Deep Purple -
Bournemouth International Centre, 18th Feb.2002

The set opened with Woman From Tokyo and Ian Gillan was clearly extremely poorly and almost impossible to hear, with almost every song he looked likely to collapse. Verses were changed / adjusted throughout the show to compensate for his obvious discomfort and ill health. I have never seen anyone sweat like he did. Strangely though, the gig was a corker with the four musicians playing heavier and harder than I have heard them on this tour.

The audience, rather than being disappointed, appreciated what Ian was going through and he pulled it off through pure bloody mindedness, sheer effort and natural presence. Roger and Ian Paice were playing like men possessed. Jon Lord took the introduction to Lazy back to August 1972 and the instumental sections of the song were real gems. Steve was laughing and joking with band members and the audience and Purple seemed really pleased with response from the crowd.

Roger and Steve helped with the vocals on The Aviator and we had a long rendition of Black Night (Black Night Nurse might have been more appropriate) with some great interplay between Roger and Ian and some very fast soloing from Steve. Fools was very heavy as the song developed which gave it a lease of life that was probably missing earlier in the tour; the reduced vocal input not mattering one bit.

Surprisingly, When A Blindman Cries was also done and you could have heard pin drop throughout. The applause for Ian Gillan at the end being totally justified. How he gave that performance I'll never know. Perfect Strangers was preceeded by more immense keyboard work from that demon of all things organ and it really got everyone rocking away.

A song which I never thought would be the highlight of the show was Smoke On The Water, but it was. Ian didn't have to worry about singing but my God didn't they ever turn it on with an ending as fast and furious as one could imagine. At the end of the show Steve pulled a young lad of about 5 onto the stage, gave him a present or two, and before being handed back to his father, the lad waved and bowed to the crowd which brought the biggest cheer of the night!

review: John Hansford

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