Deep Purple
The Astoria, London. January 17th 2006
page two

We've been flooded with review of The Astoria show. Here's another batch which Simon has edited down, with fuller versions slated for the next issue of Darker Than Blue. (all photos are by Michael Richards)

"Perhaps its the breadth of their style that has served them so well. Certainly, the guitar solos are there, superbly managed by the hands of Steve Morse, but it's the piano and organ solos that really capture the imagination. Don Airey plays his keyboards with a gorgeous lightness, sometimes delving towards honky tonk and funk, raising a laugh by leading from an epic solo into a few sneaky bars of Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner." Sophie Heawood / The Guardian (sent by David Hobbs)

"After Pictures Of Home. people tried to work out what came next. I saw one Japanese fan in the crowd jumping up and down as he recognised it as the "bonus track" on his version of the new album - bummer! I, like most others, hadn't heard it. The sound mix wasn't too hot, but as I was at the front, it may have been better to others further back (it wasn't - apparently the Astoria sound guys were doing it; clearly they need more practise. Ed!). Living Wreck was a real high point for me. We then got a chunk from the new album - showing that the band have confidence with it. (After) Lazy and Perfect Strangers I thought that as far as Rapture was concerned that that was that. How wrong! Junkyard Blues up next - very nice. If you missed the show I urge all you to SERIOUSLY consider a trip to Europe this year to catch a show or two - you will not be disappointed." Steve Dunbar

"I first saw the Morse line up at Brixton on the '96 tour and it was an excellent show. So the set list at the Astoria was a welcome return to those days - loads from the new album, a welcome return for 'Ted' and 'Screaming', and best of all 'Living Wreck'. For those of us who avidly collect the bands live shows something I don't think we've ever heard before . Like many I've been frustrated at the 'greatest hits' nature of the shows over the last 4 years, (but) I think when this set is 'played in' we'll see some truly great performances. Could I be cheeky and also ask for a 30 minute 'Mandrake Root'!!" Steve McGrath.

"Ian Gillan had problems with his mikes throughout the first part of the show but never lost his cool over this, even managing to praise the crew. As is often the case Deep Purple tracks come out so bloody good in the live environment and all of the (new ones) were superb, but especially Wrong Man and Before Time Began - the latter surely destined to be a classic? The set list should please everybody and I reckon if you don't like it (then) you're the sort who'd moan about your luck winning the lottery when it wasn't a roll over week! " Geoff Quade

"To me, after the first couple of numbers, the rest of set stuttered from song to song. The new material (often) has a semi decent riff, and then gets lost in unnecessary time / progressive chord changes. The highpoints for me were a stonking Perfect Strangers and Sometimes I feel Like Screaming. Steve Morse nails these songs wonderfully - superb stuff! I think they still have a following that merits and deserves them playing better types of venue than the London Astoria." Mark Connolly

"Wonderful to see such a return to form with their performance at the Astoria. If I had tried to write "the perfect setlist" for the gig a few days ago I probably wouldn't have done quite such a good job as Deep Purple themselves did. We had lots of Rapture, including my personal favourite Before Time Began (which came over very well bearing in mind it is a subtle song with loads of beautiful chord changes) and we had the usual smattering of ye olde Classics which should keep the casual old Purple fans happy. We had Perfect Strangers with Steve Morse ripping feedback from his guitar like I've never heard before - I could have listened to this all night. Last time I saw the band I wondered where the passion had gone from the performance. Well, it's back. I even did the "obsessed fans" bit and waited outside the venue to meet Ian, Roger, Ian G and Steve after the gig. I've not done that anywhere since 1980!" John Blackburn

"The set list was standard with tracks from the new album (which in my opinion do not translate very well live) with a splattering of tracks from post-reformation albums. It was nice to see them do Living Wreck, but come on guys sort some of the others out, Highway Star needs to be rested and how about resting Smoke - surely there are some other songs that translate good live. Don'’t get me wrong, I have been a loyal Purps fan for nigh on 36 years, and welcomed the changes that came about with the departure of Blackmore and then Lord, but have they now run their course? The recent albums have been mediocre, over produced and with more than a hint of American radio rock. I know that to stay ahead of the game you have to progress the music but have the Purps lost their identity?" Peter Webber

"My ears are still ringing! A good mixture of old and very new. So new in fact that Ian Gillan had to remind himself of the words! Excellent show and as always I just didn't want it to end. Lets hope they tag on a show or two at the end of the Rapture tour in a couple of years. Oh, too long to wait !!" Annie Graham

"We were lucky enough to witness a road test of pretty much the entire Rapture album, and I thought it sounded absolutely fantastic. For the old lags (can he mean me? ed) there was a storming version of Pictures Of Home to open, followed mid way through by a terrific, near funk/heavy rock take on Living Wreck, which it must be said brought a tear of joy to my eye as I heard it played! Purple will definitely get tighter, particularly on the new material, as the tour progresses, but they’ll struggle to match the “go-for-it” attitude they showed tonight." Mark Brandon

"While some of the endings were, uh, quite spontaneous, overall it felt great. Great response from the audience, but then again, we were not playing to strangers, this was really a group of hard core fans that made up the audience. A great way to start the tour." Steve Morse, guitarist. (from Steve's latest letter at www.stevemorse.com)