Deep Purple - 24th May 2017, Spodek Hall, Katowice, Poland

DEEP PURPLE
SPODEK HALL, KATOWICE, POLAND
24TH OF MAY, 2017.

    Deep Purple delivered a fine, enjoyable show last Wednesday in Katowice. From the long-time fan point of view (or even type of "hardcore" as Ian Paice puts it) the show might be judged from two angles: proffesional, musical and emotional - heart-dangling (or not).
    
    Looking more technically at the concert, not much can be thrown against the band. They are truly great, well oiled  machine, with their performing ability still "putting the rest in the shade", which is indeed amazing, in the wake of the fact that age of the band members - the "old core" of Paice, Glover and Gillan - is at the average of 71!. Not note-for-note perfect playing - it  was easy to spot the moments where Gillan or Morse got their trainwreck tumble moments, with voice or fingers slipping off. Still, however, they have the sound, the energy. That magic rip-through that will put the youngsters half as old as them bleak and bland in the picture. Yes, I am punning at the support act that preceeded Purple (The Monster Truck from Canada - no offense to those of you who like them, please!). They were good, but completely indistinctive and doing no 'wow' effect on me whatsoever. And that is, actually, what differs the descending rock giants from aspiring wanna-bees aiming at carrying the classic rock torch on. Purple members are as excellent as efficient skill-wise as a best class rocker can be, with Paice and Glover absolutely astounding as the rhythym section, seeming to lose almost nothing with age. And Airey and Morse, both are widely recoginised and praised for their technical abilities and instrumental effortlessness. Well, tad too much of that at times. Both guys had the moments where they bent dangerously into losing their integrity and going too much 'Yngwee Malmsteen' in showing-off. Don playing all the reminiscents of his solo spots well known and repeated since his days in Rainbow circa 1979 before "Lazy" or Steve in the ending of solo in "Smoke on the Water": with 3/4's of it being played with extreme equisity and classic feel, only to be ruined at the end with the usual Morse-ish fingers trashing and smashing at the end. Those who follow only the "current" incarnation of the band may surely love it in and out, but for those of us who remember the levels of finesee displayed by Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore, who were often playing in the mode "less notes sound so far much deeper and more" - this is rather a let down, than lift up. This is not anymore THE JAZZ ART of playing rock that Purple was once renowned for, it's more efficient craftsmanship, calculated and directed with a watch in the hand. Number of bars per track precisely counted and nothing more off-head beyond that. It's still extraordinary when compared to other rock acts, but in Purple history context of their musical fame, they are now stiffly set up in the mode of their own comfort and being totally predictable, night after night. And it doesn't change much for last 17 years or so, as for now. Yes, they have a fair right to do that if they like playing the same set night after night. No, it doesn't carry the spirit of the vintage Purple anymore. The battle of fractions arguing whether it's righteus or not, may carry on. I, myself (opinion is valid as anyone's, mind you), may like and enjoy that for some part, but to love that with all my might? - no, I can't; sorry Dudes. I go to see Deep Purple every 2-3 years in hopes that they retain more of their vintage spirit AND appreciate more of their own excellent Morse-era catalogue. Every next time to no avail for that. Does it mean that I did not like the show? Sure not, the hot moments were there, plenty of 'em. The new tracks worked wonderfully in live setting even though they all were (BLOODY AGAIN!) played with almost mathematic accuracy to the studio versions. What is there so hutrful to let loose a bit here and there, boys? Still "The Surprising" and "Birds Of Prey" are already classic staples, they sound as amazing live as they did in the studio. "Time For Bedlam" is a fabulous opener to the gig despite Gillan's inability to sound vile and melodic at the same time. And "Johnny's Band" really swings, especially with Don playing the organ solo with wonderfully vintage tone of keys. "Now What!?" choice of cuts is pure comedy though, if that's what's representative of this record's power - please, don't make me laugh. Only the amazing playing of the band is leaving some style in (amazing improvs by Don Airey inside of both cuts, even in something as bad as "Uncommon Man", more ELP-Yes tribute than Purple), but the choices are apalling. With "Simple Song" and "Weirdistan" never even touched live and "Aprez Vous" or "Above And Beyond" being left off (not to mention zero track selection from Purpendicular at least!) - it's poorly buit setlist from current line-up promotion POV. A relatively minor quibble, this, anyway. You can't sit still with "Bloodsucker" being belted out the way they did it on stage. Don Airey playing a fair selection of Chopin materpieces in the solo (as the bow to enjoying being in Poland again) and the organ growl of the monumental motiff announcing "Perfect Strangers" inevitably sent me into chills on the body and burst of tears, as it always does. Part of me probably then cried after Jon Lord - retaining the feeling of having Him lost, but the rest of me was celebrating the most excellent rock music there is. One that shines, regardless of who actually is playing these tunes - unless done with that enough of class as Airey/Gillan/Glover/Morse/Paice still do.

    That's what the concert was in summary: celebration the Purple glory of almost 50 years with the participation of music and musicans that now officialy carry the torch burning on. The best craftsmen available, with strong resemblence to the yore of the classic glory days, with all the highs and lows of being a craftsmen present. Still, applauded to do their task by the masses... Rather projecting the picture of Purple power and approach to soaring live appearance that we got used to over decades, than actually being living, breathing spirit of this amazing band on stage. It's so much more than having none of that at all in year 2017, but... that is just that. With too much scheme in and overall predictibility longing in stage show for years now, that's what you are dead sure to get. A pleasing projection, a holograme of something fabulous and unique that we came across in our lives some decades ago.

(C) (R) SRS

Setlist: Time For Bedlam; Fireball; Bloodsucker; Strange Kind Of Woman; Johnny's Band; Uncommon Man; The Surprising; Lazy (w long organ intro); Birds Of Prey; Hell To Pay; Don's Keyboard Solo (including Chopin and traditional folk song); Perfect Strangers (key dropped down RIGHT after keyboard intro - awful! but necessary to save Gillan's voice); Space Truckin'; Smoke On The Water

Encores (the same for last 9 years of touring now!!!): Green Onions intro; Hush (w/ long call-response between Don and Steve); Roger's Bass solo; Black Night. Total time - 105' - dead precise every night!

Comments

  • The SeekerThe Seeker Posts: 574
    What was Gillan's voice like?    Most reports are that it is completely shot.  

    I saw them a couple of years back and he was leaving the stage in most solos and in between songs. presumably to gargle or get some other form of treatment
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