Out on the Deep Purple European Tour, that was an pre-tour for the release of their album “Burn”, Mr. Makowski was able to see the band in an very interesting period. They had just recorded their first album without two of their most famous members, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, who were out of the band because of internal “conflicts”.
Now they had to find and introduce two new members that they hoped would be able to fill the giant shoes of the two were before them. Written before the release of their first album with Coverdale and Hughes, this was one of the first reports that fans of the band got of the new line up. I believe they felt a bit calmer after reading this report from Mr. Makowski.
Purple are back, `nuff said?
Pete Makowski reports on their European tour
I was poundering many a question on leaving Heathrow Airport for Belgium to see the new look Deep Purple band who`ve recently acquired a vocalist and bass guitarist. Vocalists, like lead guitarists, are considered to be the focal point of most bands so the main question that arose was could Dave Coverdale take the floor where Ian Gillan had once stood with as much success? Glen Hughes – replacing Roger Glover – was playing bass and sharing vocals, how would he fair? Would the band die a death or receive their usual reception from droves of hard core fans?
Brussels proved as depressing and bleak a country as the one I`d just departed. The airport bus hostess called for our attention and informed that the vehicle was not working and that we`d have to walk across a barren runway plagued with gale force winds and heavy sleet.
On arrival at the band`s hotel it seemed that Purple were taking the chance of a sound test but at departure time they seemed calm enough, only Dave nervously anticipating the gig ahead and chewing his nails like a man awaiting the outcome of the 2.30 at Chepstow.
Glen Hughes confirmed that Purple had gone down extremely well in the earlier part of the tour as we filed into an awaiting fleet of sleek black limos – rock and roll`s adopted transport nowadays – to make our way to the gig.
At the Forest National concert hall the band made their way down the long dark tunnel leading to the dressing rooms, passing a grey haired old lady collecting autographs and the usual lingerers hoping for a sight of their idols. A quick check with the roadies that everything was running according to schedule up front.
Inside the dressing rooms Jon Lord began tuning his mini Moog. Glen picked away on bass and from the next room came the thin rasping sound of Ritchie Blackmore`s guitar through the practice amp. Ian Paice wandered aimlessly around welcoming people with a rap on the head from his drumsticks. Like most drummers Ian is a genuine looner but has a great many interesting things to say about music too.
Dave Coverdale sat in the corner of the room and told me how pleased he`d been with the audience reactions to him and the `new` band in general. “There are only a few people who ask for the old numbers but they`re not abusive, they just make requests. They are also very critical, they don`t clap because it`s Purple.”
In front of stage my eyes gradually grew accustomed to the light and following the opening set by Tucky Buzzard I made out the shadowy figures of Purple on stage. As the spots lit up and the thunderous applause broke throughout the hall. Blackmore went straight into the chunky chords that intro “Burn”.
Wisps of dry ice filtered round the band`s feet as they joined Blackmore in building the strength of the number, this was the dawning of a new sound and concept for Purple and their music is certainly changing. They maintain that rugged energy element which has always been one of the band`s strengths, but the introduction of two new, enthusiastic members has injected a new vitality into the rest of Purple.
No one`s denying that Gillan and Glover were major forces in the old guard but they seemed to come to a standstill after “Machine Head” and it was generally known all was not quite right regarding the compatability of the band members.
Purple have developed a helluva lot more of what Ian Paice describes as `balls`, the two new members are better than I`d imagined and while I`d always admired Glen Hughes` work in Trapeze I didn`t expect the very funky feel he`s injected into the band.
Dave on the other hand still has a lot to learn about making use of the whole stage area and the tricks of handling a few thousand watts of PA. Dave admitted later: “I used to sing through a hundred watts of PA and now I`ve got God knows how many watts. It`s hard for me to put all my feeling into it but that`ll come in time, the rest of the lads are so bloody good when they`re soloing I find myself standing there in amazement.”
Like Glen, Dave also has a love for soul music and an extremely powerful voice with a lot of depth and guts. By the time Purple reach Britain, Coverdale will be able to prove his virtuosity as a singer and performer and he`s already acquired a great number of European fans.
Back on stage the new numbers are so tight they have to be seen to be believed. Purple played a lot of material from their new album, a recording that will make up for a lot of disappointments on their “Who Do They Think They Are” album. Ritchie has always been acclaimed as a technical player but never as one with enough feel but that`s another thing that can be dismissed.
He comes over as a very tasteful blues guitarist and this is highlighted in a tasty number titled “Mistreated” with all the emotion and feel you want. As a showman he can`t be faulted either, contorting his body to those bent guitar notes, raising his arm high in the air and watching the band out of the corner of his eye to see that everything`s working perfectly.
More crowd eruptions when Jon Lord announced they were going to do one of Purple`s old numbers: “It was written in 1736, hope you like it.” A pregnant silence and then Ritchie delicately plays a flurry of notes that lead into the instantly recognisable chords of “Smoke On The Water”.
Glen and Dave shared the vocals – a very powerful combination – and Paice played a very energetic drum solo featuring some good phasing through the right and left hand bank of on stage speakers.
The set culminated with “Highway Star”, a stunning climax featuring solos from each of the band, Glen constantly strutting back and forth, flicking his long mane of hair back out of his eyes and playing solid, mean bass with a wah wah attachment.
Jon Lord followed with some skillful switching from mini Moog to electric piano and Blackmore put the final seal on the gig by hurling his Stratocaster into the air, catching it a split second before it hit the stage, dry ice swirled again and it was only seconds before they were into the inevitable encore.
Saturday, Frankfurt: It was a particularly hard day for Purple`s road crew, the gear had arrived late and no transport from the airport to the next venue was available. It had been one of those troublesome tours according to Magnet, one of the band`s roadies.
This concert was to be held at the vast Festerhaller which was about five times the size of the previous night`s gig, this (Germany) is Deep Purple country and the gig proved everything it should have, both musically and visually exciting.
But Ian Paice was slightly disappointed with the gig: “The excitement was there but the music wasn`t that together. No one has seen the real potential of this band, I think we`ll be bigger than we`ve been before.” Hot words but Ian`s been in the band to know what`s cooking.
After the concert German EMI held a reception for the band who were presented with engraved gold watches for the sales of “Made In Japan”, “It`s a bit embarrasing receiving a gift for something you didn`t play on” admitted Glen. The reception also marked the band`s release of a double compilation “Mark 1 & 2”. The material includes a beautifully arranged version of the Beatles` “Help”.
As I left Purple they were heading for Munich for a well earned day off, pleased that they`ve been readily accepted with the new guys and I can understand why. This change in personnel has given Purple a complete new lease of life and should leave them safely nestled in the top bracket of rock bands for a good while yet.
Let`s just say Purple are back. Nuff said?
At the time when mushroom and bumble bee motifs were “de rigeur”.
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 Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Leo Sayer, The Who, Gallagher&Lyle, Keith Emerson, Beck, Bogert & Appice, Magma.
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