at Oslo Spektrum, Norway, November 25, 2003

Good old Deep Purple, they really impressed me this time. This late night at Spektrum Concert Hall in Oslo they performed nothing less than six tracks from their recent album Bananas, and I respect them enormously for that! Being releasing albums since the 60s, and some very successful ones in the 70s, Deep Purple knows a lot of people show up at their shows just to hear their old classics.

As you can see from the setlist below several standards/old hits were performed, but the constantly changing crew of Deep Purple sure paid attention to their present state of being. Therefore they insisted on feeding new material to the crowd, and you know what? –It worked just great. Energy and playfulness came in truckloads from the stage no matter if the songs that were played were old or brand new. Respect.

Bananas might not be one of the top ten Purple albums, but believe me, the songs they’ve picked from it rocked! Especially the title track and “Doing It Tonight” were very cool. “I Got Your Number” was kind of dull, but led towards a high energy instrumental jam which seemingly was enjoyed by most of the audience. Those in the audience who weren’t prepared for this material had themselves to blame. The new album has been made available in music stores for months…

There are all these troubles with Deep Purple that people write and talk about… Ian Gillan’s voice, “the new” guitarist, the new keyboard player… First thing first: If Gillan hadn’t been this tremendous singer 15 to 30 years ago, no one today would have doubted his abilities as a front man for a rock band with grown up musicians. ( …The way he dresses these days is a worse problem than his voice… ) Steve Morse then, how is he doing? Great! I miss Blackmore as much as I miss Dynasty on television.

What about Jon Lord replacement Don Airey? When the band left the stage after playing “House Of Pain”, Airey and his organs were left alone in favor of a solo section. -Don’t push it, guys! I was thinking for a second, but then again, this was something one had to respect. Jon Lord is impossible to replace, but Purple can’t hide they’ve got a keyboard player. Later on, after his first solo spot turned into an enjoyable full band performance of “Lazy” with all its “standard improvisations”, Airey was given another chance on his own in the concert’s second half. This time he managed to get one of the evening’s loudest cheers from the audience when he played parts of “The Hall Of The Mountain King”, a classical composition of Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg. Then he took a turn with the “Star Wars Theme”, and everybody found that cool. From mountain halls to outer space, then. Airey got it all covered.

Then the band played a well done version of “Perfect Strangers” before they ended the main set with “Smoke On The Water”, a song more famous then good. As extras they did “Hush” that turned into another instrumental section including both a bass solo by Roger Glover, and then ( at last… I was wondering if they’d forgot ) a drum solo by Ian Paice. So, before they finished it all with a groovy “Black Night”, the band played extract from “Hit The Road Jack”. ( And that’s brave… Every critic without a clue will write that this part is meant to be a raised middle finger to one former member or another. )

We know why “Child In Time” is left out. It’s too difficult for Gillan to sing. I don’t blame him. One could rather wonder why they’ve cut out “Ted The Mechanic”. I’ve thought “Ted” was an established part of their live set by now. By leaving it out there is not one single album recorded by the band in the 90’s represented in their live set. And what about “Haunted” from Bananas? By no doubt one of the album’s strongest numbers, which they have been playing live earlier this year.

However, good old Deep Purple was trying as hard as they can. That’s good enough for me. And hard enough. I am very thankful they are still around.


Highway Star
Strange Kind Of Woman
Silver Tongue*
Knocking At Your Back Door
House Of Pain*
Contact Lost*
Doing It Tonight*
Space Trucking
I Got Your Number*
Perfect Strangers
Smoke On the Water
Black Night

* from Bananas


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