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Los Angeles Times - Thursday August 21, 1980

The New Deep Purple band, which includes only one musician ever associated with the famous British rock group, drew enough curious and confused fans Tuesday night to fill two-thirds of the 9.000 available seats at the Long Beach Arena. The audience response wavered between docile acceptance and enthusiasm during the 55-minute set.

While Purple fans accorded the group the traditional match-held-high greeting and cheered (however weakly) for an encore, there were no cries for more at the end. Even this degree of support seemed surprising however, in view of the composition of the band and its atrocious playing.

The concert became something of a cause celebre Monday when Deep Purple (Overseas) Ltd. took out an ad in the Times stating that Ritchie Blackmore, David Coverdale and other noted Purple alumni would not be appearing at the Arena.

The lineup on stage Tuesday night included Rod Evans, who was Purple's lead singer from 1968 to 1970, and four little-known musicians: guitarist Tony Flynn, pianist Jeff Emery, drummer Dick Jurgens and bassist Tom DeRivera.

Some members of the audience Tuesday seemed unaware of the pre-concert controversy about the band's makeup. "This is ridiculous," cried one young man. "That's not Deep Purple up there." A woman who gave up on the show after only 10 minutes had been better informed, but bought tickets anyway. "I wanted to see if they at least sounded something like Deep Purple. They're not even close - it smears the name of the group."

The band's playing was so sloppy that, though I believe it performed nothing but old Purple songs, I can't be sure. The group got halfway through one of my favorites "Woman From Tokyo," before I realized what it was. I couldn't even identify a couple of others, though "Highway Star" (the first song), "Space Truckin'" and "Burn" were (barely) recognizable.

Tempos constantly went awry, all sense of dynamics was absent, and the long guitar, organ and drum solos were pathetic. On top of everything, Evans has a flat, leaden voice that didn't do justice to his material. With his black tank top, tight black pants and short hair, he didn't even look the part. Flashy laser light effects couldn't hide the fact that the whole thing was a sham.

Terry Atkinson

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