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Deep Purple (plus The Planets) – Colston Hall, Bristol 18th September 2002 

Deep PurpleIt’s 18th September 2002 and I'm at the Colston Hall in Bristol to see Deep Purple - a band I have always enjoyed listening to but had not seen for about 30 years.

Firstly, a quick word about the support act, The Planets, a group of talented, classically trained young musicians who played an entertaining fusion of rock and classical music.  I thoroughly enjoyed them and only wished I had arrived earlier so that I could catch the whole of their set.  They seemed to go down well with the audience (especially amongst the guys, who particularly appreciated the attractive mini-skirted females in the group!).

Deep PurpleDeep Purple arrived on stage to a rapturous welcome.  The line-up was Steve Morse on guitar, Don Airey on keyboards, plus the usual suspects, Roger Glover, Ian Paice and Ian Gillan.  I did wonder at first if Ian was turning into Jon Anderson, what with his silk white trousers and flowing kaftan-style top.  He looked good though, and it must be said his voice is as strong as ever.  The band launched straight into Fireball - a great start to the show.  From the first few bars I knew it was going to be a good night.  Other highlights were When a Blind Man Cries - a haunting, bluesy number that had the audience mesmerised, an electrifying, extended version of Speed King, Space Truckin' and of course Smoke on the Water.

Deep PurpleJon Lord arrived on stage at the start of Perfect Strangers, to be greeted by huge cheers from the crowd, and stayed till the end of the show.  Smoke on the Water saw Don Airey and Jon Lord playing together.  Bernie Marsden of Whitesnake also joined the band on stage at this point.

Deep PurpleThe complete set list was Fireball, Woman from Tokyo, Mary Long, Ted the Mechanic, Lazy, Well Dressed Guitar, When a Blind Man Cries, Space Truckin', Perfect Strangers, Speed King and Smoke on the Water.

The encores were Hush (great to hear that one again), a powerful Black Night and Highway Star.  I was seated in the balcony and had a perfect view.  I couldn't help wishing though that I were downstairs in front of the stage where everyone was obviously having a good time.  The people all around me remained seated the whole time, so I felt I had to as well, but I mean, how can you not get up and dance to Black Night and Smoke on the Water??  Being over 40 is no excuse!  It has to be said though that the audience were appreciative - there were many cheers and standing ovations.  Ian Gillan spoke at one point of the warm feelings and "special vibes" he was getting from us (he is turning into Jon Anderson!) and thanked us for being a great audience.  The band certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves and there were emotional scenes with Jon Lord looking visibly moved and hugging each member of the band.

The show finally ended with Ian jumping down from the stage and shaking hands with everybody in the front row.

So, not a ‘Black Night’ then, but a fantastic my friend said "well, that blew the cobwebs away" certainly was a great evening and I just wish I hadn't waited 30 years to see the band in action again.

Sue Neville

(Photos courtesy of Doug Anderson

The Planets

Deep Purple - The Original Web Pages: The Highway Star


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