Deep Purple/Thin Lizzy
Saturday, September 11, 2004
The Orpheum Theatre
Vancouver, BC Canada
Review & All Live Pics By Lord of The Wasteland
Black Sabbath?s doomy riffs and sinister vocals laid the groundwork for black metal and stoner metal. Led Zeppelin is influential in so many ways, but Deep Purple always seems to be the last mentioned among this triumvirate. Cutting its first album way back in 1968 and hitting its creative peak with a string of landmark records between 1970 and 1973 (DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK, FIREBALL, MACHINE HEAD, WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE and one of the greatest live albums ever recorded, MADE IN JAPAN), Deep Purple was, is, and always will be one of the seeds that grew into heavy metal.
Despite numerous lineup changes over the years, the “classic” Purple lineup is Ian Gillan (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Roger Glover (bass), Jon Lord (keyboards) and Ian Paice (drums). Now in their eighth configuration, Blackmore has been long gone and in his place is six-string virtuoso Steve Morse. Lord, the longest-running Purp member from 1968 to 2002, left the band in 2002 and his replacement is former Ozzy Osbourne/Whitesnake keyboardist, Don Airey. This lineup released last year?s well-received BANANAS album and the band has been touring around the world in support of it.
Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy hit Vancouver back in February of 2004 for a warm-up show and that gig sold out in days. A surprise second visit was announced for September 11th and while I don?t think this show sold out, it must have been very near. The Orpheum Theatre is an old vaudeville theatre that was built in 1927. The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra calls The Orpheum home based on its incredible acoustics which do just as much justice to a rock and roll show. Fans young and old turned out dressed in everything from Pink Floyd to Linkin Park t-shirts and old hippies to kids no older than 7 or 8 years of age. Families were there introducing their kids (and even grandchildren!) to the music of their youth.
Joe Satriani was a third act on the tour but for some reason bowed out of the Canadian dates. Irish hard rockers, Thin Lizzy, opened the show and played an extended set in the absence of Satriani. This version of Thin Lizzy is a skeleton of the original band, as only guitarist Steve Gorham remains from the original lineup. John Sykes (ex-Tygers of Pan Tang, Blue Murder, Whitesnake) was in the band for several albums and has taken over the vocal and lead guitar position. I knew Sykes more from his years in Blue Murder and Whitesnake than anything else and he looks no different than he did fifteen years ago. Gorham bears a striking resemblance to Don Dokken and the guitar dueling between he and Sykes were a definite highlight of their forty-minute set. Drummer Micheal Lee, who until recently was in The Cult and spent eight years in the Jimmy Page & Robert Plant band, had his moment in the spotlight on ?Bad Reputation.? Guy Pratt, who has previously been in Pink Floyd and Gary Moore?s band, kept a relatively low profile at stage left, letting Sykes and Gorham take center stage. The tapping solo during ?Cold Sweat? and outro of ?Bad Reputation? really showed that Sykes still has some chops. He really is an underrated guitarist, although he is reportedly huge in Japan. In a classy move, Sykes dedicated the show to founding member and vocalist/bassist Phil Lynott, who passed away in 1986 from a drug overdose. Thin Lizzy received a massive reception from the crowd, who knew many of their songs. I was only familiar with ?The Boys Are Back In Town,? ?Jailbreak? and ?Cold Sweat,? but there seemed to be a lot of people there to see Thin Lizzy, too.
THIN LIZZY SETLIST
Waiting For An Alibi
Are You Ready
Don?t Believe A Word
The Boys Are Back In Town
After a thirty-minute set changeover, the lights dimmed and paved the way for the headliners, Deep Purple. I am a big fan of their 70s stuff but have only been a casual fan of the band after 1984?s reunion album, PERFECT STRANGERS. There have been a few blips here and there (?King of Dreams? from 1990?s SLAVES AND MASTERS), but mostly, the band has flown low under the radar releasing the odd album and trotting out the hits for nostalgia tours. Last year?s BANANAS album changed all that and put Deep Purple back on the map to some degree. BANANAS is a strong batch of songs and with a solid lineup in place, the results show. Not ones to rest solely on their hits, the first half of the set was heavy with BANANAS material mixed with the classics. The crowd ate up ?Woman From Tokyo,? ?Strange Kind of Woman? and ?Knocking At Your Back Door.? Interestingly, besides the BANANAS tracks, not a single song was played from after 1984, which made me happy as I would have been lost anyway. ?Highway Star? and ?Space Truckin?? were played back to back, which had me excited since those are two of my favorites. The song that FM radio played to overkill, ?Smoke On The Water,? was naturally played and everyone in the place was singing along to the choruses. A rare treat was ?Demon?s Eye,? which apparently the band does not play very often. The slinky keyboard and bass line made it a real highlight of the show. The encore consisted of ?Speed King? and the pre-Gillan/Glover track, ?Hush.? ?Speed King? is another of my favorites and the omission of ?Child In Time? and ?Burn? from the set kept this from being a perfect show for me.
The band was simply amazing. Gillan is still a charismatic frontman despite his hair having more salt than pepper in it these days. His white outfit resembled pajamas and with his bare feet, he appeared as if he rolled out of bed to play the show. Gillan?s voice is as strong as it ever was and he hit all the highs and held incredible notes. Steve Morse is a guitar legend and he was sharp as a tack. Morse doesn?t look anywhere near his fifty years and earlier in the day, he gave a guitar clinic across the street at Tom Lee Music (www.tomleemusic.ca) to a hundred or so fans. I was even fortunate to catch a pick at the end of the show! His ten minute solo piece combined ?Well-Dressed Guitar? with ?Contact Lost,? a song dedicated to the crew of the space shuttle that went down. The crowd was absolutely spellbound, hanging on every note as Morse displayed his incredible skill. Roger Glover joined the band with Gillan in 1969 and appeared to be having as much fun 35 years later as he did on the first day. His bass solo during ?Speed King? was a bit muddy due to the sound constraints, but otherwise, he hopped around the stage like a man half his age cranking away at his four-string. Don Airey stood perched atop a giant riser and behind a bank of keyboards that, from where I was anyway, made only his head visible. His solo brought out snippets of the theme from STAR WARS, Ozzy Osbourne?s ?Mr. Crowley? and some classical pieces on piano. His playing is extraordinary but his solo went on a bit long and the restlessness of the crowd was obvious. Ian Paice, the only original Purp member left from 1968, still sits behind the drum kit having the time of his life.
Deep Purple/Thin Lizzy was a bit off the beaten path for me as most shows I attend are death metal or other heavy stuff and honestly, it was a nice change. Deep Purple was a treat to these ears having loved their ?70s material and seeing them still smiling and carrying the flag 35 years into their career was quite inspiring. The crowd got off on the energy and enthusiasm of the band and vice versa. All in all, it was a fantastic evening. For those of you unfamiliar with the band, get out and pick up some Purple CDs!!!
DEEP PURPLE SETLIST
Woman From Tokyo
I Got Your Number
Strange Kind Of Woman
Knocking At Your Back Door
Smoke On The Water
***Thanks to Jamie at House of Blues for the ticket and photo pass.