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Some sociologist should examine why rock and the hippie cult found hardcore fans in the IIMs and IITs. Grinding pressure of tests and grades? Wistful hopes of rebellion?

Deep Purple and deeper memories


Deep Purple
Live Concert
Palace Grounds

April 1 2001

The hard rock pioneers who were also one of the first to fuse classical and rock music have chosen Bangalore for a live concert


When hard rock fans in Bangalore, Karnataka, heard that Deep Purple would perform in their city on 1 April, many wondered if it was an April Fool joke. After all, two of the numbers on the group's Fireball album are ominously titled Fools and No one came.

They're coming all right -- the hard rock pioneers who were also one of the first to fuse classical and rock music -- and they've chosen Bangalore among the Indian cities for a live performance as part of their 30th anniversary Asia-Pacific tour.

The group's previous concerts in India during the mid-Nineties were in Mumbai and Delhi. It's a first for Bangalore, and why not? Rock is part of this city's history and those who've lived here long enough will recall its local groups, all of them dead serious about music, most of them successful. But before we name names, let's flash back to the early Seventies, when flower power wafted gradually towards Indian shores and settled in the vast wooded acres of India's premier institutes of higher education.

Some sociologist should examine why rock and the hippie cult found hardcore fans in the IIMs, IITs and so on. Grinding pressure of tests and grades? Wistful hopes of rebellion? Bangalore had a faithful following who would religiously attend Friday jam sessions. No self-respecting rock band would begin its concert on time. The stage would show signs of life a good 60 minutes after the appointed hour, while checking of mikes and tuning of instruments would take another half-hour at the very least. Long hair, guru shirts, batik T-shirts, denim jackets and vividly coloured headbands could be barely discerned in an all-pervasive cloud of nirvanic smoke. Atomic Forest was far out, man. Human Bondage, abs fab -- Babu Joseph, dig? and later, Radha the husky-voiced singer. The Spartans, breaking up and re-forming. Konarak Reddy, "our own Jimi Hendrix", playing at the RSI Grounds with Stanley and Podgy.

Well, Babu made good in Spain with the blues, and his band-mate percussionist Ramesh Shottam is a big name in jazz and fusion today. Konarak now plucks nylon strings -- imagine! -- with Roberto Narain on drums -- they're going to play at the Tata Auditorium next month, so watch out.

When Deep Purple comes to Bangalore after having played in 50 countries on its largest ever world tour, there's going to be a sizeable population of old rockers in the audience. Their teenaged kids, who wouldn't be caught seen dead with them, would no doubt form their own clique as they get blasted off their sneakers by 300,000 watts of sound. Younger fans, who think coke is a soft drink, and speed, what they do on a 100 c.c. bike on a straight stretch, may not be aware of the band's history.

Deep Purple's first hit Hush topped the US charts in 1968. The famous line-up of Ritchie Blackmore (lead guitar), Jon Lord (keyboard), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Gillan (vocals) and Ian Paice (drums) came into existence in '69 when Glover and Gillan left the band Episode Six to join Purple. Their 1970s album Deep Purple in Rock shot them into global prominence. Then followed Machine Head in '72 and the live album Made in Japan. They were at the height of their fame in '73.

Of course, the band has had its ups and downs, ego clashes, breakups and replacements. David Coverdale replaced Gillan on vocals for a while. The band ceased performing in '76 and re-formed in '84 to make the triple Platinum album Perfect Strangers. The brilliant but temperamental Blackmore left the band in '93 and Deep Purple, instead of dying, was re-born. They produced the critically acclaimed Purpendicular in '96. The old line-up of Glover, Paice, Gillan and Lord now includes lead guitarist Steve Morse who has ably filled in for Blackmore.

At the Bangalore concert, they will relive most of their classic numbers and, one hopes, play some from their latest album Abandon.

The Bangalore concert of Deep Purple, sponsored by BPL, is on 1 April 2001 at Palace Grounds, 7.30 p.m. onwards. The event is produced by DNA Networks, the Bangalore-based international concert promoters who have brought to India such artists as Bryan Adams, Boyzone, No Doubt, and Yanni. Tickets, priced at Rs 250, are available at BPL Gallery (the BPL products showrooms) on Brigade Road (Phone 5580549, 5589914), on K.H.Road (2229160, 2271863), and in Koramangala (5535682, 5522900). Also at PRO FX Global Theatre, M.G.Road; Pai International, CMH Road (5219466); Vivek's, Rajajinagar (3403437); Uday Home World, Sankey Road (2097722, 2097733); Kundan Electronics, Cox Town (5483171, 5484511); Uniq, Ganganagar (3431518); Vivek's, Jayanagar (6343430, 6642430). You can call the Current Booking hotline (5526622) to have your tickets delivered at home but you'll be charged Rs 20 on each ticket.

C K Meena

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