[ d e e p P u r . p l e )
Deep Purple Mark 4
The Highway Star

Top of feature

Liverpool 1976
1976 UK Tour
Retrospective Review
Contemporary Review
A fan's eyewitness memories
A taper's eyewitness memories

DP 1976
The concert three days before Liverpool
Circus Magazine reports the split
Japan 1975
Bolin Interview Nov '75
Bolin Interview Oct '76
Bolin Interview Oct 7 '76

Discuss it
Message boards

Special features



Empire Pool, Wembley, London, 12th March 1976

This is Melody Maker's contemporary review of Deep Purple's first of two concerts in London, three days before their final show with Tommy Bolin in Liverpool.


Empire Pool - This review should have been written in the white heat of anger after seeing Deep Purple play at the Empire Pool, Wembley, on Friday night. But now several hours have elapsed, it's Monday morning and it doesn't seem to matter any more.

We learn the various reasons for the sad and dismal performance by the band: That they were suffering from jet lag, that Tommy Bolin was reputedly carried on stage to play, that the following night they redeemed themselves. But the fact remains that the whole atmosphere surrounding the Pool was so depressing that it aroused in me feelings of pity for the audience, pity for the musicians and pity for the stewards, who not only had to endure the caterwauling din that Purple produced in the name of rock music, but attempt to control and pacify the anguish and torment the music seemed to induce in the young fans.

Quite apart from the spectacle of once-respected musicians degrading themselves, the spectacle of unhappy youth seeking some escape from the seeming vacuity of their lives was worrying and depressing. The Empire Pool, an echoing, concrete bear-baiting pit, is eminently unsuitable for musical events. But this was hardly a musical event: Just a band out to prove it position on the prestige scale and an occasion to sell hot dogs and tee-shirts and all the tarry paraphernalia of rock has become. That some of the audience enjoyed themselves was undeniable. There were cheers, but there were also perceptive yells of "rubbish" during Tommy Bolin's main guitar feature. His playing was deeply disappointing, combining all the worst excesses of the fraudulent lead guitarist satirized by rock's own sternest critics, Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias. But there was no need for satire with this kind of cheap gimmickry. Unaccompanied, Bolin paused for minutes on end to egg the baying mob to further yelling, then savaged his guitar strings in a parody of the great, flamboyant guitarists who once vitalized rock.

I was sorry to see that great musician and gentleman, Jon Lord, involved in this mess, and his playing when audible through the PA, revealed flashes of his old love for jazz.

The only man who emerged with credit was Ian Paice, whose immaculate, ever-enthusiastic drumming, even in the most uncompromising circumstances, held the band together.

David Coverdale's screaming vocals were delivered with some heat, but didn't he yearn to sing something of quality and real soul and not all these cheap wine and downers anthems for a zombie?

Around the hall, while the band were winning the final encore by sheer brute force, I watched attendants struggle to retain a demented youth, while another lay slumped on the concrete floor.

Music should not dispense despair, it should bring hope and joy. There is enough stress in society generated by God knows how many forces, without rock music feeding the process, and peddling aural narcotics.

- Chris Welch, Melody Maker, March 30 1976

Thanks to Gord Jantzen

Donor Section

[ en-gb ] [ en-us ] [ de ] [ ja ] [ it ] [ pl ]


Subscribe to:
The Highway Star Update!

Participate in:
Purple discussions

Join the:
Mailing lists

Purple Tours
Tour Dates
Tour Reviews

Purple Music
Upcoming Releases

Sound Archives
MIDI Archives
Movie Archives

Other Sections
Frequently Asked Q's
Image Gallery
Purple Contributions
Special Features
Bios/Family Tree
Joanna's Gossip
Who To Blame