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Hard Rock Café , London, 11 October 2005

To celebrate the re-opening after a fire earlier in the year, the café was opened for this special event, that sadly featured more trendy suits, business types, cast iron spiky haircuts and those ‘wishing to be seen at the event’ than genuine Deep Purple fans; including foulmouthed celebrity gobshite brat Kelly Osbourne who took part in the charity auction.

Packed, with 200-300 people or thereabouts, it was a smoky and sweaty atmosphere when Rooster came on stage. Indie rock, the new Reef, NME favourites. Not bad but certainly nothing outstanding or too grabbing. Very formulaic trendy indie rock.

Deep Purple hit the stage late, playing a straight set of 65 minutes. First song or two they were a little unsure of themselves, I think because of the setting, atmosphere and crowd, but as soon as they realised that they were actually on form and would go down a storm, they soon had the place rocking.

Ian Gillan remains one of the truly great rock frontmen, smiling and certainly in top condition and very strong on this tiny stage; the band barely having room to move. Bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice proved a solid and exciting rhythm section that certainly put Rooster to shame.

New boys guitarist Steve Morse and pianist Don Airey were not only on form but stamped their sound on songs new and old, fitting in seamlessly.

More recent songs from the last few albums and the latest set Rapture Of The Deep were just as good as anything Purple have ever done and went down well, and mixed in perfectly with older numbers. Airey’s lengthy keyboard intros to Lazy, Perfect Strangers and Highway Star were superb.

Smoke On The Water remains the perfect set closer as always.

An encore of Black Night and Hush had to be abandoned due to time constraints (starting an hour late didn’t’ help). Apart from that, no complaints whatsoever. On this evidense, Blackmore and Lord won’t be missed.


I've Got Your Number
Strange Kind Of Woman
Kiss Tomorrow
Rapture OF the Deep Wrong Man
Perfect Strangers
Highway Star
Smoke On The Water

Review: Joe Geesin

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