Gig Review by Zyllah Morrane-Brown. 
Deep Purple photos by Bianca Barrett;  Europe photos by Chris Bowley.

Deep Purple are one of the legends of rock. Formed way back in ’68, in a time that gave us local legends Sabbath and Zeppelin, they are too are one of the pioneers, that spawned a million rock fans. And tonight their ‘The Long Goodbye Tour’ reaches Birmingham Arena, with special guests, and legends in their own right Europe.

Deep Purple

Europe were somewhat surprisingly formed back in ’79, and have goebn on to release eleven albums, selling 25 million albums worldwide. Of course they are most notable for THAT track  from 1986 ‘ The Final Countdown’. In ’92 they went into hiatus, and reformed in 2003, with their most recent release this year ‘Walk The Earth.’ Vocalist Joey Tempest and the rest of the guys where heavily inspired by the likes of Deep Purple, Whitesnake and co., so it is only befitting that they warm up the audience nicely tonight.

20171117 - Europe Supporting Deep Purple - Arena Birmingham - 17112017 - 7

20171117 - Europe Supporting Deep Purple - Arena Birmingham - 17112017 - 4

Deep Purple are truly icons of hard rock, formed back in the late sixties when so many of the iconic metal bands formed. And it’s about right, that they start off the UK leg of this tour in an area deemed the Home of Metal.

Deep Purple

Deep Purple
Deep Purple

The line-up may have changed over the years (Lord, Coverdale, Blackmore, Hughes and even for a brief moment, Satriani) tonight’s lineup features drummer Ian Paice (the only member never to have left), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Gillan (vocals) plus Steve Morse (guitar) and Don Airey (keyboards). Once bestowed with the title of “Loudest Pop Group” by the Guinness Book of World Records throughout their career they’ve sold over 100 million records.

It was Purple’s iconic albums ‘In Rock’ (1970), ‘Machine Head’ (1972) and ‘Made In Japan’ (1973) that catapulted them to the top in concert grosses and album sales around the world, at that iconic track ‘Smoke On The Water’ ascending to every up and coming guitarist’s first chord to learn. And they’re still recording and releasing albums – the most recent ‘Infinite’ released this year.

Deep Purple

Deep Purple

The fans are here en masse tonight the hear the band cover their near 50 year music legacy  and the screen at the back of the stage sets the scene at the start of the gig, where the band’s faces are etched into a great iceberg. Touching and iconic, the band members are getting older, and have struggled with health issues and this tour may, or may not be, their last tour. Paice, had a mini stroke last year, but tonight energetically drumming, you would not have known. But for these guys it is a long tour, worldwide and starting in May, goes on until December 2017, and there is even a few dates in Summer next year.

Gillan is now 72, and while there are glimmers of his once powerful vocal prowess, in reality, it’s just not able to carry some of the more powerful tracks, so it’s to the new album ‘Infinite’ and the set starter; ‘Time for Bedlam.’ There are tracks that are missing and for a band that have relentlessly toured, an acknowledgment to father time from the eloquent Gillan, “We thought this might be the last one.We weren’t too well a couple of years ago. But we are all feeling better now and we might carry on now, we’ll see how it goes.”

A mix of a set the highlight had to be the  storming version of ‘Smoke on the Water’ complete with flames on the giant screen burning newspaper headlines about the Montreux fire which inspired the song.

Deep Purple

Deep Purple

Deep Purple are one of the icons of rock / metal. And for a band that have been going for so long, everyone will have their stance on which is the best model, Deep Purple I, II, III, IV et al. And Deep Purple were, quite rightly, inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

Tonight’s gig was one for the fans. Few bands leave such a legacy; few have influenced generations. And yes, I went home with THAT riff going round my head, wondering just how many people learnt it as the first guitar riff they ever learnt. I had a text of a mate’s son. He’s just turned 18. I said I was at Deep Purple. His response: Durn durn durrrr, durn durn dedurrrr, durn dum derrrr, dum derrrrrr……..

For more photographs of Deep Purple + Europe check out our Flickr Page.

Time for Bedlam
All I Got Is You
Uncommon Man
The Surprising
Birds of Prey
Knocking at Your Back Door
Perfect Strangers
Space Truckin’
Smoke on the Water

Black Night

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