Manchester hosts the legends that are Deep Purple tonight. With support from Europe and Cats in Space, it’s a truly fantastic lineup.
Taking the stage first are Cats In Space who completely take over with their high energy tracks and keyboard-heavy music. Playing through tracks from both their albums, frontman Paul Manzi got the crowd started with some early interaction and a sing-along. The entire band were dynamic to watch and were a great start to the night and the perfect choice having supported the likes of Thunder and Thin Lizzy in the past.
Europe took the stage next and completely took over the arena. Kicking off with a couple of tracks off their new album, they played “Walk the Earth” and “The Siege” before launching into the classic “Rock The Night”. Frontman Joey Tempest made full use of the stage as he bounded around and drew your eye to him. As frontmen go, he was engaging and connected with the crowd. Even after so many years of being a band, the entire set was full of energy and was absolutely entertaining to watch. Although a fully seated show, people were standing at the barrier to rock out and show their love to the band. The band played a good mix of tracks in order to cater all fans in the audience tonight including “Election Day” and “Superstitious”. Closing with “Days Of Rock and Roll” before launching into the classic that is “The Final Countdown”. It was the moment the crowd had been waiting for and it was this moment that the crowd could really be heard singing along. It was the only way that this set could end and certainly got the crowd warmed up for the main headliners tonight.
Last but certainly not least on stage tonight were our main headliners, Deep Purple. Entering the stage in style and opening with “Time For Bedlam”. Ian Gillan’s voice dominates the crowd as his voice is still exceptional after all these years. Although not overly active on stage he is still able to draw attention to himself through both the power of his voice and his ability to joke and interact with the crowd. When speaking to the crowd, Gillan talks in a familiar way that pulls you in and makes you feel comfortable with the band.
One of the reasons this band has been so successful over the years is the fact that the keyboard is just as an important instrument as the guitar. Don Airey’s talent on an organ is next to none and through the wonders of technology, this crowd is able to witness this up close. A camera set up on his keyboard is able to capture the nimbleness of his fingers and pure talent. Airey’s solo is a feat of pure talent and enjoyment.
Another stand out performer tonight is Steve Morse. Throughout his performance, he controls his instrument with the confidence of a man who has done this for years. His solos are exceptional and he certainly knows how to own his guitar.
Deep Purple have provided us with great music over past 50 years and tonight the crowd were treated to some of those classics such as “The Surprising”, “Birds Of Prey” and “Perfect Strangers”. Of course, the band also had to play that truly iconic track of “Smoke On The Water”. The crowd went all out in singing along with Gillan and once again the crowd could clearly be heard.
Closing the night with a cover of “Hush” and “Black Night”, it was the perfect ending to the show. It’s always emotional saying farewell to some of these iconic bands and knowing never again will we get to witness them live on stage. However this tour is a perfect way to say goodbye, the band still have the stamina and energy to give us one last hurrah before retiring gracefully and for that we are thankful.
With just a few dates left, if you can grab yourself a ticket I’d highly recommend you do!
More DEEP PURPLE Shows:
20/11/17 CARDIFF, MOTORPOINT ARENA
22/11/17 GLASGOW, SSE HYDRO
23/11/17 LONDON, O2
Review by Emmie Ellis
Photography by Mark Ellis