Here’s my review of the Thunder, Frampton, DP show at the NEC Birmingham last Friday:
Missed Dean Howard due to the early start time.
Thunder, as expected, were excellent. They know how to write and play a tune. And what a singer! How they never became as big as their talent deserves I don’t know.
They got the crowd on their feet and singing along. Their new single “I love you more than rock n roll” – I think LOL – is a great song too. Sadly after just 35 minutes they were off. But at least I will get to see them headlining in Brum next year.
Peter Frampton was excellent too. Still got a good voice and he cant half play guitar. He plays in a very fluid and understated style but top class. He was relaxed and enjoying himself, and talking to the audience between songs. The “classics” were played and just as good as ever. His guitar sound was crisp and crystal clear in the NEC barn. He also said “see you next summer”. I will certainly get tickets for that. Do you feel like I do? OH YES!
Now for DP….. After the previous “Pointless Tour” where they were blown off stage by Lynrrd Skynrrd – forgive the spelling – this was a massive improvement.
Gillan was actually interested this time. The trouble is though, now that I’ve had time to look back and think about it, it wasn’t that big a deal for me. And I find that shocking. I have always been a massive DP fan – they’re my favourite band of all time – but they need a good kick up the backside! While there is nothing wrong with their playing, there is no excitement for me anymore. They are all smiling and laughing at each other etc but where has the invention and spontaneity gone. The setlist contained nothing from _|_ or AbanDon – again! Yes it was good to hear Demons Eye, and Space Truckin was blistering but it’s still the same old songs as usual. “Well Dressed Guitar” is still Steve’s solo spot for God’s sake. All his solos contain the same runs and the same 10 notes played fast. Where’s the ability and talent shown on his early solo albums gone? Steve needs to think of Blackmore’s quote of “it’s no good being the fastest player from A to B – its what you are playing in getting there”. He’s been in the band 10 years but still plays stuff Ritchie wrote 30 years or more ago. Lets hear Take it off the Top again or something from his own albums. Don Airey is now more fitted in the band and played well but his solo spot still contained Star Wars again. How about the intro to Eyes of the World or something else from his vast history. Maybe even play with the riffs from non gillan tracks. Even the Speed King “battle” between Don and Steve was short and not very interesting. I think he is stuck between a rock and a hard place in having to play the Hammond. I get the feeling he is just itching to play differently on another keyboard. Silver Tongue isn’t a bad opener and the other Bananas songs aren’t too bad now they’ve worked on them but that’s it. Gillans voice is still quality and so is Rogers and Paiceys playing but lets face it, they needs Ritchies songwriting abilities and live inspiration. Listen to his melodies and solos on his stuff with Candice and hear the difference in class.
It’s just so disappointing after the excitement and promise shown with Perpendicular and the heavier sound of Abandon.
I know lots of the reviews on the DP sites are praising them for the performances on this tour and fair enough they didn’t play a bum note etc and were tight, but this is becoming a pipe and slippers comfort show of nostalgia. Nothing from HOBL or TBRO and just Perfect Strangers and KAYBD again.
Apparently they are taking 2005 off from touring and just recording a new album. Lets hope they sit down and re-evaluate what they are about and stand for.
Well now i've got that off my chest lets have all the disagreements!
As a huge Purple fan, it pains me to say that I agree with just about all of the comments you've made. I saw them in Glasgow and it was very disappointing, although the other reports I've read of Brum have been fairly positive.
Thanks for the review Wolfysmith. I think you described pretty much my reason for stopping to go to DP shows. The setlist, The Star Wars theme, The Speed King Battle, The Well Dressed Guitar... (the latter being one of the worst songs I've ever seen live by any band, to my ears that is). Its a bummer because Purple used to be my all-time favourite band as well. And yes, it is hard for us fans to be struck between loyalty and reality. Lets hope that in the end good music prevails.
I saw Purple in Manchester and put some comments on gh.com. I felt that it was a polished performance but that spontanaeity you are referring to might have been missing I suppose. If you were writing a Deep Purple biography, you'd have to include that aspect of unpredictability about their performances over 30 odd years. It's why their reputation live is so rich. But the goal these days seems to be to play safe. I guess the jury's out as to what this means. I'd love to have seen some material from Abandon and Purpendicular too. I can't understand why they don't do at least one from each. Maybe I should have posed the Q to Roger Glover backstage.
Last time I saw them (a couple of years ago), it felt like they were just going through the motions, so haven't bothered since. I've got better things to spend my money on these days, a sad statement, but true. They need to hang it up and move on as others have.
The NEC was a long way off full. Maybe theres plenty more who agree with us.
I have to admit i wouldnt have gone if Frampton & Thunder werent there as well.
Dean Howard was there because Gillan & Bowes both sing on his new release i guess.
Lucky for DP that his time didnt go to Thunder as i think we know who would have taken the show by storm then. It was the same last time - Skynrd were the real draw (and worth the ticket price themselves) and Y&T a welcome bonus.
If they can get Cheap Trick or Ted Nugent on the bill like in the USA then i'll go!
Yep definitely The Darkness on that Brummy bill. I wouldn't go along with the Skynyrds blowing the Purps off though. I think the point about these triple bills, like this one with Frampton and Thunder, is it gives the punters value for money. It's not a battle of the bands thing. If one band fouls up, you still have the other two. Incidentally I thought Thunder were very ordinary to be honest with the two chord wonder I Love you More than Rock Roll - hmmm don't give up the day job then! But this is all about personal opinion, and I guess generally we are on the same lines regarding Purple's reputation as a live act.
Yeah, sorry - i went to both shows but due to the M6 being at a standstill i didnt see the Darkness. It'd be nice to see Glenn on one of these 3 or 4 act shows like on the legends tour but on a bigger scale at these sort of venues. The problem is he wouldnt get top billing and i guess he might not be happy with a shortened setlist either.
I'd agree wolfy. As you and me know it won't happen though because of the danger of IG being shown up by Glenn. It's a shame though because it would showcase Glenn's later work, help to boost ticket sales and make the current Purple work a little harder. That's the theory anyway.
I saw DP on the eary part of Bananas World Tour - in 17th November 2003 - Prague concert. What a show! I´ve never been on better show! All of them were in great shape, especially Ian Gillan... After this show I had to say - I.G. is best singer on the Earth!!!! In Prague they did 16 songs (Highway Star as opener, Smoke on the Water end of basic set, Hush (with short drum solo), Black Night (with bass solo, Gunga Din and Hit The Road Jack introduction) as encores), r/t was 108 mins.
And they also did a cracking version of Doing It Tonight in Prague, but the fact that Jon came out to play that day at Wembley cancelled out that advantage, and left it in it's wake, so if you had been at Wembley Ptr, you could have said that you were at the best show of the tour as well as the second best one. (sorry, but true) Not a bad statement, given the venue, and it's notorious sound problems, but i have to call it as i see it.
Do you mean 18 mins is 18 mins ? and what is that saying quality not quantity.
Plus there were longer sets than Prague played in the states so it can't be down to time can it. Just my tuppence worth, and there is nothing to be criticised about Prague, it was fabulous too, Guess i was just lucky to see both shows. And at the end of the day Jon is worth more than 15 mins of anybody's show. Perhaps a "battle" of the keys is worth even more than that. Jon and Don would make a great show on it's own don't you think ?
Well i am sure Bernie could be up for it as he just never seems to stop working these days, but please let him get the M3 dvd out first. Mind you i am hoping that Don will be kept busy with Living Loud this year if the Purple schedule is as quiet as it is looking likely, for 2005.