Deep Purple at Utilita Arena, Birmingham - Review

Deep Purple at Utilita Arena, Birmingham - Review


Posted 2022-10-26 by Andy Colemanfollow

Tue 25 Oct 2022 - Wed 26 Oct 2022

The much anticipated, Covid-delayed Deep Purple Whoosh! tour at last reached Birmingham – and it was well worth the wait.

The show was originally scheduled for October 2020 to promote the Whoosh! album, but since then the band has released another album, Turning to Crime, and recruited guitarist Simon McBride to replace long-serving Steve Morse who recently left the group for family reasons.

The heart of the gig at Birmingham's Utilita Arena , though, remains the 50-year-old album, Machine Head. Tracks from the landmark record bookended the main set, with the mighty Highway Star and Pictures of Home launching the 95-minute show and Space Truckin' and Smoke on the Water (of course!) bringing it to a close. Halfway through, we were also treated to Machine Head's Lazy, for which frontman Ian Gillan dusted down his harmonica for a bluesy solo.

It's difficult to believe that singer Gillan is 77. He may not now reach as many high notes, but his voice is solid and he's a jovial host. He claimed that the first three numbers were "Some light jazz and skiffle to get us started" and introduced Nothing At All from Whoosh! as "Deep and meaningful and mercifully short", perhaps a nod to the fact that many of the songs were elongated by lengthy guitar and keyboard solos. During these interludes, Gillan wandered to the back or side of the stage to admire the skills of keyboard maestro Don Airey , 74, and new riff Meister Simon McBride , a relatively youthful 43.

Don Airey's contribution covered classical, prog, jazz and pop – and it was nice to see Uncommon Man dedicated to former keyboard wizard and founder member Jon Lord who died in 2012.

New boy McBride (pictured above) is certainly earning his pay. His guitar solos regularly feature throughout the set, and he works particularly hard in the encore, duelling with Airey's keys in Hush and getting the most out of the effects pedals in Black Night. It's also in the encore that 76-year-old bassist Roger Glover has his moment in the spotlight, joining forces with 74-year-old drummer Ian Paice for a musical workout that segues into Black Night.

The crowd loved it – especially as it was a value for money package due to a tight 60-minute support set by Blue Oyster Cult who received a deserved standing ovation from an audience hungry for as much classic rock as they could get.

After a gig at Manchester Arena on October 26, the tour moves to France, Germany and Portugal.

**Deep Purple setlist:

Highway Star
Pictures of Home
No Need to Shout
Nothing at All
Uncommon Man
When a Blind Man Cries
Perfect Strangers
Space Truckin'
Smoke on the Water
Black Night **

#music -venues
!date 25/10/2022 -- 26/10/2022
70789 - 2023-01-26 01:49:23


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