Archive for the ‘Deep Purple’ Category

Celebrating Jon Lord The Royal Albert Hall 4th April 2014

Celebrating Jon Lord The Royal Albert Hall 4th April 2014
jontixI am sitting on the 07.00 train from Kings Cross to Newcastle as I write this. Last night I spent the evening with a group of musicians, from the worlds of both classical and rock, and fans who had travelled from around the globe to celebrate the music of Jon Lord. The event was held in the majestic Royal Albert Hall, a venue in which Lord performed many times, and where he premiered his concerto for group and orchestra with Deep Purple some 45 years ago.
As we arrived in the hall, we were greeted by two large video screens on either side of the stage, showing images of Jon. I had a seat on the arena floor, a few rows from the front, to the left of stage centre. A great view.
jonprogThe evening had been organised by The Sunflower Jam on behalf of the Jon Lord Fellowship for cancer research. The Sunflower Jam is a charity led by Jacky Paice (wife of Ian Paice and twin sister of Jon Lord’s wife Vicky Lord), which organises annual events at the Albert Hall.
The event started promptly at the advertised time of 19.30 with our host Bob Harris welcoming us and introducing the concert. This was an evening of music, celebration and emotion, which started with Ian Paice accompanying his sister-in-law Vicky Lord on stage, for Vicky to say a few words about Jon. The first half of the concert was devoted to Lord’s solo and orchestral compositions and featured the Orion Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann, and our house band of the evening of Murray Gould, Neil Murray, Jerry Brown, Paul Wichens and Nigel Hopkins. The first piece was “Durham Awakes” from the “Durham Concerto” featuring Kathryn Tickell on Northumbrian pipes. This was followed by Steve Balsamo on vocals and Anna Phoebe on violin accompanied by Mickey Moody on guitar, performing “All Those Years”. jon2Then Miller Anderson gave a moving reading of “Pictured Within”. This was followed by Rick Wakeman leading the band in music from “Sarabande” and Margo Buchanan singing “One From The Meadow”. Finally, the first half of the concert closed with Jeremy Irons elegant reading of Thomas Hardy’s “Afterwards”, accompanied by Paul Mann on piano. There was a lot of material that I wasn’t familiar with in the first half of the show; it was good to experience something new and different, performed perfectly and beautifully by a group of musicians who were all there to celebrate the diversity of Jon Lord’s compositions. Bob Harris returned and told us that after the interval “we are going to rock” 🙂 It was 20.45.
The second part of the evening started at 21.10 with Joe Brown, ever the cheeky cockney, who entertained us with a few quips and then introduced Paul Weller. Mod Weller took us back to the ’60s performing two tracks from Jon’s first band The Artwoods. These were fine slabs of Motownish white soul R’n’B: “Things Get Better” and “I Take What I Want”. Great stuff.
jonpurpleNext we were treated to a couple of Paice, Ashton and Lord songs “Silas & Jerome” and “I’m Gonna Stop Drinking” led by the amazing vocalist Phil Campbell, and great blues guitar of Bernie Marsden. Phil is a relatively new vocalist from Scotland and is straight out of the mould of Rod Stewart/Joe Cocker/Chris Robinson. Just perfect wild raucous singing and the right amount of rock’n’roll swagger. Check him out. The high point of the evening (so far). Steve Balsamo and Sandi Thom then performed a beautiful version of the haunting classic “Soldier of Fortune”.
Nothing could have prepared any of us for what came next, which was an amazing performance by Bruce Dickinson and particularly Glen Hughes. They started with “You Keep On Moving”, which was great enough, but then they took the roof of the place with an incendiary version of “Burn”. Everyone on their feet, the two of them sparring vocally, both out-singing each other with their tremendous outstanding vocal ranges. Sorry for all the superlatives, but it was that good. A hall full of old guys punching the air and rocking. jon1 Hughes was incredible. It took me back to the time I saw Purple Mk III on the Burn tour. I was struck that night (can it really be 40 years ago?) by Hughes’ over the top performance and his soulful soaring vocals. Last night he was strutting and stalking around the stage, bass aloft, wrestling ever ounce of soul and emotion out of his voice. I have never seen a performance like it; at times he was on his knees, tears running down his cheeks. Yes it was over the top, but you just knew that the guy went out last night determined to deliver the performance of his life, and that he felt and meant every word of it. Electric, and a privilege to experience. Glen Hughes closed this segment of the show with “This Time Around”, which he explained was the only song he wrote with Jon Lord.
Finally it was left to Deep Purple to close the evening, which they did with great style performing a short set of “Uncommon Man”, “Above And Beyond”, “Lazy” (with Bentley Kline on violin sparring with Don Airey on keyboards), the beautiful blues of “When A Blind Man Cries”, the cooking rhythms of “Perfect Strangers” and closing with (what else) a rocking “Black Night” with all of us singing along. Then everyone joined Purple on stage for an encore of “Hush”. Lots of “Nah Nah Nah Nah”s from the stage and the floor. It just doesn’t get much better. For over three and a half hours we were well reminded just how great a musician, composer and man Lord was. RIP Jon Lord.
AlbertHallThe Performers
Host: Bob Harris
Deep Purple: Ian Gillan (vocals), Steve Morse (guitar), Ian Paice (drums), Roger Glover (bass), Don Airey (keyboards).
The Orion Orchestra conducted by Paul Mann.
House band: Murray Gould – guitar, Jerry Brown – drums, Neil Murray – bass, Paul Wichens – keyboards, Nigel Hopkins – piano.
Guests: Miller Anderson – vocals, Steve Balsamo – vocals, Joe Brown – jokes and cockney twang, Margo Buchanan – vocals, Phil Campbell – vocals, Bruce Dickinson – vocals, Nick Fyffe – bass, Glenn Hughes – vocals/bass, Bentley Kline – violin, Paul Mann – piano, Bernie Marsden – guitar, tMickey Moody – guitar, Anna Phoebe – violin, Sandi Thom – vocals, Kathryn Tickell – Northumbrian pipes, Rick Wakeman – keyboards, Paul Weller – vocals/guitar
It was truly an amazing night. However, I have to say that I came away feeling a few things were missing. First, Blackmore and Coverdale. Now we all knew Blackmore was never going to attend, but some of us lived in a vain hope that past issues might have been forgotten, and that he may have made an appearance. On the other hand, it is of course up to him how he wishes to remember Lord, and his new song in Jon’s memory sees a return to his old style. I understand Coverdale couldn’t make it; again a big miss. I also expected to hear some of the “Concerto”, particularly given the occasion and the venue. A strange omission. And finally I had hoped for “Child in Time”. I know Purple don’t play it any more, but a version by the house band with a guest vocalist might have been possible. Sorry to niggle about what was an incredible event.
The images are all photographed from the concert programme.

Deep Purple Manchester Apollo Oct 12th 2013

Deep Purple Manchester Apollo Oct 12th 2013
purpletix I decided at the last minute to go and see Deep Purple at Manchester Apollo last night. Its a couple of years since I’ve seen them and the nearest calling point of this year’s tour was Manchester. The concert wasn’t sold out, so I bought myself a standing ticket, printed it off on my computer. I was soon on my way down the A1 and across the M62 to Manchester, listening to “In Rock” as I drove down. I arrived just as support band Rockbox took to the stage. The Apollo seemed pretty full, with the stalls packed, and looking upstairs I could see very few empty seats. Rockbox were quite bizarre. They are a five piece; the singer used a loud hailer rather than a mike, and the four other guys were wearing red velvet school uniforms ala Angus Young, complete with devil horns and short trousers. The guitarist wore his amp in a satchel and had a speaker strapped to his belt. Two guys had drums hanging around their necks; one with a bass drum and the other with a snare and a couple of cymbals. And oh, there was also a guy with a huge horn, draped around him; I think it was a sousaphone. A pretty strange line-up and very different from the norm. Their set was all covers including Won’t get fooled again, Sgt Peppers, and Don’t stop me now. They went down well with the crowd, who found it good fun, and knew all the songs. purple I found a spot quite close to the stage, and Deep Purple came on bang at 9pm. They have just released a new CD “Now What?!” which is their 19th album, and their first for 8 years, and the set featured a few tracks from it. In fact, they started with a new song, which surprised me (and disappointed me a little as I was expecting usual opener Highway Star). Not to worry, however, as there were plenty of old classics for me. Each member took a solo during the set, which I usually find tiring, but last night the balance was OK, with each members instrumental piece working well, and not being over long. Favourites for me were (of course) all of the old ones: Strange Kind of Woman, Lazy, Into the Fire, Space Trucking, Smoke on the Water, and the encores Hush and Black Night. Ian Gillan’s voice was quite strong, with the usual screams intact. He is now in the habit of disappearing off stage between verses, presumably to take a rest, and a drink for his throat. They dedicated one of the new songs, Above and Beyond, to Jon Lord. Black Night closed the show at 10.45pm, and was just great. It took me a good 30 mins to get out of the car park; they pack the cars in nose to tail, so you are blocked in and can’t get out until everyone around you arrives at their car. I then got stuck in traffic driving through the city centre. I was home around 1.45am. It was good to see Deep Purple again, particularly in a relatively intimate venue. Just classic. The old ones are still the best. Setlist: Après vous; Into the Fire; Hard Lovin’ Man; Vincent Price; Strange Kind of Woman; Contact Lost (guitar Solo by Steve Morse); Uncommon Man; The Well-Dressed Guitar; The Mule (drum Solo by Ian Paice); Above and Beyond; Lazy; Hell to Pay (keyboard Solo Don Airey); Perfect Strangers; Space Truckin’; Smoke on the Water. Encore: Green Onions (Booker T. & The MG’s); Hush; (bass Solo by Roger Glover); Black Night

Deep Purple Newcastle Arena 2007

Deep Purple Newcastle Arena 2007
Support from Styx and Thin Lizzy
A group of us went to this gig, attracted as much by the strong support acts on offer, as by the prospect of seeing Deep Purple. My friends are all big Styx fans, and couldn’t miss the opportunity of seeing them. The gig started early at around 7pm, to allow each vabd to perform a reasonable length set. First up was Thin Lizzy, this line-up fronted by John Sykes and Scott Gorham. They delivered a set of Lizzy classics, proving that there is life for the band without front man Phil Lynott. In fact, I was surprised just how good they were, and it was great to hear classics such as The Boys Are Back In Town, and Jailbreak again. Styx were next up, also missing front man Dennis DeYoung. Styx gave headliners Purple a run for their money, and delivered a set of classics which went down well with the assembled crowd. Although Purple’s latest album was Rapture of the Deep, this show also featured the band playing their classic album Machine Head in full. A good evening in the company of friends, and three classic rock bands. Setlist: Fireball; Things I Never Said; Into the Fire; Strange Kind of Woman; Rapture of the Deep; The Well-Dressed Guitar; Highway Star; Maybe I’m a Leo; Pictures of Home; Never Before; When a Blind Man Cries; Smoke on the Water; Lazy; Space Truckin’. Encore: Hush; Black Night.

Deep Purple Newcastle Arena 2004 Bananas Tour

Deep Purple Newcastle Arena 2004 Bananas Tour
Support from Peter Frampton and Thunder
It was almost 20 years until I saw Deep Purple again. I went along with my mate Will to this gig, which was at Newcastle Arena. The show used part of the Arena, with the rest sectioned off. This allows the band to perform to a larger audience than can be accommodated in a concert hall, such as Newcastle City Hall, but loses much in terms of atmosphere. Support came from rock band Thunder and Peter Frampton. I hadn’t seen Frampton since the Frampton Comes Alive tour, and I’d forgotten just how good he is. He has some great songs and is a pretty neat guitarist to boot. He played, of course, Show Me The Way, and a few other classics from his 70s heyday. By 2004 Blackmore had left Purple again, and Jon Lord had just retired. Steve Morse was well established on guitar, and local hero Don Airey had recently joined on keyboards. Long-timers Gillan, Glover and Paice were there from the old days. The band had recently released the Bananas album. The set was a mix of old favourites, and quite a few recent tracks which were unfamiliar to me. I’d almost forgotten just how great Purple are, and was well impressed. It was great to see them play old favourites like Speed King, and particularly Hush. Steve Morse is an impressive guitarist and fits in well, and his solo on Contact Lost was a stan-out. Setlist: Silver Tongue; Woman from Tokyo; I Got Your Number; Strange Kind of Woman; Bananas; Demon’s Eye; Knocking at Your Back Door; Contact Lost; The Well-Dressed Guitar; Perfect Strangers; Space Truckin’; Highway Star; Smoke on the Water. Encore: Speed King; Hush.

Deep Purple Knebworth 1985

Twelve years after I last saw them, the classic Deep Purple line-up was back and playing at Knewborth. I went with my mate Dave on a trip bus from the town. The line-up for the day was very strong with The Scorpions, Meat Loaf, UFO, Mountain, Blackfoot, Mama’s Boys, and Alaska (can’t remember who they were) but unfortunately the weather was lousy. It rained and rained all day and then it rained more. Dave and I spent much of the day sheltering under a tree. At one point we found our way into an indoor bar which must have been for guests because it was empty (!) and we kept warm and dry in there. The Scorpions went down best of all the support acts, and there was a never ending two hour wait between the end of their set and Purple taking to the stage at around 10pm. I can’t remember much about the other bands, but Purple were good despite the rain. As expected they started with Highway Star and played all of the classics, along with quite a few songs from the new album Perfect Strangers. To cap it all our bus got stuck in the mud in the carpark and some of us had to push it out. We didn’t get out of the carpark until early morning and arrived back home at dawn. The things I’ve done for rock n roll…Setlist: Highway Star; Nobody’s Home; Strange Kind of Woman; A Gypsy’s Kiss; Perfect Strangers; Under the Gun; Lazy; Knocking at Your Back Door; Difficult to Cure; Space Truckin’. Encore: Speed King; Black Night; Smoke on the Water. Other memories are of some guys setting fire to the portaloos to keep warm, no screens and an awful view of the stage from the back, pretty cool lasers for Purple, and a massive firework display after Purple’s set. Happy Days.

Deep Purple Newcastle Odeon 1974

Deep Purple Newcastle Odeon 1974
Support from Elf
So Deep Purple returned to the North East with a new line-up. Ian Gillan and Roger Glover had departed and in came local lad David Coverdale, who hailed from Saltburn, on vocals and Glenn Hughes, from Trapeze, on bass and vocals. The gig had sold out pretty quickly, which was some achievement given the changes in the band and the fact that they had graduated from the City Hall to the larger capacity Odeon. I went along with a group of mates, with some trepidation; I just couldn’t imagine how the new guys were going to fit it, and live up to the huge reputation that was Deep Purple. Support came from Elf, who featured Ronnie James Dio on vocals, and delivered an impressive set. Purple had released the new album Burn, and one of mates had bought it. We’d all listened to it and agreed that it was pretty good. The Deep Purple we all experienced that night was easily on par with its predecessor. They exploded onto the stage with “Burn”; Coverdale was on fire, Blackmore was his old self, Jon was attacking his organ, Hughes added a more soulful dimension to the vocals, and Ian Paice provided the solid back beat. I have a theory that bands can find great strength at times of change. I’ve seen it happen a couple of other times: when Genesis came back without Gabriel is another example. Deep Purple came back stronger than ever, and the strength of the songs on Burn helped. Mistreated, Might just take your life, and Burn itself are all very powerful songs. Setlists from the time show the set as being: Burn; Might Just Take Your Life; Lay Down, Stay Down; Mistreated; Smoke on the Water; You Fool No One; The Mule; Space Truckin’. Encore: Going Down; Highway Star. My friend John sent me his own recollections of the gig: “For years I though this was the City Hall; I had a great seat near the front. They played Burn and Mistreated from the new album which were great plus I think Might Just Take your life, You Fool No One and Lay Down Stay Down. Burn was the starting track, Mistreated was the highlight for me and think they played Highway Star, Space Trucking and presumably Smoke on the Water.Support was Elf with Rockin Ronnie. Remember Glenn Hughes had really long hair – had seen him once before in Trapeze.”
It was all of 11 years until I saw Deep Purple again. I didn’t see the Tommy Bolin line-up; they toured the UK but didn’t play the North East, although a show at Middlesbrough Town Hall (which would have been a home-coming show for David Coverdale) was rumoured but, to my knowledge, never happened.

Deep Purple Newcastle City Hall 1973

Deep Purple Newcastle City Hall 1973
Support from Nazareth
This was the last time that I saw the classic Deep Purple Mark II line-up in the 70s. By this point tensions in the band were growing and relations between Gillan and Blackmore were not good. Both Gillan and Glover were to leave the band before the year was out. This tour came just as the Who Do We Think We Are album was released. This is not their strongest album but it does feature the great hit single: Woman from Tokyo. Published setlists from the time show the set as being: Highway Star; Smoke on the Water; Strange Kind of Woman; Mary Long; Lazy; The Mule; Space Truckin’; and Black Night. My friend John recalls them also playing Woman from Tokyo; Smooth Dancer and Never Before from Machine Head. My main recollection from the gig was how different Gillan looked. He had grown a beard and was wearing a smart jacket and slacks; a very different image to that of previous tours. Reports of shows from that period suggest that you could sense the tensions within the band and the growing distance between the members, but I can’t say I noticed anything amiss. I was sitting upstairs with a group of friends, and enjoyed the gig, although not quite as much as previous tours. Nazareth were a great support act. A few months later the unthinkable had happened and Gillan and Glover had both departed. I thought that was the end of Deep Purple, which was far from what transpired, more of which tomorrow.

Deep Purple Newcastle City Hall 1972

Deep Purple Newcastle City Hall 1972
Support from Glencoe
Deep Purple were back at the City Hall in 1972 and this was the band at its peak. This was the Mark II version of the band, which most people regard as the ultimate and classic line-up of Deep Purple. In 1972 Purple had world-wide success with the release of their album Machine Head, and in the same year they recorded the superb live album Made In Japan. They started with Highway Star, which is just the perfect set opener; it kicks off with a great riff, its fast and up-tempo, and there’s a wonderful solo from Blackmore. They played all their best known songs, including the now classic Smoke on the Water which was then new to the set. Other songs which featured in the set at that time were Child in Time; The Mule; Strange Kind of Woman; Lazy; and Space Truckin’. All great. It didn’t get any better than this at the time. The encores will probably have been one or two of Black Night; Speed King and possibly Lucille; I can’t be certain. Its difficult to put into words just how great Deep Purple were at that time; they were easily on a par with Zeppelin and Sabbath. Jon Lord’s swirling organ and the unbelievable vocal range that Gillan had in those days gave them something unique, which set them apart from any other band. And Blackmore was amazing, so confident, so flashy in his guitar technique. For this gig I was lucky enough to be sitting in the third row, right in front of Ritchie, and I just couldn’t keep my eyes off him. And Purple were so LOUD; my ears were ringing for days after. My hearing isn’t so good these days, and I reckon the main culprits are Deep Purple, the Who and Motorhead! I remember support act Glencoe well and saw them a few times around that time. They featured Norman Watt Roy on bass and John Turnbull on guitar, who I’d seen in Bell and Arc. Both of them went on to be part of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, and Norman is now bass player for Wilko Johnson. They were a good band, who deserved more recognition. Tomorrow I’ll bring together my memories of the 1973 Deep Purple tour, which was the last time I saw the classic line up in the 70s. Things were not great in the Purple camp, and sadly the band was about to disintegrate.

Deep Purple live in the early 70s

Deep Purple live in the early 70s
Deep Purple were just untouchable live in the early 70s. They had all those classic rock songs: Black Night, Speed King, Strange Kind of Woman, Child in Time; and they were all top class musicians and performers. I can picture them now; Jon Lord rocking his Hammond organ back and forth while squeezing rich swirling chords out of it; Ritchie Blackmore sombre, dressed all in black: black hat with a sliver buckle, black scoop neck top,  black velvet flares; Ian Gillan, long lion-like hair, screaming and screeching the vocals, Roger Glover on bass, wearing a hat and leather trousers, smile across his face, rocking back and forth in time to the music; and Ian Paice on drums, a constant in terms of rhythm, but also in terms of the band and its many incarnations. This was the classic Purple Mark II line-up. I first saw Deep Purple at Newcastle City Hall in 1971, which was the Fireball tour. They were loud and just amazing. I was seated in the 7th row, and had a great view. I was a young kid and I was just fascinated and enthralled by Blackmore, who was the ultimate guitar showman in those days, running both hands up and down the neck of his Fender Stratocaster, pulling at the amps, ringing feedback from the guitar, throwing it in the air. I too had a Strat at that time and was watching his every move; total hero worship. My mate John was there and recalls: “My first gig at the City Hall – I remember it was just fantastic. They played the now-classics from “Deep Purple In Rock”: Speed King, Child in Time, plus Black Night and my all time favorite the single Strange Kind of Woman plus a lot from Fireball. While not their best album I thought it was a great show with Fireball, No No No, Demons Eye, No One Came, the extended version of the Mule plus the rather odd Anyones Daughter. Support was Bullet featuring members of Atomic Rooster John Cann and Paul Hammond – although for years I thought it was Glencoe”. Setlists from the time also show that Highway Star was included in the set, although it was yet to appear on record, as it featured on Machine Head, which came out in 1972. I think the encore will have been Black Night, followed by Lucille and a medley of old rock n roll songs. Thanks also to John for the scan of his Fireball poster. John was lucky enough to see Deep Purple at Sunderland Top Rank in 1970. I wasn’t at that gig, and am so jealous of him. John’s memories of that gig: “I was 15 and it was my first gig. Free were the headliners but as the Purple van broke down on the highway and they arrived late, they played last. We arrived at about 6.30pm and queued up outside with many others; the line was from the door across the bridge before. It was billed as an Indoor Festival with five bands. I don’t remember the first band (Yellow), Principal Edwards were strange but I really enjoyed Cochise and bought their album (which features Steve Marriott on the stand out track Thats Why I sing the Blues). At this time they were still playing tracks from the Mark I line plus tracks from their new, and soon to be classic album, Deep Purple In Rock. I believe they played Speed King, Child in Time, Into the Fire (?) and the old songs I remember were a very long Wring that Neck and Mandrake Root at the end of the set. The encore was the hit single Black Night and Lucille which I thought was odd – why would a cool band play such an old song?. I had much to learn. I seem to remember the show finished at about 1.30am which I thought was very cool and then I walked home on my own because the others left early, missing the encore.”

Blackmore’s Night Newcastle Tyne Theatre 2005

Blackmore’s Night Newcastle Tyne Theatre 2005
I saw the classic Deep Purple Mark 2 lineup several times in the 70s, and if you’d have told me that 30 years later I would be going to see Richie Blackmore dressed in medieval gear, and playing elizabethan folk music on a lute, I would have thought you were crazy. But so it is; its curious how things change and develop over time. I first saw Blackmore’s night at the Newcastle Tyne Opera House in 2005, with my son David. We went largely out of curiosity, but came away having really enjoyed the experience. If you go with an open mind you will enjoy the show, I’m sure. If you go expecting to see the old Deep Purple Ritchie, you are likely to be disappointed. Blackmore’s Night is a completely different experience to seeing Deep Purple. Heavy rock it is not, but great music it is. Think medieval folk, lutes, Greensleeves, knights and damsels, and you are getting there. I guess there were hints of this in Blackmore’s Rainbow in the form of Sixteenth Century Greensleeves. Blackmore’s wife Candice Night is the exquisitely beautiful singer, and the rest of the band are minstrels of the highest order. If you wear medieval dress you can get cheap tickets for the front couple of rows, and people do! The set was largely new material, but did feature a copy Purple tracks in medieval style, and a few covers. The encore was the Bee Gees First of Mat which was just beautiful and has to be heard and seen to be believed. David and I both enjoyed it. If you go along and see them you will too; trust me! Setlist: Morning Star; Queen for a Day; Under a Violet Moon; Soldier of Fortune; Past Time With Good Company; Mond Tanz / Child in Time; Streets of London; Durch den Wald zum Bach Haus; (incl. Blaydon Races for the Newcastle crowd); Avalon; The Times They Are A-Changin’; Home Again (incl. Rule Britannia); Drink Drink Drink; I Still Remember; Renaissance Faire; The Clock Ticks On; Ghost of a Rose. Encore: Fires at Midnight; Wind in the Willows; First of May