Over the years I’ve had the privilege to see most major music acts, either as a punter or in a work capacity, but I had never caught Deep Purple until now.
Travelling up from the Algarve we caught the last few songs of Urock, the support band who warmed up the crowd admirably. The crowd itself seemed to be mainly Portuguese and it was pleasantly surprising to see a good number of females and indeed some 20 and 30 somethings all intent on enjoying great old school rock music.
Deep Purple have gone through a number of personnel changes over the years and one of the excellent early songs in the set No Need to Shout seemed to echo this with perhaps a sly tongue in cheek dig at some of the previous band members.
Deep Purple have always been known as excellent musicians and this line up certainly does not disappoint. Ian Gillan has lost none of his vocal range over the years unlike some other old school rockers I could mention and his voice on Blind Man was absolutely spell binding. In addition, I particularly loved his harmonica solo.
The new Irish guitarist Simon McBride, who admittedly I had not heard of before, is every bit as good, if not better, than some of the legends that have gone before him. His playing on the tribute to Jon Lord was full on mind blowing.
The keyboard player Don Airey did a virtuoso display of an hour covering pretty much all genres of music that the crowd loved. Then there was the rhythm section that laid down mesmerising pulsating beats provided by Paice and Glover who have been the main stays of the band pretty much since 1968 and I particularly liked their rhythm solo where the bass beat boom could actually be felt in our hearts.
They finished the set with Smoke on the Water and then the encore with Black Night. What more could you ask for? It was no black night leaving and like the actions of the Violet Flame the audience left Deep Purple transformed and buzzing with positive energy. Just brilliant!