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Splendid show at a packed theater

Deep Purple Delivers Splendid Show at Packed State Theater

Deep Purple delivered a splendid show at the State Theater New Jersey on February 11, 2023, in New Brunswick, NJ. The band was on fire, Ian Gillan was on top form, and Simon McBride projected such great chemistry on stage that it felt like he had been playing with the lads for years.

I miss Steve Morse and I was hoping that he would make a surprise appearance, especially since he will be touring the same region in a couple of weeks. In fact, I am going to see the Steve Morse Band at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT, on February 26, 2023. It is kind of strange that I am getting to see both DP and Steve Morse within a two-week span, but, ironically, in two different bands. Hopefully, at some point there will be a “proper” onstage changing of the guards between Steve and Simon, like what Jon and Don did. If there is one, those in the audience will surely be lucky to witness it. Steve is a great musician and such a nice human being; and Simon is an excellent guitarist, and he seems like a nice bloke as well.

Simon is a great fit for DP. He did a fantastic job and delivered a truly excellent performance. With a capacity of 1,850, the State Theater had great acoustics and was completely sold out. Unfortunately, we missed the first two songs and walked in as Nothing at All was getting under away. After a two-hour drive, we checked into the hotel (next door to the venue) and walked to a nearby restaurant where we had a dinner reservation thinking that we were well ahead of schedule. However, service was extremely slow and, regrettably, we failed to get out of there on time. The band had taken the stage promptly at 8 PM and, from what I was told, had already played Highway Star and Pictures of Home.

I went with a friend and we both brought our respective 13-year-old sons, neither one of whom had ever seen DP live before. As most kids their age nowadays, my son is not particularly into rock music. Thus, at first, I was somewhat hesitant about bringing him to the show. What if the band had an off day, I asked myself? Is that how I want my son to experience and, potentially, remember my favorite band? Thankfully, in the end I overcame my hesitation and decided to bring my son along as I worried that there might not be another chance for him to experience firsthand the magic of what I consider the best rock band in the world PERIOD.

Both my son and my friend’s son enjoyed the show immensely. I was thrilled that both boys got to experience their first ever (and potentially last) DP show with the band sounding great and in top form. The YouTube videos from people’s phones and floating around the web do not do justice to the band. The lads sound great, especially big Ian.

Our seats were fantastic. To my delight, the person seating next to me was Clif “Cooky” Crawford, who was Blackmore’s guitar tech from 1981-1988. It was great spending time with Cooky and his wife and seeing photos from his personal collection from both the JLT era of Rainbow as well as the DP reunion. Not to mention hearing some awesome stories firsthand from someone like Cooky who was not only super close to the MiB himself, but also close to other members of both the JLT era Rainbow and the DP reunion era.

I truly hope this wasn’t my last DP gig, but, even if it turns out to be, I won’t have any regrets; I got to see them one more time, this time, most importantly, with my son, and it was a splendid evening of music, indeed. Thank you, DP! You are amazing; absolutely amazing.


19 Comments to “Splendid show at a packed theater”:

  1. 1
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Thanks for the review, “father & son/daughter” rock gigs are something special. I never forget how my son’s eyes lit up (he was 12 or 13 at the time) when I took him to a Kiss gig (a band he knew nothing about except for their look) and they started the concert in classic Kiss fashion on elevated small platforms underneath the hall ceiling that slowly descended with them playing the intro to Detroit Rock City while all hell broke loose! And my daughter quipped after a Judas Priest gig: “Well, that was interesting from an anthropological viewpoint!” (Plus the unforgettable: “I actually knew a lot of the songs … parental abuse takes many forms!” : – ) ), but she did buy a T-shirt which she sometimes still wears in the office (“What, YOU went to Judas Priest concert?!”)

    I’m sure that Steve will make a guest appearance at one of the FLA gigs if he can make it in any way possible. And that the band will welcome him warmly.

  2. 2
    George Martin says:

    What can I say about this show? Amazing, simply amazing. Everything was perfect, no opening act and right at 8:00 lights go out and the show begins. Highway Star as usual was great, the greatest song ever in my opinion. Rather than go on about the show because how many times can I say it was great. I’d rather talk about the conversation I had with the guys at the meet and greet. First, I ask Ian Paice if there is going to be a new album anytime soon. He told me that they have already had a few writing sessions and they just need to get together with Bob Erin later on this year to record it. The album should be out by the end of the year or early next year hopefully. Also, I asked him about a possible live release from the touring this year and he said the problem with a new live album is they play so many songs because they have to that it gets to be a little repetitious and it might not be a good idea. I suggested do one show anywhere you want and call it “Things we never play” and have it consist of songs that have never been played before or rarely ever played like Smooth Dancer, Flight of the Rat, The long way round, Call of the wild, you get it songs from all of the Gillan/Glover albums that get ignored and believe it or not he said ” We have had that discussion and don’t be shocked if it happens”. I said that would be a dream come true. Can I make the set list? At this point I have probably seen Deep Purple around 30 times throughout the years. Anyway, while taking the picture with the band standing next to Ian I said this is the 5th time I have done this and I’m so glad for one last time and he responded “no not one last time until the next time”. All of these guys are so cool it’s amazing. Simon was really cool and Don and what can I say about Roger, he’s the nicest, coolest person I have ever met in my life. I told him this is the best night of my year and he said ” I guess it’s all down hill from here” laughing. One last thing, I was able to meet someone that regularly posts on this site. Ted the Mechanic, what a guy! It was like talking to myself, he has so much knowledge and love for Deep Purple like myself I could talk to someone like this all night. Ted I know you are reading this and I just want to tell you, you were awesome to talk with. To all out there if Purple is touring anywhere you can possibly get to go. They are still the best band in the world and I don’t care what anybody thinks! God bless them.

  3. 3
    Ted The Mechanic says:

    George @2,

    What a great discussion before the lights went down! I’ve been checking THWS since I arrived home from the gig. So awesome to meet with you and, again, have a discussion for the mutual love of this Musical Force since both of us were pretty much just forward of being out of diapers, you having 4-5 years on me.

    As I confirmed on a post between us when this gig was announced, I was hesitant to lay the cash out as a recent early retireree. You graciously pulled me over the magnificent Purple Mountain, by no means silver, rather platinum, and I scored my 9th row center orchestra seat.

    Steve Morse remains my top notch musician and human being. Still stressed of his having to resign from Purple. But with my prided objectivity with all of life’s subjects Simon blew me away with his prowess on all including Anya and Nothing At All among each and every song on the night.

    Big Ian, as always, blew me away with his not getting any younger (!!) pipes.

    Finally, my prayers remain with you on your upcoming procedure as you expressed, is positive plus!

    God bless!

    Ted :>

  4. 4
    Dr. Bob says:

    I grew up near New Brunswick, NJ, so it pains me that I couldn’t see them. I got to lucky see them when I lived in FL last year when they had a super short FL tour. But now I am on the west coast 3000 miles away wondering why can’t they do a stop in L.A. on their way to Japan.

  5. 5
    Uwe Hornung says:

    They could call the “things we never play” gigs the “Absolutely No Smoke On The Water”-Tour!!!

  6. 6
    franky21 says:


    We will see but I don’t think Steve Morse will make a guest appearance. As he said, he already played his last gig with Purple.

  7. 7
    Marcus says:

    The chemistry could be because Simon has been playing with Ian and Don separately for years.

  8. 8
    Orhun Yakin says:

    Here’s some nice footage from New Brunswick, NJ. Lazy has some “a head in front of a camera” problem but the music is there… Enjoy..




  9. 9
    Max says:


    The “Absolutely No Smoke On The Water-Tour” or at least a show in that vein to be recorded would indeed be a dream come true. Flight oft the Rat Bat Blue anybody? Yesss…

    Thanks for sharing the snippets of your talk to IP and the memories of the show shared.

    Here’s one more father’s story: Took my boys (then 15 / 8 years old) to see Ian Paice with Purpendicular. Both being drummers themselves they stood right in front of the stage for 2 hours. After the show Ian bowed down to hand my little boy his sticks. My son gave one of them to his brother later and told us: “It was good I stood right in the first row. I knew he would give them to me cause I am still sweet … Papa, that was the best day in my life!””

  10. 10
    Nino says:

    Not a daughter/son, but a brother and sister who don’t listen to heavy music at all and went last year to Deep Purple’s concert with me out of respect – they still talk about how cool it was to this day.
    I’d like to hear Rosa’s Cantina, The Aviator, A Touch Away (an octave lower, even more interesting, I think), Fingers to the Bone, Walk On, Doing It Tonight, Clearly Quite Absurd, etc. – I love these songs and I think that Gillan’s voice is quite consistent with them.

  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “We will see but I don’t think Steve Morse will make a guest appearance. As he said, he already played his last gig with Purple.”

    His last gig as a member. Unless relations have soured, which I’m not aware of, I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t want or be allowed to guest with them.

  12. 12
    Albania says:

    Uwe @1
    A special/surprise appearance by Steve during the Florida leg of the current tour would make lots of sense, especially when considering that the Sunshine State is his current stomping ground. The only thing that could get in the way of that is the fact that both bands are touring around the same time, and TSMB might be making its way up north as DP makes its way down south.
    Also, I appreciate your sharing your personal experience/perspective on “father and son/daughter” rock gigs. My son has been taking classical piano lessons since he was six. His eyes literally lit up during Don’s solo performance.
    Both Kiss and Judas Priest must have made huge impressions on your kids. I haven’t gotten around to seeing Kiss yet, but everyone that I have spoken to that has seen them has raved about the quality of the show’s production. It is on my to do list for this year.
    I saw Judas Priest on the double bill with DP back in 2018 and they put on an excellent show.

    George @2
    So glad to read that you also found the show amazing. Opening with such an immense song as Highway Star could be a bit tricky, especially for a singer, but it sounds like the band, and big Ian, nailed it. The set list that you suggest for a special live performance sounds incredible, and it would be indeed special if the guys decide to play something that has either rarely been played, or that has never been played before.
    Congratulations on spending time with them backstage and thank you for sharing the insight from your conversations with the guys. We toyed with the idea of trying to get backstage passes, but in the end ruled in favor of a relatively early bedtime since we had a roughly 2-hour drive back home the next morning for my other son’s U10 indoor soccer game.
    Finally, I am thrilled to read that there is no indication of the guys slowing down and that they will potentially record an album with Simon on guitar and Bob Ezrin at the helm. I hope that materializes, and that Steve gets featured as well.

  13. 13
    Albania says:

    Max @9
    Thanks for sharing your father/son(s) story. What a treat for your younger son to be handed the drumsticks by the maestro himself, and at the end of the performance, nonetheless. And how mature, selfless, and considerate of him to share such treasure with his brother. You must have felt very proud. I did notice several relatively young kids accompanied by parents at the State Theater/New Brunswick gig. It was certainly helpful that the show was at 8 PM on a weekend night and that there was no opening act.
    It would be amazing if the band were to hang around a bit longer for me hopefully to also take my younger son (almost 10) to a gig one day. He also takes classical piano lessons, but, unlike my 13-year-old that primarily sticks to the classical side, my younger son is already fooling around with various rhythms, sounds effects, etc. Not to mention, whenever I drive him to soccer, skiing, etc., he usually asks for rock music during the ride LOL.

  14. 14
    Max says:


    Albania, thanks for your kind words … and regarding bringing them kids along to a rock’n’roll show: it is never too early … 😉 My older son had to listen to DP on their orchestra tour in 2000 while the wife was still pregnant – and he still listens to them today! Two of us just saw them together in Stuttgart last fall. Attended shows of BN as well, even in garb as we do celebrate a mediaval festival each and every year here anyway … so the boys now treasure a drinking cup that Candice graced them as well. 😀 So enjoy – those memories will stick with them.

  15. 15
    Tony says:

    The things we never play show …..and then bring it on cd…… yes that’s something what the
    real Deep Purple fan is looking to……

    Is the wave of a hand and you’re falling
    As you turn don’t look away
    The spanish archer’s gonna make you pay

    Look it out

  16. 16
    Adel Faragalla says:

    My honest opinion is that the guys are just having fun on the road. Nothing more nothing less. They don’t need to prove anything and as long as the hunger is there and venues are filled, then the show must go on.
    After all there was born as a live band and they will depart as a live band.
    That’s why they are not like other bands who just call it a day. This is more like life or death to them.
    Keep rocking.
    Peace ✌️

  17. 17
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Yeah, I think for most of them, touring is the only way of life they really know, they are road gypsies. Ian Gillan’s idea of a good ending is probably to one day not wake up from his bunk in the touring bus.

    And what’s wrong with that, you are what you eat. Purple has always been about playing live and bringing the music to the people.

  18. 18
    Rock Voorne says:

    I do prefer small venues.
    I m not sure why the show was here, in earlier times it could have been a sign of decline.

    Ian Gillan in topform, thats something I did read a lot over the years and I always hoped it was so.

    Way back in Belgium, DP reunion year, PERFECT STRANGERS tour, me 20 years old and triggered a bunch of people from my village to go along.

    In the car it became clear they insisted on going to a place to eat/drink and I froze…..I wanted to be in front.

    They dropped me at the venue, I think, because I ended in front of Lordy and the rest ended in the back of the hall.
    Too many tickets had been sold and it felt scary, but we survived the show.

    Since then for years often I got in confrontation with friends who wanted to go as late as possible, so more often than I wished I was standing alone in the cold outside to get my place in front.

  19. 19
    franky21 says:

    I don’t think Steve Morse appeared at one of the DP shows. It would have been very surprising if he did.

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