Mott the Dog: Deep Purple at 02 Arena London, 20 October 2022

Our good friend Mark Taylor goes for the role of Lead Vocalist in Deep Purple , should he ever be needed. The boys were very kind to him, but hopefully for the world of Rock’n’Roll Mark will stick to journalism .

5 Stars

If this well anticipated performance proved anything, it was to confirm that Deep Purple, British rock aristocracy at its finest, are still deserving of their superstar status. Obvious to every attendee, that they are revered by their ever faithful and adoring fans.

Formed in London in 1968, they became known as part of the unholy trinity of British rock, and pioneers of heavy metal, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Sadly Zeppelin and Sabbath are no more, but Deep Purple remain a highly active working band, putting out new material on a regular basis.

The excitement was palpable, well before the opening number. Of course, like with any world famous, long enduring legendary band, with such a huge back catalogue, it must have been a massive challenge to come up with a guaranteed crowd pleasing set-list? If the gathered throng were eagerly anticipating the huge hits from the past, they wouldn’t be left disappointed. Opener “Highway Star” was met by a rapturous and enthusiastic applause. They did play a number of newer songs, including from 2020’s album Whoosh! and 2021’s Turning to Crime, but it was the all-time classics that clearly hit the spot.

The band have had many line-up changes over the years, with the current lineup consisting of singer Ian Gillan, bassist Roger Glover, drummer Ian Paice and keyboardist Don Airey being its staple.

Unfortunately, guitarist Steve Morse has taken time away from the band to take care of his wife, who is battling cancer. Morse’s place is being filled by the super talented and enthusiastic Northern Irish blues rocker Simon McBride.

Our girl at the scene HelsBels gets up and close with the band.

The show kicked off at breakneck pace with the all-time classic “Highway Star“, closely followed by “Pictures of Home” and “No Need to Shout” Gillan appeared genuinely humbled by the excitable and roudy greeting he received by his adoring fans.

Gillan is still a great singer and belted out his lines perfectly, his performance steadied and measured, rather than highly energetic and bouncing. McBride was especially impressive, considering most people would not have known who he was? and would maybe have preferred to have seen Morse in the lineup.

Anyone would have forgiven McBride for standing in the shadows at the back of the stage, playing the role of a spare part for such an iconic band. However, he happily took centre stage, and rightly so. He gave a real virtuoso performance, playing some phenomenal guitar solos throughout, and generally looking the part of someone who has been in Deep Purple for years.

Ian Gillan in fine form leading from the front as ever. One of the world’s top rock vocalists of all time.

The electric keyboards of Jon Lord played a central role in Deep Purples music throughout the band’s history until his passing. Don Airey became a worthy successor. Aireys keyboard solo was nothing short of miraculous. Flitting between highly entertaining snippets of well-known themes, which had the crowd laughing, singing and waving their phones in the air, flashlights lit, adding to the magic atmosphere.

We were treated to hit after hit, “Uncommon Man”, “When a Blind Man Cries”, “Perfect Strangers” and “Space Truckin’”

The band’s most famous and arguably most popular number “Smoke on the Water”, was aired just before the three song encore. It was met by everyone in the arena standing up and singing along.

Nobody sat down again until the end of the final and unforgettable classic “Black Night”.
The crowd were highly appreciative, roaring and cheering for some time, and deservedly so. I think everyone left the arena suitably impressed and on a massive high.

Roger Glover strutting his bass stuff , Deep Purple’s heart and soul.

Set List:
Highway Star.
Pictures Of Home.
No Need To Shout.
Nothing At All.
Uncommon Man (Including Simon McBride being let off the leash to solo.)
When A Blind Man Cries.
Keyboard Solo.
Perfect Strangers.
Space Truckin’.
Smoke On The Water.
Bass Solo.
Black Night.

Ian Paice takes a reflective moment, before giving those drums another battering. The only member of Deep Purple to have appeared on every recording.

Deep Purple are.
Roger Glover- The Bass Guitar.
Ian Gillan- The Voice.
Ian Paice- The Drums.
Don Airey – The Keyboards.
Simon McBride- The Guitar.

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Simon McBride rips into another solo.

Don Airey’s keyboard solos are always a highlight of any Deep Purple Concert.
It’s Hiya Thailand see you soon, from Roger Glower.

Ian Gillan caught in classic pose.