Deep Purple - Sheffield City Hall,
12th February 2002

Leaning on the lip of the stage you can really see just how hard the band are working as they drench you in sweat at every turn. Right from the opening thud of Woman From Tokyo, the crowd are up and on their feet, creating more atmosphere than earlier on the tour, and the sound is great.

Ted The Mechanic has everyone bouncing along as usual and Well Dressed Guitar and Up The Wall are really gelling nicely now, less hesitant than at Grimsby and Harrogate. Morse's fingers are a blur as he strides confidently along the front of the stage, casually accelerating up and down the fretboard leaving Jon to sweat away in the background. Their exchanges during The Baby's Arm Song (Lazy!) are amazing, Jon's work and sound very much than stuff which I've been missing for the last 3-4 years. Fools is getting better all the time, the main man is still Paicey though, he is just a blur, throwing in new stuff here, there and everywhere.

Steve's solos in Child In Time have been radically and markedly different each night and the power they've breathed into the number is unbelievable, Steve harmonising Ian's screams to accentuate and lift the song to it's crescendo. Staggering. Perfect Strangers is a majesty to behold, running right up there with Blindman and Speed King (preceded by the usual pratting about). When A Blindman Cries is consistantly leaving the audiences dumbstruck, tonight being no exception, with Gillan's closing bluesy solo spot bringing the whole place to a stunned silence followed by rapturous applause. I was a little surprised that they haven't yet changed the set around as rumoured and that the deserving crowd didn't get the three encore treatment that was dished out at Nottingham. This show was just as good and, in a sea of such peaks, another wave this high was not expected. If I'd not been a dumbass and lost my creditcards last night, I'd have bought tickets for Birmingham this morning (and any other show I can chance getting along to).

Right at the end of second encore Highway Star, Steve even offered up his guitar to be twanged by the front row, something I didn't think I'd ever see him do given his sacred approach to his tools of the trade -The guy just seems to be so into what's going on, really having a great time on the stage with the biggest smiles ever! Oh, and my drumstick magnet worked again (third time in our shows). As usual, a large number of familiar faces were to be spotted along the first two or three rows (even someone next to me with a Blackmore's Night sweat top on living a bit dangerously) - I just hope they had as much pleasure watching the band as I did.

Heard on stage: (Ted The Mechanic).
IG: When we were recording the Perfect Strangers album...... RG: Perfect Strangers? IG: ...we came across this bloke.... RG: Perfect Strangers! IG: .....in a bar...... RG: Perfect Strangers. What are you on about? Afterwards: IG: Actually he was a wine merchant and his name was Martin, but that didn't rhyme very well!
review: Martin Ashberry, set-list: Nigel Young

pics: Michael Richards
(click the pics to view larger versions!)


Sheffield was a real powerhouse of a gig from start to finish, and seemed to fly by (though in fact it was the two hours bang on once more). It was also LOUD. Maybe being so very close to the stage alters ones
Woman From Tokyo - Mary Long -
Ted The Mechanic - Lazy -
Child in Time - No One Came -
The Aviator - Well-Dressed Guitar -
Up The Wall - Fools -
Perfect Strangers - When A Blind Man Cries -
*Smoke On The Water - Speed King
- Hush - Highway Star
*Pre-Smoke included:
Won't Get Fooled Again, Crossroads,
Brown Sugar, Back In Black,
Day Tripper, Free Ride,
Whole Lotta Love + a couple of others!

perspective (or the space time continuum). I'm not sure there were any absolute highlights although Child In Time seemed to go one step beyond the rest. The pre-show micro convention was fun too - shame on those who didn't come (Stathis this means you!). And for anyone still holding out for Flight Of The Rat, forget it. I asked Ian and he says they've tried it a couple of times but it just didn't gel. And while we're still accepting contributions towards a pair of shoes for Ian G. at least three of the females in the crowd near us think we should also be looking to buy him a pair of Y-Fronts as he was conspiculously not wearing any. Shameless. He'll be doing Plymouth starkers at this rate.

Lowpoints? Damned if I can think of any. Though if those passes were for me at the box office and some sod took them, then may you be doomed to listen to The Planets for evermore!

review: Simon Robinson

uk tour news, page two