Almost a year of waiting and here we were again. I have to say last time I saw the chaps at Wembley, they were blown away by Skynyrd and performed what appeared to me one of the most lacklustre sets I have seen.
review: Charles Ashmore, photo: Jackie Goodwin
Well here we are, it is Sunday and the ears are still ringing!!!
Wembley Arena has been refurbished and the old smells and dark corners have been removed and revamped for the better.
Sadly, the sound did not seem to me to any better particularly compared to the Nov 2004 DP gig.
Highlights, in no particular order: Lazy, The Battle Rages on, Rapture of the Deep and Paicey's cameo drum solo.
Lowlights: I have to agree with some of the other reviews that find the triple bill approach a little offputting as it reduces the time that the headliners have on stage.
review: Ian Surridge
What an experience. I just got back home to Stockholm, and I'm still excited by the show two nights ago. I was screaming and jumping about in the fifth row, centre of the scene, and with everyone on the front four rows deciding to sit firmly down for the entire night I gotgreat contact with the bands.
The evening started off pleasantly with the modern incarnation of Thin Lizzy, and they played a solid set featuring the best drummer of the evening. Eight o'clock, enter Styx. I've never seen or heard them live before, but I did know some of their studio recordings. Blue Collar Man is a standard in my iPod playlist. Not having any expectations on this band, they made a great impression on me (I've seen some negative reviews of them that I can't agree with). Great showmen giving a playful but yet hard rocking performance. 'Miss America' was a real experience and 'Come Sail Away' sounded better than I've ever heard it. The keyboardist was the liveliest person on stage all evening, and also offered plenty of musical skill, and incorporated some classical music in his solos, something I miss in the current Purple shows. I'm now plowing through Styx's "Gold"-collection CD, which I purchased within a day of the show.
Having heard recordings of Purple shows were Gillan is sometimes really struggling to get through his parts, his performance was my biggest concern before the show. But WOW. Without a doubt he's now singing better than he's ever done since the 1984 reunion. I'm wondering what might've happened.
To clear things up with Gillan and the steward, this was right at the beginning of the show, and people around me were standing up with their cameras and phones, taking lots and lots of pictures. The steward ran around right and left and angrily told people to stop photographing and sit down. Gillan told him once to leave the area (don't remember his exact words) but when he continued, Gillan walked down from the stage to him and said "Fuck off!". Nice rock'n'roll momen! Made me think back to the 1972 Denmark performance were roughly the same thing transpired during the opening song. Kudos to the steward though for giving Gillan a slightly ticked off edge for the rest of the evening.
review: Niclas Hanzon, photo: Jackie Goodwin
Thin Lizzy were workmanlike and proficient but lacked any kind of stage presence. I've seen tribute bands with more passion for Lynott's music than Thin Lizzy themselves.
I have a soft spot for Styx, who didnt really fit in with the classic rock feel of the night and outstayed their welcome a little, forgetting that for once they weren't topping the bill! However, its twenty years since I saw them (playing largely the same set it must be said), but with a new energy. Thye've come in for a bit of a kicking from Deep Purple fans which although understandable, is a bit of shame. I'm sure they'll be back and maybe headline Wembley again!
The stars of the show were just brilliant. Never playing 'this stinking hole' again? It didnt spoil their performance, and Airey and Morse between them dazzled, although it's unfair to pick out individuals. Very generous of them to let Tommy Shaw join them for 'Smoke On The Water' and I liked the drive he gave with the extra guitar. Yanks sticking together maybe?
Glad you have this facility by the way...there are no forums on the official site!
review: Mike Sexton
Wembley Arena on Saturday 28th April was the first time I have seen Deep Purple live, despite having seen all the current members (except Ian Gillan) in their various bands during 80’s. Like many other people I have all the studio albums, all the DVDs, most of the live albums, and a few bootlegs, so was a little apprehensive of the band not living up to my expectations.
Styx did admittedly almost overstay their welcome with their rather long set. Whether you like this band is a matter of opinion, but give respect where it is due, for the facts state they are an accomplished and experienced band who have been around, in their ‘Styx’ guise, almost as long as Purple. They were visually entertaining and audience friendly too, with the revolving keyboard being skillfully spun and played simultaneously, and Polaroid pictures being taken of the band onstage then flipped out to the jostling fans in the front rows. Their fans, and there were many of them here tonight, showed their appreciation for a slick, tight performance of pure melody and rock. I liked these guys, for they were bubbling with energy and had an infectious enthusiasm to entertain even after more than 35 years together.
But we were here to see Purple, and when Styx closed their set it was to a mixture of appreciation and anticipation of what was to come. The short wait was filled with some swift rearrangement of the stage equipment and for the first time I felt a sense of excitement and anticipation amongst the audience.
Suddenly the spotlights bathed the stage in a purple glow and the tension was cranked up another notch. Then the stage lit up and a thunderous drum intro launched us into ‘Pictures of Home’. We were off. Instantly apparent to me was the feeling that this band were here to have a good time. The sound was initially a little muddled but quickly sorted itself out.
Deep Purple are a happy band again. Long gone are the Blackmore days of anguish when the mood would change not only from night to night (no pun intended Candice) but from song to song. But again, give credit, for much of this set consisted of Blackmore-inspired songs, written perhaps during his scowling and darker moments.
‘Rapture of the Deep’ was almost mandatory, for it is after all the name of this World Tour. With its infectious Morse guitar melody, and dare I say Rainbow overtones, this song is a new classic which the audience, including myself, embraced. The defining moment for me however was ‘The Battle Rages On’, for its sublime anti-war theme seemed so poignant and relevant to these recent years. I think the song has become a latter-day Purple anthem, a new ‘Child in Time’ for the modern world. Played to perfection, it was almost overwhelming with its heavy guitar riffs and brooding solo, and was sung impeccably and powerfully by Gillan.
I came away happy, slightly deaf, but above all smiling. And for me that’s what music is all about. Long Live Rock and Roll.
review: Martyn O'Keefe
UK tour reviews