Just a short concert review confirming that the music journalists could smell a break-up coming. They were absolutely right when it came to Purple as this was one of their last concerts until the reformation in 1984.
By Tony Stewart
At the Empire Pool, Deep Purple rule.
The roaring audience of ten thousand or so press their hands to their heads as their ears get pinned back flat by the band`s first number, and David Coverdale steps forward.
“We`ve come to quash rumours that Purple have finished.”
Lapping up that welcome news, the crowd call for more, little realising in their ecstatic bliss that within the group things do seem decidedly amiss. It`s not only possible, but highly probably that changes in personnel will occur.
Even backstage, an aura of discontent is evident before the gig. There`s no feeling of an event about to happen, which a Wembley gig certainly should be. And the obvious joviality between Lord, Coverdale, Paice and Bolin (Hughes isn`t around) is only superficial. To me the spirit of the band seems drained.
Weariness is offered as an excuse, but more likely discontent is creeping in. Like an unattended case of dry rot.
And back on stage under the elaborate lighting for the first of their two nights at the Pool, the evidence that something`s fundamentally wrong with the present Purple concept is about to unfold.
Admittedly, their second number, “Lady Luck”, proves that the present line-up can work. Coverdale slices his voice, pitched dangerously higher than his natural range will safely allow, through the thick carpet of organ chords laid by Jon Lord, while Ian Paice, on drums, and Glenn Hughes on bass, create as solid a rhythm as anyone could wish for. Tommy Bolin, his long hair tinted a variety of colours, splatters the piece with some frenetic guitar soloing to justify his position as Blackmore`s successor.
It`s a well integrated five-piece, as startlingly direct as a glass of cold water down your neck, but the impact is diluted by bouts of blatant indulgence and internal political games.
Although there`s a fairly high degree of individual ability within Purple, their talents are certainly not directed towards group unity. As Paice slams into the uptempo meat of “Gettin` Tighter” like a gale slamming wooden shutters against a wall, Coverdale is pushed off stage so that Hughes can handle the vocals.
And from this point on, with the exception of Lord`s soulful “This Time Round,” the act is virtually a rotation of solos from Hughes, Bolin, Lord and Paice.
The results are both predictable and bizarre.
As is to be expected, too much instrumental freedom leads to abuse of the privilege. Lord`s main solo deterioriates into sub-Emerson electronic noise, and Bolin blows his rating with the audience by strutting his talent like a two-bit whore who promises the goods, teases, and eventually doesn`t deliver.
The main weirdness exists between Bolin (who invariably seems on the point of losing his balance) and Hughes, who face each other like two fighting cocks sizing up one another`s potential threat.
But Coverdale gets the rough deal. So infrequent and brief are his appearances on stage that he fails to establish a firm rapport with the audience, and “Speed King” seems a contrived finale.
What Purple lack is conflict. Gone is the jousting of organ and guitar for space that used to exist between Blackmore and Lord which created so many spontaneous solos. An occasional clash between the vocals of Coverdale and Hughes wouldn`t be out of place either.
Instead, they all merely go through the motions of a formula which becomes increasingly boring as the set continues. And you can even tell when the dry ice is going to be poured onto the stage.
No, they`re not finished. Not quite.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Laura Nyro, The Eagles, King Crimson, Phil Spector, Dick Morrisey and Terry Smith, Zal Cleminson, The Who/Steve Gibbons Band, Bobby Womack, The Tubes.
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