Deep Purple, SECC, Glasgow 26th November 2011

Review by Cat Prescott and pictures courtesy of Fishbones Photography for Planetmosh.

Not being a long standing, die hard Deep Purple fan I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at tonight’s concert at the SECC on a wild, windy and wet night, so it was with interest that I took my seat in the packed arena and settled down ready to be entertained.

Support band Cheap Trick took to the stage with a light show that most headliners would be proud of. They started off with “Gonna Raise Hell” which coming from a singer in a white sparkly bus conductor’s outfit didn’t seem quite appropriate.

Anyway, they played competently and in the first few bars a chap down near the front of the all seated stadium stood up and started waving his arms around. He’s going to be popular, I thought to myself.

Then the drum solo started, it was only the first song. Cheap Trick ran through several songs including “California Man”, “I Want You To Want Me” and “If You Want My Love” but I’ll be honest – all the posing and posturing was leaving me a bit bored and cold. It was well played, (apart from the odd dodgy vocal) but it didn’t really do it for me. It seemed very dated. Having gone through their set they left the stage only to return for an encore, now it’s not often that the support band takes an encore. “Want to hear another one?” shouted singer Robin Zander. “Not really” I replied.

He didn’t listen and they launched into “The Dream Police”. Next up in the encore was a fantastic Spinal Tap moment when Rick Nielson staggered on stage with his 5 neck guitar, although he only appeared to play two of the necks. With that, they sang “Good night now ladies & gentlemen, it’s the end of the show, it’s time to go”. Yes, please do. Don’t let me hold you back. And off they went.

I was now crossing fingers, eyes and legs and praying that Deep Purple wouldn’t let me down. The 38 piece Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt Orchestra took to the stage, the lights went down and a huge roar rang round the arena. Deep Purple had arrived with a cracking start of “Highway Star”. ”Hard Lovin’ Man” kept up the pace; there were impressive keyboards from Don Airey blending brilliantly with the orchestra. “Maybe I’m a Leo” I really liked, and then came the first song that I used to really love, “Strange Kind of Woman” which included the always interesting duet between Ian Gillan’s distinctive vocal and Steve Morse’s amazing guitar.

Next up was the title track from their last cd, “Rapture of The Deep” with an eastern influence, odd timings and soaring strings. “Woman From Tokyo” brought large pockets of the crowd to their feet (not for long though as security made them sit down again). There was a bum note in Gillan’s vocal, which to me seemed a bit forced at times, but was still powerful and unmistakeably Gillan.

Steve Morse now had his time in the spotlight showing off his guitar playing skills with lots of twiddly bits. Some of the sounds coming out of his guitar were unbelievable and quite incredible, amazing to hear. He led into “When A Blind Man Cries” with a phenomenal combination of guitar and strings. This one was giving me goosebumps. The light show was awesome; I think the lights in the rest of Glasgow must have been dimmer tonight if the number of watts shining out from the stage was anything to go by. Certainly one of the best and brightest that I’ve seen for a long time.

“Lazy” included a great violin solo from the conductor of the orchestra, and one of the percussion guys up at the back was dancing away to himself. It was good to see them obviously enjoying themselves. Don Airey was next up for his time in the (very bright) spotlight and he showed himself to be an incredibly talented keyboard player with snippets of Mozart (or was it Tchaikovsky?) and I was delighted with a chunk of Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto – ironic really, I took my daughter recently to hear that played by the RSNO and realised that we’d turned up for the 3rd and not the 2nd, and now here it was at a Deep Purple concert – and the assembled crowd were won over (as if they needed to be) when he segued into “I Belong To Glasgow”. Airey’s organ seemed about to take off and the band launched into the epic  “Perfect Strangers” and “Space Trucking”.

The orchestra then started on the unforgettable opening riff of “Smoke on The Water” and the whole place got to its feet, with some impressive headbanging going on down at the front from a guy with a wonderful head of hair. The orchestra certainly added an extra dimension to this classic and the crowd sang along too.  And with that they said their goodbyes and left the stage to rapturous applause!

The encore began with “Hush” (complete with a bit of Chopsticks in the middle” and then bass player Roger Glover had his turn for the solo spot with his bone rumbling playing. “Black Night” was the last song, a magnificent end to the night, one that I had thoroughly enjoyed.

I hadn’t been sure what to expect, I certainly expected more hair, but I was pleasantly surprised and somewhat blown away by the performance, one of the best gigs of the year for me.

Review by Cat Prescott and pictures courtesy of Fishbones Photography for Planetmosh.

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About Sheila

Former Editor, Team Co-ordinator as well as PR, news poster, pass requester, Ex-Scottish Team Leader for PM since 2011 \m/ \m/ Also owner of the infamous Garfield L'arpie, who is a official mascot of RACPA UK. Check out RACPA UK (Rock Against Child Pornography and Abuse UK)