01.02 2006 ICE HALL
REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY MARKO SYRJÄLÄ
There is no doubt that Deep Purple are living legends. I know that many people think that the present-day Deep Purple isn’t the original band. Some might think that it’s a latter-day revival outfit, put together by Ian Paice, who is the sole survivor and only remaining member from the very first line-up which existed between 1968 and 1969. This band has survived a seemingly endless series of lineup changes and a dramatic mid-career shift from progressive rock to ear-shattering heavy metal to emerge as a true legend of the current hard rock community and everyone should respect that fact. Band’s 18’th studio album “Rapture Of Deep” was released on last November and band started their current world tour 17’th of January from London.
It was great to see that the Icehall of Helsinki was practically sold out again and there was amount of people about 7500 present here tonight. Band played here last time at 2003 but on past summer they did a show in a festival called Miljoonarock, which is located about 400 kilometers North from Helsinki, so this was their third show in Finland within three years. Originally it was announced that Scottish band Nazareth would be the opening act on this show but unfortunately things had changed and instead of good old Naz’ we now had a Finnish support band called Crazy World of Mika Järvinen. During the past years I have seen Mr. Järvinen playing in many different places with different line ups but to be honest I still don’t like too much about his “Zeppelin” look and sound a like style and music. Though there is actually really nothing wrong with him but I just don’t care about stuff like that too much. After listen of the first two or three songs I decided to go back into backstage area and wait headliner to begin.
It was announced that Deep Purple’s show time would be at 08:00 PM and it was accurately 08:02 PM when Ian Paice was sitting behind his drum kit and soon the rest of the band appeared and they were ready to go. Set started surprisingly with “Pictures of Home” (Machine Head 1973) which is a great song from bands biggest classic album but it’s also very strange choice as a opening track? Well… of course things like “which song is an opening track” are about matter of taste but in my ears it sounded a little bit odd at first but on the other hand song sounded really good so what’s the matter, really? Great start for the great evening!
Next song was “Things I Never Said” and it’s from the new “Rapture Of The Deep” album or is it…? Well sometimes things in music business are weird and unfair for us who are the ones who keep on buying records and then also pay the salary of those people who are working in record companies. Band recorded this song for “Rapture of the Deep” but if you want to have to that song you have to buy and then download it or then you have to buy a Japanese edition of album (which includes that song). Usually so called bonus tracks are not worth of too much but in this case it does have some sense because this song is one of the best “new tracks” what this band have released in years. Excellent stuff and fine live version, we thank and bow! “Wrong Man” was played next and it continued the sequence of new album tracks. Personally I’m not the biggest fan of the band’s latest album but this one is clearly one of the better tracks on it and that worked out really well. Really nothing more to say at this point….
I remember when “Purpendicular” album came out back at 1996. I really liked that album. That album contained all the positive elements what had been more or less missing from bands foregoing releases and what was more important, it was fully booked of great songs. I don’t know if we can call “Ted the Mechanic” a real classic a ‘la “Smoke on the Water” or “”Child in Time” but at least it’s a true classic from bands “Steve Morse’s era” It’s a great song and tonight band played a great version of it. I don’t know if it was just in my imagination but Steve seemed to be really enjoying when he was playing this one? Following track “Living Wreck” (In Rock 1970) was a real pleasant surprise at least for me because I have never heard this song live before. It’s more than great when bands like Deep Purple, which have such a long and comprehensive history, sometimes pick up “forgotten jewels from the past” and are then able to surprise people like me. Well to honest… “Living Wreck” is definitely not the best song of “In Rock” and although Gillan had some trouble in his vocals during this one but still this was still one of the highlights of the evening.
What we heard next was two more tracks from the new album and the first one was the title track “Rapture of the Deep”. Since the very first listen I haven’t cared about that song too much and I didn’t like it any more now so at this point I decided to have a little break and I went to bar to have a pint of beer. When I came back, band had already started another new track “Before Time Began” which is another somehow tiresome and boring and totally unnecessary song to play live. Of course this is just my opinion but when band have so much material to choose from why do they then waste time and play songs like “Before Time Began”? Fortunately things got much better when band did next “Mary Long” (Who Do We Think We Are 1973). I’m not sure if this song has been played live since “Purpendicular” -tour back in 1996 (?) but anyway it was great to hear this underrated classic again. One thing I have to mention here is that although band did totally six tracks from the new “Rapture of the Deep” they only a handful of songs from other “Steve Morse” albums. There was nothing from “Abandon” and there was just one track from brilliant “Purpendicular” when “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” was recently dropped off from the set list and replaced with “Mary Long”. Also it was a surprising that band did only one “Bananas” song which was an instrumental “Contact Lost”.
After Steve’s over long, somewhat boring guitar solo and another instrumental “Well Dressed Guitar” track the whole band returned on stage and started to play classic “Lazy” (Machine Head 1972). I have always preferred live version of “Lazy” much more than original recording and now it sounded as good as always. Next it was the time of Don Airey’s keyboard solo. As many of us know, Don already has a long and comprehensive career in various well-known hard rock/metal bands like Ozzy Osbourne, M.S.G, Gary Moore and Deep Purple related Whitesnake and Rainbow. It was funny when Don played a kind of assembly which consisted of some recognizable parts from his past career like when he did the intro, which real name I can’t remember, what Ozzy used to use on his concerts. He also played some parts of Sibelius’s “Finlandia” which attracted a noisy applause before hitting to next song which was a title track of bands 1984 comeback album “Perfect Strangers”. This song seems to be a real crowd favorite and in my opinion it’s an annoyance that band doesn’t play more songs from their 80’s/early 90’s albums. How about doing “Knocking at You Back Door”, “Bad Attitude”, “Call of the Wild”, “Anya” or one of my onetime Deep Purple favorite “Wasted Sunsets”? Well… hopefully someday?
When Gillan introduced another new track “Junkyard Blues” I was then ready to leave towards bar area again but decided to stay and it was definitely a good choice. “Junkyard Blues” worked a way better on live than how it does on the record so it was a kind of positive surprise whereas next new track “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” didn’t work at all. Read the phrase what I used for “Before Time Began” and… next song please. As guessed, the best bellowing was still to come. Gillan and mates closed out the fetid festivities with classic song for (Machine Head 1972), “Space Truckin” which actually started the hit parade of old classics. It was funny to notice that the audience, who mostly were in half sleep at one point, suddenly literally woke up and started to have great time. “Space Truckin’” sounded great and then, like a right cross to the teeth, “Highway Star” (Machine Head 1972) followed and exploded the whole place in pieces. There is no doubt that “Smoke on the Water” (Machine Head 1972) is one of the songs which Deep Purple must play on every concert or major part of audience would be dissatisfied. Fortunately this time band didn’t stretched song too much and Gillan was content with just two sing a long refrain. That was a positive thing because I’ve often heard versions which are over ten minutes long …
“Speed King” (In Rock 1971) was a little bit surprising encore, because on this tour band have usually played “Hush” at this place, but in my opinion this was definitely a way better choice. Song sounded fresh and very energetic although sometimes Gillan was in trouble when he tried to reach the highest notes. Following was Ian Paice’s brief drum solo. It’s always a pleasure to watch his drumming style and technique and this time it was even more interesting because there were two close-up cameras attached into drum kit and everyone in the audience were able to see via screens what was really going on behind the kit. The very final encore was “Black Night” which was … let’s say that it was a perfect finish for this concert.
Maybe this wasn’t the best show what I’ve seen from them but was still good. Only a very few things have changed for what I have seen before but it was clear that this current line up has got now much tighter and more confident than before. Though bare footed Ian Gillan is already in his mid 50’s he proved that he’s still one of the best singers on the rock world. Ian Paice was still superb on drums. Roger Glover was great and he’s definitely one of the most underrated bassist on the world. Guitarist Steve Morse is a way more difficult case to analyze. There is no doubt that his playing is very technical and solid and he’s a great performer but still something important is missing particularly when band does older material from “Blackmore period”. The newest member keyboardist Don Airey stayed mostly in the background but he did a decent job. He clearly doesn’t have a kind of charisma what his predecessor Jon Lord used to have but he’s an excellent player and perfect replacement for retired Mr.Lord.
Deep Purple has no need for smoke machines, laser beams or giant stage construction. Just give ’em light, electricity, drums, amplifiers and set of instruments and band will do what they do best, play great music.
COMPLETE SET LIST IN ORDER:
Pictures Of Home
Things I Never Said
Ted The Mechanic
Rapture Of The Deep
Before Time Began
Steve Morse –solo-
Well Dressed Guitar
Don Airey -solo-
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
Smoke On The Water
Ian Paice –solo-
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