arpeggio from an Animals classic, a snatch from an Elvis ballad,
an organ-and-lead guitar jugalbandi,
a missing drumstick, a female Turkish dancer imitation...
was just Deep Purple having a bit of fun on All Fools Day in
Bangalore. And never mind the occasion, this is a band that clearly
believes in having a rollicking time even as it dished out some
serious hard rock to its audience.
fans on the sprawling Bangalore Palace grounds were all steamed up
after two hours of fervour and pace. There was internal combustion
on stage -- compressed energy that exploded in your gut as you
sweltered under an overcast summer sky.
Gillan did a sort of test run -- a preliminary scream -- and boy,
was he still in form! Then they were off, hardly pausing for breath
as they played numbers from most of their albums: Shades of Deep Purple, Deep
Purple in Rock, Machine Head, Fireball, Who Do We Think We Are,
Perfect Strangers, and Purpendicular.
Could you ask for more?
you could. And you'd get the finest Hammond organist in the world
playing a classical piano piece, and near-perfect vocals belted out
by the best ageing screamer in the business. A technical glitch
dampened Jon Lord's organ during his crucial interlude in Fools
and Steve Morse quickly filled in with his dazzling lead. Morse with
his lightning-swift fingering made you forget that Ritchie Blackmore
once seemed irreplaceable.
The concert included a unique version of Speed King, which featured a "conversation" (like the sawal-jawab
in Hindustani classical music) between Lord and Morse first, and
then between Morse and Gillan. A glorious drums solo followed, from
Ian Paice who finally had one of his drumsticks playfully snatched
away by Gillan but kept going right on with a single stick! Morse
indulged in a spot of mischief too when he earlier played an
arpeggio from (The Animals') House
of the Rising Sun and the opening bars of (The Beatles') Day
Bass player Roger Glover's hard-driving rhythm
kept heads shaking and feet stamping wildly throughout, especially
in classics such as Black Night and Smoke on the Water. Gillan wisely didn't attempt to stretch his vocal
limits (the man's in his fifties, for god's sake) in Sometimes I feel Like Screaming and Highway Star but he handled Mary Long and When a Blind Man Cries pretty smoothly.
"Beautiful", said Gillan to the audience while
bidding Bangalore adieu. "I'm getting such good vibes from you." He
swore the group would be back soon. Real soon, in fact, for they had
to reappear a few seconds later to play Highway Star and Hush.
must have said "Superb" about 15 times during the concert.
He meant the audience. It could just as well have described the
performance last night.
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