Deep Purple

Apollo, Manchester

12 October 2013

Apres Vous
Into the Fire
Hard Lovin' Man
Vincent Price
Strange Kind of Woman
Contact Lost
- guitar solo - Uncommon Man
The Mole
- drum solo
Well Dressed Guitar
Above and Beyond
(dedicated to Jon)
Hell To Pay

keyboard solo - Perfect Strangers
Space Truckin'
Smoke on the Water

Encores: Hush - bass solo - Black Night

That's the set list, though not necessarily in the right order. Most of the usual suspects, but note FIVE songs from the new album, and I think the only time I've heard The Mole played live.

But a list of songs is only part of the story. I don't go to a Deep Purple concert for the songs. If I just wanted the songs, I could stay at home and listen to a CD. They could drop all the songs and play a two-hour version of the jam that leads into Hush tonight, and I would be happy. (Well ... maybe I would miss singing Smoke on the Water ...)

I go for the other stuff. The stuff that happens between and within the songs that are unique to the concert. Things like Steve's beautiful solo that leads Contact Lost into the majestic opening of Uncommon Man, where he plays notes I don't think any other guitar player has even thought of. Or his duel with Don's organ in Hush, with spiralling speed and complexity. Or Don's meandering piano solo before Perfect Strangers, which was far too clever for most of us to follow. Or Roger's long and melodic bass solo, or Ian's drum solo played with glowing drum sticks!

And it's the non-musical bits, like Gillan deciding to end Hell To Pay early, and confusing the hell (pardon the pun) out of the rest of the band, causing them to come to a ragged stop—the only time I've ever known the band's uncanny on-stage telepathy to fail them when one of them goes off in an unexpected direction. Or like Don and Steve shaking hands after a particularly dazzling piece of interplay—without either one of them stopping playing! And I love the way that, whoever is taking the lead at any particular point, the rest of the band just watch them with big grins on their faces. Like they're as impressed as we are. Like they're at the best concert they've ever seen.

And the crowd is unanimously impressed. We're squashed together, standing room only, in a boiling hot hall, sweating and singing loud enough to compete with the band. I saw people as young as 16 and older than 60 singing even the new songs word perfectly and cheering like it was ... well ... the the best concert they have ever seen.

Because it was.

I don't say that unless it's true.

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