Deep Purple - Grimsby Auditorium, 6th February 2002
(The All Tucked Up In Bed By 11pm Tour 2002)

A good start to the evening with a nice social drink and some interesting conversation nearly turned to disaster when the familiar shuffle and bass drum that herald Woman From Tokyo issued forth from the auditorium at an ungodly 8.30pm, precipitating a quick dash through the foyer. (I barely had time to pinch all the flyers... Simon)

The band look good, relaxed and there's those big grins. Wallop, before you know it, it's Mary Long and if you've heard the rumours of various members ready to quit, then you certainly wouldn't be able to tell it from the energy and enthusiasm on stage. The whole unit is functioning much tighter, but the new soundman (I think, certainly it didn't look like Moray McMillan who's been doing the sound for a couple of years) has lent a much better balance to the sound, Jon sounds thick and warm again, rather than the tinny, reedy sound that has been overshadowed on recent tours by Morse's soupy guitar tone. No, it sounds much more like a five piece again.

Child In Time was unexpected as I thought I'd hate it, but no. It has been an awful long time since I saw this live, but Gillan's voice was more than a match for it (though it was only the second date of the tour.....) and it's always nice when they chop and change the set around. The Aviator sounded great, a nice new vocal arrangement keeping me listening hard. The excitement dipped for Well Dressed Guitar, a sort of neo-classical battle between Jon and Steve which really just doesn't work for me. The guy is talented, sure, but it's not really a song and sat uncomfortably in the set- ditch it and get Cisco back in there! Fools was sublime and new song Up The Wall had a great hook to it, one that reminds me of hearing Seventh Heaven for the first time on the boot of the same title four years (!!!!) ago. The set rolled on in predictable though still exciting fashion, Speed King was great and Highway Star is the perfect closer to the set.

Woman From Tokyo -
Ted The Mechanic - Mary Long - Lazy - Child In Time -
No One Came - The Aviator -
Well Dressed Guitar - Fools -
Up The Wall - Keyboard Solo - Perfect Strangers -
When A Blind Man Cries -
Smoke On The Water -
Speed King - Hush -
Highway Star

Steve said after the show that every band has their critics, and my only gripe would be that there weren't enough newer songs - I know they were doing Knockin'... in the US last year, but how about Hey Cisco, Watching The Sky or Jack Ruby - I appreciate that there's now only 4 songs from the main body of the 1972 set in there (5 if you include Speed King), but some more Morse era stuff, where he really shines, would just be fantastic. Ditch Woman From Tokyo, Fools (which still doesn't quite work for me) and Speed King, replace them with some more Abandon and Purpendicular tracks and I'll be even happier.

review : Martin Ashberry



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