Deep Purple

Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow

13 October 2013

The set list was almost identical to Manchester (the only change being to substitute The Male for The Mole). The solos and jams were different, of course.

In Manchester, being completely honest, Ian Gillan was the weak link, obviously struggling with his voice. In Glasgow, I am happy and relieved to report, he sounded as good as at any time in the last 10 years, maybe even better, the problems that plagued him the night before evidently banished. The power was there, he didn't back away from the high notes, and he didn't even forget too many lyrics. Of course his voice has changed since his prime. He sort of howls rather than screams, but his tone when he's singing (as opposed to howling) comes through as beautifully as ever. And he still brings the same sense of fun to the procedings. During the guitar call and response at the end of Strange Kind of Woman, Steve isn't playing quite the right note Ian wants to hear, so after a few attempts he just sticks his fingers on the fret to force him to play it, which seems to amuse Steve greatly.

The rest of the band, of course, are flawless and are stretching out the instrumental sections (when Ian leaves the stage, presumably for a bit of a lie down!) brilliantly. Don Airey is playing the best Hammond of his career I would say, rolling through some astounding solos in Lazy and Hush, and brilliant duels with Steve.

And I have now seen how Ian Paice "magically" changes to his glowing drum sticks during The Male—and it is like magic, and no less impressive for seeing how the trick works.

Five new songs again. Stand-out tracks are Uncommon Man, with an extended instrumental introduction that grows organically out of Steve's solo; Above and Beyond (dedicated to Jon), the chugging riff sounding monstrously powerful and getting a big crowd response; and Vincent Price, which is just joyfully bonkers.

The only weak one I think is Apres Vous, which is a shame as that's what they're starting the set with. It's not an outstanding track on the album, and the live treatment doesn't bring anything particularly special to it. Hell To Pay might be a better opener. That's another track that isn't one of the stand-outs on the album, but one that works brilliantlly live. It's played with great energy and even has a sing-along chorus (it's also amusing to watch Roger and Steve try to sing the chorus into Ian's microphone, they're all over the stage when they remember they're supposed to do it, and have to race back. Deep Purple doesn't do backing vocals.) But I think my vote would be to drop Apres Vous entirely and bring in Bodyline, which I think would get the whole crowd dancing.

Ah, what the hell, they can play what they like, I danced through the whole gig anyway, and sang every song, and cried all the way through Above and Beyond (I usually hold out until Perfect Strangers, but, well, you know).

And I do these things (things I would never normally be caught dead doing, much less admitting to in public) because that's what I do when I am at the best concert I have ever seen.

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