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Deep Purple at Budweiser Stage, Toronto – September 2nd

I have been a long time fan of Deep Purple and seen many many shows. When I heard that they were playing Toronto with Alice Cooper and Edgar winter I jumped at the chance to take a road trip from Montreal to see them again for perhaps what might be the final time (gulp)… The venue is an outdoor amphitheatre located on the water’s edge and right beside the CNE amusement park. First things first…we got there almost three hours before showtime and there was absolutely no parking available whatsoever. I was told that the amusement park was doing it’s last weekend before closing for the fall and winter. All I can say was it was brutal. We did park and ended up walking for about 30 minutes to get to the venue. Oh well, it’s Deep Purple right?

The venue has a capacity of 16,000 according to their website. I doubt it was sold out (I could be wrong) but there were a few empty seats for sure. I must admit I was a little surprised that Deep Purple was paired together with Alice Cooper. I have also seen Alice many times and his show (theatrical effects and all) are a hard act to follow by any band. Nonetheless I kept an open mind. Edgar Winter was great. He did a short set including Free Ride, Tobacco Road and my favorite Frankenstein. His set was tight, his voice and musicianship were strong and his touring musicians were excellent. A great opener that was much appreciated by the crowd who’d already arrived in good numbers.

Next was Alice Cooper. I don’t know what to say really except that he was fantastic. His set included his classic hits like Billion Dollar Babies, Cold Ethel, School’s out and No More Mr Niceguy. He too surrounds himself with stellar musicians and his set left the crowd on their feet wanting more I must admit I had read a lot of reviews on this tour and there were reports of people leaving after Alice or getting bored watching DP and leaving etc etc. I also noted that Ian Gillan’s voice was rough through a few of the shows thus far. This was clearly not the case with Toronto. The opening song was..yeah you guessed it…Highway Star. Ian Gillan was smiling and his voice was on. The guys were laughing and smiling and I knew it was going to be a great set. There was a lot of energy both on the stage and in the crowd. Whatever was bugging Ian Gillan’s voice was gone and that was a great thing. Fireball immediately followed Highwaystar. The sound wasn’t very good for this song but the song was great to hear bad sound and all. Strange Kind of Woman was next and then Uncommon Man. I gotta say I like Uncommon Man but it totally killed the momentum the band had built up to that point. The pace picked up again with Lazy, Knocking and Pictures of Home. All three songs sounded great. Ian Gillan thanked the crowd for sending such positive vibes. At one point he went on one of his unintelligible talking rants with Steve Morse. He seemed to go one for at least a minute or two without pausing for air…..and Morse was laughing his head off all the way through it Next was Don Airey’s keyboard solo and into Perfect Strangers, Space Trucking and Time For Bedlam.
The band closed out the set with Hush and Smoke on the Water. There was no encore or rather no gap between Hush and Smoke.

I think it would have been fitting to give the crowd a chance to cheer DP back onto the stage one last time but it was not to be. I guess perhaps curfew had something to do with it because the show ended at 11 pm. I have been a fan of DP for many years and also, fortunately, a friend of Roger Glover for more than 30 years now. We were fortunate to see Roger, as well as Steve Morse and Don Airey after the show. Ian Gillan (no surprise) was not there nor was Ian Paice at the aftershow meet. Roger said that he loved playing in Canada and that he wanted to come back next year (great news indeed). I asked him about the tour and how he was holding up during their ‘ Long Goodbye ‘. Roger said he was pleased to be out with Edgar Winter and Alice Cooper. He also said that it was indeed their last ‘go around ‘ but that they don’t know when or where that final show will be. I asked him about if he was looking forward to any future projects. He said he will always be involved in music in some way either writing, performing and producing but for now he was enjoying the road again. Steve Morse and Don Airey were very gracious, signing things and taking photos with everyone there. After about 30 minutes or so the band had to make tracks so we did as well.

Final thoughts…: there were no band member introductions during the show nor were there any ‘ thanks for supporting us ‘ or ‘ it’s been great ‘ etc etc from the band with the exception of Ian GIllan thanking the crowd at the end as he always does. I think neither the band nor the audience wanted to think about the finality of it all, at least I know I didn’t. I am sure that the idea of this last tour is not something they want to think about, especially since their tours typically go on for more than one or two year or more. All I can say is I am grateful to have known such a great band in all its’ incarnations. I appreciate all of their music over the years and am glad they can still bring it to us live in a great way. . If you like Deep Purple then consider going out and giving them a last a send off to remember. It really is the last goodbye. Rock on everyone and long live Deep Purple.

Danny N
Montreal, Quebec

28 Comments to “Deep Purple at Budweiser Stage, Toronto – September 2nd”:

  1. 1
    bruce fairles says:

    We attended Toronto show…it was great. Too bad no views of Edgar on the screens…but he is great & voice still strong.
    Ian can’t hit the highs any longer (ie Strange kind of woman….).Child In Time was not on the set…too bad. Musicianship outstanding. Would have enjoyed drum solo from Paicey, great work from Alice’s drummer.

  2. 2
    Joe A Favinger says:

    I refuse to see them, after Gillan made his “Ritchie doesn’t play that well anymore” crap. Steve was the one who suggested that Ritchie play with the band ONE last time. Both camps are saying things are good, they’re on good terms. Well Big Ian-put your money where your mouth is ! After all Ritchie founded the band (along with Paicey and Jon RIP), named the band, defined their sound, and wrote most of the songs that they are still using. I know Blackers was certainly no angel, but neither was Gillan. Time to set that shite aside. For the good of the fans, some like myself, who have supported this band since 73-let Ritchie play. I am very serious about this. If the stance continues “No Ritchie”-I will not spend one more dime on anything DP-related. I believe I have spent enough over a lifetime to help support them.

  3. 3
    Peter Möller says:

    Eeh… but Ritchie’s playing with his Rainbow version last year and this year isn’t that good. His guitar playing has been light years better. So I agree on this with Big Ian!

  4. 4
    Chad Sapp says:

    Ritchie at his worst is better then Steve Morse without question. Steve Morse is a good guitarist. Blackmore is a guitar god.

  5. 5
    Don Berry says:

    This isn’t a competition. Steve was brought in because Ritchie made himself unavailable. Both guitarist have expressed respect and appreciation for each other’s work. As a long-time RB fan, I’d suggest DP fans do the same.

  6. 6
    Søren Skaarup says:

    What a load of crap, if you’ve seen footage of RB playing the Rainbow sessions last year you would have the opposit opinion.

  7. 7
    Søren Skaarup says:

    Chad Sapp, nope..was a guitar god.

  8. 8
    Joe A Favinger says:

    Søren Skaarup I have. He may not be as fast as he once was, but his “sound” is the Purple sound. Love Steve, no doubt. But we are talking ONE SHOW here.

  9. 9
    Danny N says:

    Ritchie has not kept in touch with any of his Purple mates for over 20 years now except Jon Lord when he was ill and of late, Ian Gillan so why now? Ian Paice said it himself that he doesn’t consider Blackmore his friend anymore because of the complete lack of communication after he left DP in 93. Paice said his door was always open but that he is not expecting Ritchie to contact him anytime soon. Evidently time does not heal all wounds I guess. To be honest I think Ritchie has been out of the game too long …as was evident when he played Rainbow songs with his folk band these past two summers. Sore hand and all he was a shadow of his former self. Steve Morse is a much more proficient guitarist at this point in their lives but yes Ritchie is responsible for having come up with the hits that people pay to see performed live. No Ritchie…no Deep Purple music as we know and love today. Roger Glover has said it many times…Ritchie is the riffmaster. Would I like to see Ritchie on stage with the boys one last time….oh yes I would….unfortunately though I don’t think either camp will go for it if push came to shove.

  10. 10
    Ted The Mechanic says:


    Opinions are like a-holes. Everybody has one.

    Blinders off and objectivity would allow you to see what a genius Maestro Morse is. And attitude is part and parcel of one’s sheer mastery of, in this case, the banjo.

    Open them eyes sir! :>



  11. 11
    NWO says:

    Well well well.

    First the concert. It was a blast in Toronto! The crowd was standing all night. Ian’s voice was as good as it gets in the pat 4 tours. The band was smiling and having fun! Probably the best DP show in the past 7 years! Alice was great and not to mention Edgar Winter who put on a fantastic show as well. The venue holds 16,000 there was probably 12-14,0000 there. That is alot more than any DP show in years. Last time out it was around 8,000 there and a much lamer crowd. Yes I am talking to you you seat and chair people. Get off your ass and ROCK! Yes there is a 11 PM curfew for music in Toronto unless you get a noise exempt permit, but those aint cheap and you better be playing Skydome (Er Roger Centre) to cough up that scratch. The fine is $10,000 per minute over plus the venue risks losing their liquor licence for the next event. So no one goes past curfew!

    Yes there is no parking! It’s TORONTO! Like being mad there is no parking in NYC! LOL!

    Ritchie vs Steve. Really? Cmon man. Ritchie was a guitar god. Now he is an old man. If you think differently then your ears are broken. But back in the day as they say, RB was the man. And no Ritchie at his worst sucks just like anyone else at their worst. Steve might not be as good but to put him down like that is just wrong and the ramblings of a fanatic…And one more thing for you Ritchie lovers (FYI – He is one of my all time favourites), he can’t tour anymore! It is one thing to do a few dates here and there, but quite a different thing to do a full tour. Ritchie can’t and won’t do that again.

    @ Joe – Say it aint so! LMAO!!! Ian also called him “Lionel Ritchie” Blackmore as well! LOL! And no they won’t play together because they don’t want to and there isn’t enough money to change their minds. So live with it or move on…

  12. 12
    Tommy H. says:

    I’m hearing and reading about that Ritchie/Steve discussion, who was/is better than the other again and again. I seems to never end. Everyone has his or her favorites but a discussion is not only pointless but insulting. They are both world class acts in their own right. I could give a damn about Ritchie joining Deep Purple, at this point in their careers it’s uninteresting after all even for once. Steve’s giving his all while being in pain, what more can you ask for?!

  13. 13
    Markoni Dalvekio says:

    Edgar was fantastic. Was so thrilled to see him in concert after all these years. His scat/guitar duel did get a little tiresome after the 6 minute mark. They could have shortened the scat to throw in ‘Raised on Rock’ or ‘Highway 61 Revisited, as Edgar kept referencing Johnny’s legacy.

    Alice was good, I am a fan, and great to see him too. I’ve found this before with Maiden and others – when you have 3 Guitarists turned up to 11 – you don’t really get much guitar at all, just a little lick slipping through here and there, but mostly a muffled sludge of overdriven humbucking crunch.

    Purple were very good. I personally would say Uncommon Man was a very welcome addition to the set, and felt it was a particularly heartfelt version. Time For Bedlam worked great live. Gillan sounded hoarse for the first two numbers, but then warmed up quite well. I wonder if he had a better warm-up routine would he sound better right out of the gate?

  14. 14
    al says:

    @1 Child in Time ??

    that hasn’t been played for centuries by the band! really?!

  15. 15
    Phil says:

    Anyway, back on earth…. Sounds like it was a good show. Great to hear. Thanks for the post Danny.

  16. 16
    Peter Neumann says:

    What a boring silly discussion. The whole Ritchie-Gillan discussion is so odd and unnecessary. Nobody is interessted in this. Come to Purple or stay away, as you like it, but we don’t Need this!

  17. 17
    mike whiteley says:

    It’s hard to believe.
    Even on what is being touted a Farewell Tour,it’s dragged down into the muck,yet again.
    Blackmore vs.Morse.
    There’s never been Lord vs. Airey
    Why is it that most who gather here dump on Steve for helping Purple to continue,but appreciate Don for doing the exact same thing ??
    Both Steve & Don are stellar musicians,and by all accounts,true gentleman.Both guys deserve respect.
    Jon & Ritchie were 2 founding members. Don & Steve are likely 2 of the last.
    None of us are sure when Deep Purple will end,but,I am glad it wasn’t in 1993.

  18. 18
    Juraj says:

    Yes I agree with Peter,it is non sence discussion.Looks like americans visitors are more critical as the rest of the world.I guess Purple playing similar all around the world,but in Nord America they getting some more negative critic.That`s my impression,when I am reading THS.Anyway I love the music from Nord America specialy from 60-70 teens and let`s see the great positive message which is holding on…

  19. 19
    Rost says:

    For my opinion there is no discussion who is who between Blackmore & Morse.
    Blackmore is DEEP PURPLE, unpredictable till the end, you never know what and how he will play. Please remember, Blackmore never played the same solo twice. Any of his solos are unique. You may love it or not, but its unique
    Morse great technically, but very boring and predictable. You know almost exactly how he will play the same song, the same as he played it 3, 5, 10 and 20 years ago.

    The last time I saw Purple in May 2016 and Morse was the man who killed greatness of this gig with his mostly the same boring solos.

    I attend Richie’s Rainbow shows in 2016 in Birmingham and in 2017 in London and both were great, much better then current version of Deep Purple.

  20. 20
    John says:

    Mike @ 17

    Interestingly I could put up with Bolin or Morse instead of Ritchie ,I would prefer Ritchie over either of them,but still followed him and Purple after he left the band . Purple,however, have never been the same since Jon Lord retired,he was the glue that held everything together .Don Airey is a fairly decent keyboard player,but not in same league as Jon .

    Everyone entitled to there opinions but for me it stopped being Purple after Jon.

  21. 21
    Noe Nunez says:

    I have a bunch of live recordings from the Perfect strangers reunion era and Blackmore’s playing and sound is horrible , look at the Come hell or high water DVD the guy doesn’t even want to be there, Blackmore is extremely unpredictable, people spend a lot of time and money to see this shows and for Blackmore to just say ” fuck everybody ” is totally unprofessional. Now on the total opposite Morse is always good, his playing goes from great to extraordinary and if anyone has any doubts just listen to the “live at the Olympia” live album, the music and energy really rivals the Made in Japan album, Steve Morse plays Deep Purple songs better than Blackmore ever could

  22. 22
    Ted The Mechanic says:

    @12 Tommy H and @17 mike whitely,

    So well expressed. Each and every musician is unique. In this ongoing comparison nonsense of the banjo players, I have to say I’ve appreciated both for their remarkable talents since I first heard both of them waaaaaay back in time.

    With that said, The Dixie Dregs are soon to announce 2018 dates with the original lineup out of the University of Miami. Anyone not familiar with Steve outside of Purple, go see them as if seeing the likes of Mahavishnu Orchestra….

    Ted :>

  23. 23
    Dave says:

    Noe Nunez gave me quite a chuckle…. I’m sure if he reads his own words, HE may laugh…… anyone care to carry this on? No?..thx…….. comparing MIJ to reunion or anything post, please!!! You are a funny man indeed!

  24. 24
    Adel says:

    Hi Guys
    I love all your debate about who is better in current form Richie or Steve.
    To honest with you guys its all hypothetical as the only way to judge how good Blackmore is to put him back with DP on a string of extensive tours like as they are doing now.
    This extensive tour schedule is enough to kill off any young and fit guitarist.
    The guys are milling the cow very hard before retirement and they are only doing a straight A to B style safe concert without any improvisation or adventurous set list.
    And of course Ian Gillan is notoriously know for making silly comments about Ritchie and winding him up so what’s new.
    I would love to see Blackmore playing with Coverdale and Hughes as MK3 as its more likely to happen than Richie joining Gillan on the same stage.

  25. 25
    Kurier Warszawa says:

    only DEEP PURPLE only LIVE ! Perfect

  26. 26
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    I think if DP allowed RB to play that single concert with them that he seems to crave, then I guarantee RB will start by playing ‘Child In Time’… then follow up with ‘Speed King’… &/or any other 1970’s/80’s DP song that IG’s voice is no longer capable of singing…

    If we haven’t learned by now, then we probably never will….

  27. 27
    Oliver Kling says:

    Blackmore is just the shadow of the musician he used to be.

  28. 28
    Chip says:

    What a tired old conversation. Instrumentally Deep Purple is a top notch unit right now. Infinite is a great rock record…better than anything Ritchie has put out in decades. Ian is not quite what he used to be vocally but few singers are at 72. Ritchie doesn’t want to play rock music anymore and the recent stuff is just a kind of pathetic money grab.

    Ritchie should stick to what he likes and leave the rocking to Steve and the lads who do a right proper job!

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