With the onset of February we are getting a little busier. 2nd, Protest The Hero, 6th Del Amitri, 9th Molly Hatchet, 14th Monster Magnet, 15th Dream Theater, 19th, Sons Of Icarus, 20th Skyclad, 25th Soulfly, 26th Cadillac Three

And maybe a couple more to be added.

Friday, 25 October 2013

DEEP PURPLE @NIA, Birmingham 15/10/13

Why bands never learn is beyond me. Why they still put dreadful supports on before gigs who knows?. After Rock Box and their dreadful covers (really if that’s the best you can do, don’t have a support band at all) the stage is cleared for Deep Purple.

Last time we saw them Deep Purple had a German Orchestra with them and the whole thing was quite marvellous, this time it’s just the band, with the classical overtones stripped away.

There have, though been two significant events in the Purple camp since a couple of years ago. First they have, this year, stuck out the quite superb “Now What?!” record – from which five songs come from this evening, while the second saw the tragic death of Jon Lord, who’s shadow is cast long over the set. They dedicate a song from that new record “Above And Beyond” to Lord this evening, with his image being projected onto the big screen.

He would have been proud of the groups evolution currently, and “…What?” is a truly excellent record. They kick off with “Apres Vous” from it (which is a change from “Highway Star” that they had played elsewhere). Elsewhere highlights from the new record include “Vincent Price” – which sees singer Ian Gillan wearing a mask, and the bluesy licks of “Lazy,” all of which are good enough to be played in this company, and if some of the crowd are bemused by all this new stuff then that’s their loss.

This isn’t an evening where the classics are totally eschewed, though and they are soon into “Hard Lovin’ Man” and “Strange Kind Of Woman” and Purple are very much in the pink.

Steve Morse’s guitar playing remains a key draw in this edition of the group and he plays fantastic solos throughout, as does Don Airey on Keyboards and Ian Paice on the drums – which as entertaining as it is, is done you suspect to help Gillan hide his voice, he is clearly struggling at points and it is a shame.

The ending of the gig is full of stonewall classics, “Space Truckin’” gives way to the unmistakable riff of “Smoke On The Water” takes us home, or more accurately to the encore of “Hush” and “Black Knight.”

During the course of the 90 minutes they are onstage, Purple prove just why they are such an important band in British musical history, and if Ian Gillan cant quite manage to get his pipes around these songs quite like he used to then it matters little, because Deep Purple remain a must see.

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