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Bogus Deep Purple - Brief review of bogus DP 1980 concert in Long Beach, California
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Brief review of bogus DP 1980 concert in Long Beach, California

I was one of the unfortunate crowd who were "lucky" enough to have purchased tickets to see what was advertised as the return of "Deep Purple", sometime in 1980. Having not seen them before, I was anticipating an excellent and LOUD concert to remember. I camped out for hours beforehand to get the best seats and my tickets were second row, center. Cool, I thought, I'll be less than 10-20 feet from the stage. They were the best seats I'd ever gotten for any concert. Little did I know that the quality of the seats would be inversely proportional to the quality of the show. The concert was at the Long Beach Civic Auditorium, in Long Beach, California, about 25 miles south of Los Angeles. It was a medium sized theater (guesstimate: about 4-6000 seats) about a half mile from the ocean, with decent acoustics. On the night of the concert, I drove my cycle to Long Beach, parked and went in. I think there was an opening act, but I forget the name. It "may" have been a gentleman named Randy Hansen, who did an impressive Jimi Hendrix tribute, but I'm not positive.
    After a long delay, "Deep Purple" came out and started "playing", if I can use that term to describe their miserable talents. Although I hadn't seen Deep Purple before, I DID know what Blackmore, Lord, Paice, Gillan, etc. looked like from my vinyl albums and Creem magazines, and these turkeynecked goobers were NOT them. I kept thinking "this must be a joke, or another opening act." It wasn't. The crowd was somewhat silent (puzzled? polite? stunned? stoned? all of the above?) for the first 1 or 2 songs, and then they started showing their disgust. People started yelling "Get off the stage", "Go home" ,"We want the real Deep Purple" and the favorite: "You SUCK", and more profane expressions, all of which I wholeheartedly agreed with. The singer was either tone-deaf or retarded, as he kept smiling the whole time. I think they did about 7-8 songs, certainly not a long set, but 7-8 songs too many for that incompetent bunch of no-talent, dimwitted feebs. The drummer was awful. The singer couldn't hold a tune, and forgot some of the lyrics. I'm no singer myself (estimate: 1 on a 10 scale) but I could have done better than him, with peanut butter in my mouth. They were out of tune, out of sync, and just plain bad. Not even a "purposeful" bad, like maybe Spinal Tap, these guys were truly awful. The rest of the band was equally atrocious, and the concert was definitely a rip-off. I don't think tickets cost more than $5 back then, but it wasn't worth a penny. I got over being angry about 5-10 minutes in and just enjoyed watching the stuff being tossed at the stage.
    I didn't see any chairs being tossed (dammit), but any number of smaller objects went flying over my head at the band, specifically the singer. I watched as pretzels, cigarette lighters, paper wads, cups, bottles, and even one shoe ("why not throw both"? I wondered, waiting for the other shoe to land on the stage) went whizzing by, most of them unfortunately missing the members of the band. The only reason I didn't throw anything was that there wasn't anything to throw close to me. They did cut the act short and there was NO applause whatsoever. Those bozos left the stage and the lights went on after about 5 seconds. No way would the band play an encore, and no loss indeedy for its absence. Some people lit trash cans on fire when they left, and another miscreant stole a bag with some tools from my motorcycle during or after the concert. All in all, an almost entirely wasted evening, except for the fact that now I have a "world's worst concert" to judge other concerts by.
    I read some time later on that Blackmore and others sued and had an injunction issued, which prohibited the phony band from playing, or at least from playing using the name Deep Purple. They also had to pay the members of the real DP something on the order of $100,000, which seemed like a lot then, but not now.

I did get to see the real Deep Purple since then, at least twice. One time with Ritchie, and the latest time, about a year or two ago, I believe as the headliners with E.L.P. and Dream Theater. Steve Morse was in the band at that point, but it was still an excellent show.


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