Deep Purple

support Kiss Me Scarlett
author MST date 15/12/11 venue Forum, Horsens, DEN

I have no idea how to start this one. I mean, how do you introduce one of the most legendary rock bands in history, a 44-year-old ensemble of inspiration to thousands of bands that formed after them? I guess that last sentence was alright. But this December night didn't just treat us to the legendary Deep Purple, because the old-timers had brought the 46-man Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt orchestra to further emphasize the legendary songs that helped establish the foundation of hard rock and heavy metal as we know it today.

The Forum in Horsens is a big stadium that would've been able to contain tens of thousands of people, but given the nature of the music on display this evening, it was a seated show, and therefore there were "only" around 4000 people in the audience. Being the fancy journalists that we are, we were forced to leave our regular friend to head into the VIP area. There were free drinks, and I was driving. Bummer. After a head promoter had given a speech to the sponsors in the VIP room we headed into the stage area to find our seats.

Kiss Me Scarlett

Before the real show started we had to sit through the young Danish band Kiss Me Scarlett. By "sit through" I don't mean to say that the band were bad, not at all, it was just ridiculously irrelevant and unnecessary. Kiss Me Scarlett describe their sound as "the wildness of the 90's and the love of the 60's", and there is indeed sort of a Beatles-60's-feeling to their modern pop rock. Led by a tambourine-wielding lead singer dancing around the stage, the rest of the band consisted of a drummer, a bassist and three guitarists. The three guitarists all played different riffs and helped with backing vocals, so there was plenty to experience during their set. In fact, the rhythm guitarist on the far right looked like he was taken from a band supporting The Beatles fifty years ago. So in the end, despite the fact that the band's songs started to blend in with each other rather quickly because of their extreme predictability and the unnecessity of the band's support slot in the first place, credit must be given where credit is due and Kiss Me Scarlett didn't disappoint on this December night.

Deep Purple & Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt

You could feel the excitement levels rising in the Forum as the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt orchestra ascended the stage to find their seats behind the Deep Purple setup for the last time in 2011, because the concert in Horsens was the last show of the orchestra tour and the final Deep Purple show of 2011. The orchestra started the show with an orchestral intro before red police car-like lights announced the imminent entry of the rock legends. Behind the drumkit the only remaining original member of the band, Ian Paice, sat wearing sunglasses and in a great mood. The latest addition to the band happened in 2001 when Don Airey replaced Jon Lord on keys, but he is now a completely integral part of the band. The same can be said about Steve Morse who replaced Ritchie Blackmore on guitars in 1994. In front of the drum set we found Roger Glover on bass, who has been part of the band since 1969. As the orchestral intro concluded, the show was started with the energetic "Highway Star", and after about 20 seconds of the song, singer Ian Gillian entered the stage to applause aplenty.

It is no secret that Deep Purple are an old band, and therefore you can't expect the band members to jump around the stage like they were in their twenties, but Deep Purple are still alive and kicking. Glover was constantly moving, smiling or in other types of interaction with the audience, Paice was a powerhouse of energy even after 44 years of playing the drums in Deep Purple and the way Gillian was dancing, singing and playing the tambourine you wouldn't believe that he turned 66 in 2011. There were signs though, such as the occasional cough between lines and the fact that he is almost completely unable to scream nowadays, leaving the screamed parts of the songs sounding whiny, but otherwise his singing was spectacular. Moving through a setlist consisting of songs from most of their albums but focused on the classic albums "Machine Head" and "Fireball", the band played old classics such as the aforementioned "Highway Star" and "Lazy" (with Gillian's harmonica and the conductor playing a violin solo that ended as a solo-duel with Morse) and "Space Truckin'" as well as newer compositions such as the title track to 2005's "Rapture Of The Deep" which has an arabic feel to it. Song number four, "Maybe I'm a Leo", was played without the help of the orchestra, resulting in the conductor standing still throughout the song, looking rather awkwardly misplaced. However when the orchestra was active he did what a conductor does with energy and passion. But the show was still all about Deep Purple and the legendary "Songs That Built Rock", as the tour was called. Airey and Morse played solo after solo after solo on keys and guitar, and only short amounts of time were spared for talking between songs. There was a long dramatic guitar solo as an intro to "When A Blind Man Cries" and even a drum solo later on during which one of the violin players teased Paice with a Muppet doll.

The audience stayed in their seats throughout most of the set, but when "Space Truckin'" was followed by the iconic "Smoke On The Water" a good handful of people got up from their seats and ran all the way up front, resulting in the rest of the seated audience in the isle having to stand up to be able to see properly, and that made the rest of Forum get on their feet as well for one hell of a party. An hour and forty minutes after the band ascended the stage, the band said goodbye and left the crowd cheering for more. And more was what we got. The orchestra were the first to return, and then Deep Purple came back to the sound of the orchestra playing "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Song". "Black Night" concluded the set with a great final party, and this time the band left a completely satisfied audience behind. Sure, there were things that could potentially have been better had the band been younger, but for a 2011 Deep Purple concert the band surpassed all expectations. And while the orchestra may be a cheap trick to highten the experience, it does work. Sometimes you need to set aside the critic inside you and embrace the good stuff.

9

Setlist:

  • 1. Deep Purple Overture
  • 2.‬ Highway Star
  • ‪3.‬ Hard Lovin' Man
  • ‪4.‬ Maybe I'm a Leo
  • ‪5.‬ Fireball
  • ‪6.‬ Strange Kind of Woman
  • ‪7.‬ Rapture of the Deep
  • ‪8.‬ Woman From Tokyo
  • ‪9.‬ Contact Lost
  • (Guitar Solo)
  • ‪10.‬ When a Blind Man Cries
  • ‪11.‬ The Well Dressed Guitar
  • ‪12.‬ The Mule
  • (Drum Solo)
  • ‪13.‬ Lazy
  • ‪14.‬ No One Came
  • ‪15.‬ Perfect Strangers
  • ‪16.‬ Space Truckin'
  • ‪17.‬ Smoke on the Water
  • (Encore)
  • ‪18.‬ Hush
  • ‪19.‬ Black Night

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