From: Doug MacBeath <> 
Subject: Plymouth Review 14/2 

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about this show. The first show of the Purpendicular Tour, the first show I'd see with Steve Morse, the first time I'd see Purple without TMIB. The first time I'd ever been to Plymouth (though on that score, I'd finally taken up a friend's persistant invertation to visit). Christ, I hoped it would be good (I had tickets for three more nights...)This was 8pm Thursday 15th Feb, and I'd not slept since 7am the morning of the 14th.

Anyway, we got in, and went straight to the front. In fact, right to the spot where Gillan Used to set up his congas (but didn't any more). As I listened to the support (Pan Ram, a German band, better than some, worse than others), I tried to work out what to expect. I'd heard some bootlegs of the new line-up, and wasn't won over. I'd heard stuff by Morse from the Dregs, Kansas and SMB, and was impressed, but not sure if I liked his style, and I'd heard _|_. It took me a few plays, but having listened to each song on its own, I realised I not only liked, but loved the new album...

The lights dimmed...

Fireball came on... the new stage set-up took me totally by surprise, there was the guitarist less than 4ft from me (meant I got a plectrum). The guitarist? Sorry I meant THE GUITARIST. Yes, it took all of thirty seconds to become a MK VI (and Morse)convert. I was grinning, the band were grinning, and I could tell that this was going to be one HELL of a concert. >From the opening number,they went straight into Maybe I'm A Leo, Ted..., Pictures of Home, Black Night, (I think Woman from Tokyo was done about here - they seemed to miss it out and then go back and do it. It certainly wasn't 4th like at Reading). Anyway, on with Rat Bat Blue, Cascades, SIFLS, Mary Long, Purp. Waltz, No One Came, Rosa's, Smoke..., WABMC, SSMG, Speed King, Perfect Strangers and Highway Star (No Cisco until Reading).

Okay, enough fact, onto feelings.

It has to be said, I was a bit worried when Gillan got a monitor (or rather empty box for his harmonica's, and obviously a folder of some kind)Oh shit, don't tell me Gillan hasn't learned the lyrics yet? But no, I needn't have worried. This was to help him with the three real surprises of the night (songwise). Rat Bat Blue, Mary Long, and No One Came. I couldn't believe it. They'd gone back and dusted off some real gems. The grins got bigger. Gillan even made a quick joke of it all as he checked the first line of one of these older numbers in his folder (the only time he used it), miming the ducking down into the mist at Black Sabbath:-)

The band were a little hesitant, but played admirably (have I mentioned the smiles?). The fun they were having really got to the crowd - a good mix of young/old/male/female - they don't get much of this type of thing down there. Overall, I couldn't believe how good they sounded, how good they looked, how good it was to hear those old numbers, the new stuff, to see the band enjoy themselves so much...(I went out and bought two more tickets after this)

And afterwards...?
Well the whole band came out, chatted to the fans, signed just about anything you gave them, were really open and honest about anything you asked them. And then it was time for home. I looked round to get my friend, and couldn't see him. The bugger had was only on the Tour Bus, having been invited back to the hotel by Paice and Lord (well he was going to the whole UK tour.), but I was invited too :-)

Now this does not happen to normal people. And by now I was pushing 40 hours without sleep, but there was no way I was turning this down. It gave us a chance to ask some more detailed questions, and Steve, Rog, Jon and Ian P. were all very honest in their answers concerning the last few years. (Gillan had gone back to his home).

Overall, thanks for a great show, a great night, a great tour, a great year, and thanks for the drinks - these guys REALLY care about their fans.

Doug MacBeath

HTML by Svante Pettersson 1 Jan. 1997