Sunday, November 15, 2009

Deep Purple, HMV Apollo, Hammersmith Odeon, London, 141109

A return car journey of South Wales to Hammersmith on a windy autumn day may be 'a fair 'ole poke' (in the words of Paul Whitehouse on a recent UK car insurance commercial), but, on the evidence of last night's performance by the guys, I'd have walked there to see it.

Some recent internet posts had suggested that the band were just going through the motions, but this was far far from that. Purple have got better as the noughties have gone on and, in their fifth decade, are a tight unit totally at ease with each other musically and emotionally.

True, I am used to seeing them in soulless venues like Cardiff's International Arena, but the volume, power and energy last night at the Hammersmith Odeon (for that's what it is) was enough to impress a fairly battle hardened post-84 veteran.

The instrumental passages impress, and are a unique mixture of jazz, funk, rock and metal. Wring That Neck followed The Well Dressed Guitar and gave Ian Gillan a chance to rest his voice, which I thought sounded better than it has for years, even though his signals to the side during the second half of the set (pointing at throat and feigning to cut it) suggested he was feeling the strain a little.

We can all pick and choose about the set list (for me The Battle Rages On can sound disjointed and represents a difficult phase in band history), but on balance this was a first class concert.

Finally, there is quite a cosmopolitan mix to Purple gigs these days. Yes, I know it's London, but in amongst the healthy mix of women, teenagers and the usual suspects, I heard French, Polish and German accents, together with at least one Welsh and Cornish one!

For the record:

Intro 1. Highway Star 2. Things I Never Said 3. Maybe I'm A Leo 4. Strange Kind Of Woman 5. Wasted Sunsets 6. Rapture Of The Deep 7. Fireball 8. Contact Lost - Steve Morse solo 9. Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming 10. The Well-Dressed Guitar 11. Wring That Neck 12. No One Came 13. Don Airey solo 14. The Battle Rages On... 15. Space Truckin’ 16. Smoke On The Water. Encore : 17. Hush 18. Black Night

They came, they saw, and they didn't disappoint.


And on You Tube:

Highway Star
Wasted Sunsets.

For Gillan Fans Only
One of the truly great frontmen.

1 comment:

Martin Veale said...

Poor excuse not to be there for a memorable win for Ebbw!