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Deep Purple Live
At Bangkok Impact Arena 7th May 2002

Review: 075
Date: 13 May 02

 


Rating: n/a

Musicians:
Ian Gillan – Vocals, Percussion, & Harmonica
Steve Morse – Lead Guitar
Roger Glover – Bass
Ian Paice – Drums
Don Airey – Keyboards

Set List:
1. Woman From Tokyo
2. Ted The Mechanic
3. Mary Long
4. Lazy
5. The Aviator
6. No One Came
7. Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
8. Well Dressed Guitar
9. Perfect Strangers
10. Smoke On The Water
11. When A Blind Man Cries
12. Fools
13. Speed King
Encores – Hush, Black Night, Highway Star

 


With Deep Purple playing Bangkok, only 2 hours away from Pattaya, how could Pattaya’s well known Rock ‘n’ Roll fraternity resist? In short: of course not. Under the guiding hand of Pattaya’s leading Rock ‘n’ Roll expert Mr. Rick Bryant, a jolly-up coach outing to the Impact Stadium was organized. Through the efforts of Mr. Greg Watkins and the British Chamber of Commerce one of the best boxes (how posh) was rented for the night and a package deal was offered to friends. Like any good rock event the tickets were all sold within minutes after going on sale, snaffled up by an assortment of Pattaya residents. Scattered amongst the crowd were Jesters plenty, the whole of Pattaya’s most popular band Satin Soul, Managing Directors, Retired Air Force officers, and some people who weren’t even born when Deep Purple formed. However, all had one common interest, having a good time and listening to some of the finest Rock ‘n’ Roll ever written.

A bus was rented and at 3.00 p.m. set off laden down with 32 ‘denim & leather clad for the day’ occupants with an equal weight of beer and food to make for a comfortable journey. Some of the music on the journey along Thailand’s fine new highways hadn’t been heard since the early seventies, Blodwyn Pig indeed!

The Stadium was made with plenty of time to spare, but finding only Singha available at the site (a mite too strong that Singha for some of these elderly frail farang minds). It was all back to the bus to diminish further stocks of Heineken. Quite a picnic ensued in the car park, casting many minds back to the days of the late sixties and early seventies.

But by 8.00 p.m. we were all encamped in our lovely box seats awaiting Deep Purple

Deep Purple last played in Bangkok in June of 1991 with a somewhat different line-up to the band that played under the Deep Purple banner at the fantastic Impact Arena. Gone since 1991 are lead singer Joe Lynn Turner, who, although a great vocalist and showman, only lasted one album with Deep Purple as his pop/rock voice never really settled into the Heavy Metal style. Original Purple keyboard wizard and founder of the band Jon Lord, at 60, had decided that one more jaunt around the Far East was a call too many for his road-weary bones, although the rumour is he will re-join the band for one more tour of the U.K and a final album. Lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore also left soon after the last Bangkok gig in the middle of the next tour in one of his usual sulks. Quite frankly, who cares as he has been replaced by the amazing Steve Morse.

In 1991, with only 3 hours sleep after their flight from Japan (where Blackmore flew First Class and the rest of the band Economy), no sound check and an hour and a half car journey to cover 4 kilometres to the concert from the hotel, Deep Purple were blown off stage by the two Thai support bands (Orion Plain, and the Lam Morrisson All Stars). They played for only fifty-five minutes, including encore ‘Smoke On The Water’, of which Blackmore played the intro from off-stage and then left the band to finish the song while he cleared off in his limo to beat the traffic.

They relied far too much on their recent album ‘Slaves and Masters’, only playing a handful of classics to start and finish the show. As bass player Roger Glover said after the show, “We’ve played better and we’ve played worse… I can’t remember when we’ve played worse though”.

But eleven years later, Deep Purple came back to Thailand and put the record straight. Steve Morse was on fire right from the Get-go and Ian Gillan, the real voice of Deep Purple, is back front stage. The long hair of old may be trimmed but the voice and on-stage banter between songs, if anything, is better than ever. Don Airey had been drafted in to fill the boots of Jon Lord and, on the evidence of this show, does an admirable job and would be the obvious choice to take up the keyboard role should Jon Lord decide to hang up his keyboards next year. Roger Glover and Ian Paice, the rhythm section, are the only remaining members of the band from last time, but both seemed determined to make amends, rocking hard all night long and taking well deserved solo sections that held the rabid crowd enthralled in their grip.

Deep Purple have no album to promote at the moment, the last studio album being ‘Abandon’ from 1998, so there was no mistake of playing songs nobody recognized. Every classic Purple song was reeled out to the jubilation of the enthusiastic and knowledgeable local crowd. For those of you who were unfortunate enough to miss the concert, get a copy of the last Deep Purple album ‘Totally Abandon Live’ on CD or DVD and, although nothing can replace the live experience, it gives you an idea and will leave you in no mind not to miss the opportunity again.

After the now infamous Pattaya chant had been ringing round the stadium of ‘Play Something You Know’, the house lights dimmed and, with a flurry of activity, Deep Purple rocked onto the stage, blazing straight into an extended ‘Woman from Tokyo’, where each member of the band was able to stretch out, preparing for the two and a half hours of Rock ‘n’ Roll that was to come. Both the drums and keyboards were up on risers at the back of the stage, which was dominated by a large painting of a sunset, leaving plenty of room for the front three to rock-out. Highlights of the show were the fantastic light and laser show, especially during ‘Perfect Strangers’ dedicated to Ian Gillan’s favorite football club Q.P.R, which got a surprisingly loud roar of approval. Don Airey’s solo keyboard introduction to ‘Lazy’; Steve Morse teasing the audience with snatches of songs by “The Who”, “Hendrix”, “The Kinks”, “Led Zeppelin” and many more, before blazing into ‘Smoke On The Water’; Ian Gillan pretending to be on an aeroplane during Aviator; the thud as Rick Bryant’s jaw hit the ground when he realized they were going to play the forgotten classic ‘Mary Long’, and best of all, the 3 song encore of ‘Hush’, the J.D Southerner song and a hit single for Deep Purple in the United States of America in 1968, when only a young Ian Paice was in the band from the present line-up. Then up-popped the first international hit single ‘Black Night’ including a great sing-a-long conducted by Ian Gillan and Steve Morse. Then to send everybody home on a rockin high ‘Highway Star’. Almost every cover band in the world plays this song, but no one does it quite like Deep Purple.

Today the roof of the Impact Stadium must be a least two feet higher as this time Deep Purple really raised the roof. All their trespasses are forgiven and all the time the mantle of Hard Rock is in the hands of these Road Warriors, it is safe.

Afterwards it was all back on the bus, where Pattaya’s ‘Hicks from the Sticks’ endeavored to have a few beers with those big boys from the city. “Jools” Sukhumvit Soi 4 was our first port of call. But after an awesome display of power drinking from those lovely young girls behind the bar, discretion was decided the better part of valour and that famous Monty Python War Cry was crowed “Runaway” and the Pattaya Motley Crew went up to the Ministry of Sound where, with Zimmer frames in front, most of the crowd took the opportunity to show off their disco moves from the 60’s and 70’s.

Back on the bus and it was an uneventful trip back to Pattaya. (The only sound was that of 32 people all snoring away.) As everyone departed the bus, it was all comrades together with calls of “Great Night” and “Must Do It All Again Soon” (But not just yet as I have to recover, pass the pills.)

Thanks Deep Purple, and spread the word Bangkok is ready for some more Rock ‘n’ Roll.

 

Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew

E-mail: review@mott-the-dog.com


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