And so the Purple tour bus parks up in Glasgow once more.
Lizzy warmed the audience up nicely, delivering a very passable imitation of the band in their prime. Sykes & Gorham are still a formidable guitar partnership, and Coverdale could do a lot worse than plant his mic stand between this pair to add a bit of much-needed blues swagger to the ‘Snake. Styx have come in for a bit of stick on this tour, but no complaints here. An excellent set, well received by an appreciative Glasgow audience. OK the (Scots-born) keyboard player is a bit OTT, but his appearance recalled a certain Mr Colin Towns . In my opinion they proved a good foil for Purple - a good “name” band, but sufficiently different in style to allow little comparison with the headliners. As Gillan said, Purple have learned from the Skynyrd tour.
And so to the main attraction – quite possibly the worst dressed band in rock‘n’roll. Deep Purple shows have become a familiar and comfortable biennial habit, but I never thought that in 2007 they’d deliver one that was up there in the top 2 or 3 I’ve ever seen them play! They were truly magnificent – and yes, rumours are true, Ian’s voice sounds better than it has in 2 decades.
Steve seemed to have some problem with his on-stage sound early on, although it wasn’t obvious out front. Some banjo players might have thrown the proverbial wobbly, but Steve smiled & played through it. Set list as elsewhere, with highlights "Rapture Of The Deep”, “The Battle Rages On” and “Lazy”. Yes, it’d be great to hear more from the Morse-Airey period, but this band can play anything from the back catalogue and make it their own (wouldn’t it be great to hear Steve tear through “Burn”?). Their overall power was hugely enhanced by the reduction of extended solo spots, allowing the songs to stand on their own merit. “Instant Live” recordings were made just for nights like this. One minor quibble - can someone have a word with Ian, and get him to stop singing over Steve’s “Highway Star" solo?
Credit to the sound crew too: all three bands had possibly the best concert sound I’ve heard outside of David Gilmour, with the added bonus that Purple were wonderfully loud! W hen do tickets go on sale for 2009?
p.s. Is the Hammond possessed with the spirit of the Lord? Don’s not just starting to sound like the great man, but, more worryingly, with that beard, he’s starting to look like him circa 1970. Watch out for dark glasses & pony tail in future tours. And has he inherited the Black One’s celebrated spotted shirt?
review and spooky insinuations: Robert B Brown
UK tour reviews