DEEP PURPLE through the years in my eyes and ears
Well, where to begin? I guess it has taken me a long time to reach the point where I review the band that got me into this music - Deep Purple. Then again, this being a gig review website and they having not played in the UK since I began the site it may not be that strange. Anyway, they've recently been around the UK and I've seen four of the shows - including my 50th - so I guess now is as good a time to add them as any.
I discovered them care of a friend who added a couple of tracks to the end of a tape copy of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds. I think Black Night and Strange Kind of Woman were the tracks (it has been a long time since I played the tape) and they were recorded from 'The Deep Purple Singles A's and B's'. I guess slightly before this I'd heard both Purple and Ian Gillan on the radio - this was back in 1980 when the Gillan Band were riding high in the singles chart and a common (well, compared to now) sound on the radio. The Gillan track I particularly remember was the speeding version of Lucille, a crazy reworking of an old rock'n'roll number that nicely showed the dexterity and humour of the band and the band. These two bands also provided my entry into the expensive world of record (yup, 12" vinyl in those days) buying with 'Glory Road' and 'In Rock'. I've never really looked back since then. It has to be said that most of my initial twenty purchases were Purple related, Whitesnake, Rainbow etc. but especially Gillan.
Mr. Gillan and his band were my first live experience - Aberdeen Capitol 4 Nov 1982, the last tour the Gillan band did. When they split (due to vocal problems apparently!) Ian joined Black Sabbath and I expanded my music buying safe in the knowledge that I'd seen the band before they split. What I didn't expect was that I would ever have the chance to see Purple live. In around 1983 I joined the DPAS (Deep Purple Appreciation Society) though I had known about it for a couple of years and caught up on a lot of history of the band. The Illustrated Biography (now long since out of print but due an update in a forthcoming box set I believe) filled in a lot of the missing details and then, in early April 1984, the Tommy Vance had some good news on Radio 1's The Friday Rock Show - Deep Purple had reformed! What sort of news was that? A couple of months previously I'd seen Whitesnake with Jon Lord and here was the news he had left Mr. Coverdale for the original screamer in the band that made all their names. Boy was I a happy bunny that night.
I was even happier when they released 'Perfect Strangers' late that year and began a World tour in Australia. Care of a couple of Record Fairs I managed to buy a couple of vinyl (that olde worlde format again) bootlegs from the first few dates and was impressed and excited when it was eventually announced the tour was to reach England. Not the UK you note (I was still in Aberdeen) but the South East of England - Stevenage and Knebworth Park. The venue was a known festival venue and Led Zeppelin had played their two final shows there half a dozen years earlier but it was just one show in their homeland when Australia had almost a dozen, Canada half a dozen. Worse than that - the day was a washout though I think it is safe to say that most there enjoyed themselves despite the weather.
From this point on I guess I should split my memories into sections by event or tour. I already have worked on a section on the Knebworth Festival but it, and most of the rest of my Purple gigs, are far from near the web. I'll settle for the recent dates at first and see how I progress from there.
Part of the tour was rescheduled for September due to Gillan suffering a bad cold. In the interim it became public knowledge that Jon Lord would be leaving the band and that these rescheduled dates would be the last chance to see him live with Deep Purple.
Below is a list of the dates I've been lucky enough to get along to. I've missed out all the split band shows to keep the page to a manageable length but they too may eventually make it to this site.
22 Jun 1985 Knebworth Park (the background and the show itself) "The
Return Of The Knebworth Fayre" bootleg LP and the official "In
The Absence Of Pink" CD are from this show.