Deep Purple

AO Arena, Manchester

26 October 2022

It's another big arena, and that's all I have to say about the venue. The sound is good, though. It starts dodgy, with Blue Oyster Cult's first song seemingly swallowed up, but it soon sorts itself out and both bands end up sounding great.

Blue Oyster Cult are magnificent. I'm only really a casual fan, and only recognise three songs (Burning for You, Godzilla, and of course that one) but I like everything they play in their hour-long set. They are a lot more powerful than I would have expected, and I'm impressed with how they rotate the vocals as well as the lead guitar lines among the members. And Buck Dharma is phenomenal. After three shows, I think it's safe to say I'm more than a casual fan now. Best support Deep Purple have had since ... probably Lynrd Skynrd, 20 years ago.

Deep Purple ... I've said it all before and I'm not going to repeat myself. I'll just pick out some highlights.

Of which the biggest is Nothing at All, Deep Purple's new best song. It's so beautiful. Even with the power of a live performance rocking it up, it's still the most delicate, beautiful song Deep Purple (with J.S. Bach) have ever written.

And Ian Gillan on When a Blind Man Cries, the best Deep Purple song ever, and Ian's best vocal performance for many years, and how does he hold that note in Space Truckin'?

And Simon interpolates Child in Time into his Pictures of Home solo, and just 20 seconds of the best song in the history of the world is worth the whole trip to Manchester.

And I'm weeping with joy at Simon's solo before Uncommon Man, the most perfect solo I've heard since ... since the last time I heard Steve Morse play.

And Perfect Strangers.

And Simon's guitar seems to cut out just before the call-and-response in Black Night, and Roger and Don immediately fill the space with bass and keyboard solos, because the telepathy in this band is miraculous.

And Don pouring himself a beer in the middle of his organ solo, without actually stopping the solo.

And it's all just perfect.

I don't want this band to ever stop.