, I enjoy putting in the time when drafting reviews of my favourite bands’ shows.

    I had a couple of beers this evening too and thought of our little exchange here. Its all good. Cheers too!


  19. 19
    Adel says:

    Stephen Graham@17
    Thanks for your reply.

    I never implemented a conspiracy at all as everything is all out on the open as we live in the days of YOU TUBE.

    As you are part of a group running this website THWS then you have duty to keep if a pure fan base website and not to be used a commercial tool.

    I hope to get the chance to publish my own impartial concert review of DP at the Lonndon O2 area later this you in the UK as I will be their to bid my farewell to the band on their long goodbye tour.

    Have a great day

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