If I were to sum up how incredible DEEP PURPLE is, there are no adequate words. Anything I would say would not be good enough. “Blew my mind” is about as close as I can come. Over the years I’ve seen some pretty excellent bands including: THE WHO, BLACK SABBATH, RUSH, FLEETWOOD MAC, and THE EAGLES to name a few. I must tell you, DEEP PURPLE live at Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie was an absolute trip, unlike anything I have ever encountered. I think it is best summed up by Jeff Miers, who has an article published about the band on their web page: “The first time I heard Deep Purple – or perhaps felt Deep Purple is a better way to describe the experience….” DEEP PURPLE is something you feel and experience. An acid trip without the acid (at least in 2015).
The group consists of musical masters Ian Paice (drums), Ian Gillan (vocals), Roger Glover (bass), Steve Morse (guitar) and Dan Airey (keyboard and organ). Each and every member is a legendary musician. There’s a slightly different line-up from the old days, but the band today remains one of the very best; they have no equal that is for sure. They have been joined over the years by the likes of Jon Lord (RIP), Joe Satriani, David Coverdale, Ritchie Blackmore and Joe Lynn Turner. Maybe one of the most remarkable bands with exceptional talent past and present.
I must admit that Dan Airey’s keyboard and organ acid trip adventure stimulates the cerebrum to visualizing tie-dye colors in one’s mind. DEEP PURPLE’S sound definitely involves keyboard incorporation. At times it was a bit difficult to hear Gillan’s vocals above the music, but it’s hard to say if that was due to the sound engineer or just being around 40+ years, but he’s still got it. Of course, if you don’t know Steve Morse on guitar, it would behoove you to find out. He is one master ax-er and in all likelihood one of the best in the world.
Roger Glover, with the band since early on, provides the kick ass bass lines. I would be doing a disservice not mentioning Mr. Ian Paice on drums. An iconic drummer at the very least, Paice has successfully been with the group since its founding. DEEP PURPLE split up in 1976, but reformed in 1984. Paice has been there at every turn and is on every LP. Did I mention he kicks ass on drum solos???
The boys began the set with my personal favorite “Highway Star”, THE first song I learned to play on guitar. Their main set consisted of 15 songs including “Hard Lovin’ Man”, “Vincent Price”, “Lazy”, “Perfect Strangers”, “Space Truckin’” and of course “Smoke on the Water.” The crowd was having the time of their lives. While not a showy band with lots of lasers or special effects, the special effect of this band is how they draw in the crowd with their music.
DEEP PURPLE is a trip into an alternate dimension, pulled forward from the 60’s and 70’s and brought into the 21st century.
After the primary set, Gillian wished everyone a good night and of course was not at all convincing. Everyone knew they would be back for an encore. Hell, all the grey beards and cane walkers knew they were just getting warmed up. The 60’s, such a kick ass generation. There was no way they were done. No way. They came back on stage with memorable organ-based BOOKER T & THE MG’S cover “Green Onions”. Of course practically everyone knows the DEEP PURPLE version of this song, especially if you grew up in the 70’s.
My favorite part of the night was second encore song “Hush”, a Joe South cover, psychedelic rock song, made famous by the guys from Hertfordshire England. The mind remembers immediately:
“I got a certain little girl, she’s on my mind, No doubt about it she looks so fine, She’s the best girl that I ever had, Sometimes she gonna make me feel so bad…na nana na nana na nana naaaa” (You can hear it in your head can’t you??). An incredible song to hear played live…gives me chills just writing this. WOW!!
To me the most memorable moment include a “question and answer” jam session between Airey on keyboard and Morse on guitar during “Hush” for a good solid five minutes where Airey would play a lick on the keyboard and Morse would answer on guitar. It was mesmerizing. They finished the evening with “Black Night” and of course a standing ovation that must have lasted ten minutes.
If you have a psychedelic bucket list, you need to include DEEP PURPLE on it. They will blow your mind. Formed in 1968, this band is still one of the best in 2015. They have been nominated twice for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Shame), but sadly never inducted – I would like to talk to whoever is in charge of that! You’re fired!!
See them at least once in your lifetime.
LIVE WORDS: MARK EHRLICH
LIVE PHOTOS: GUZPIX