The Montreux Jazz Festival, Royal Albert Hall, Melbourne Entertainment Centre, a Blizzard somewhere in the Alps, Tokyo, Rio, Moscow's Olympic Hall, Cape Town, Bangalore, La Paz, Toronto and Kansas City.
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What do they have in common? They are just a few of the places where you could have seen a Deep Purple show over the last couple of years. Simply reading the itineraries gives you an idea of how this band operates on a truly international level.
Deep Purple is not a conformist group. There never was, nor ever will be, any fawning to trends. What you do get from them are cutting edge performances based on a sound philosophy: "the music comes first". That music comes from within the core spirit of the band, nowhere else. They won't be bagged. Why?
In the sixties and early seventies they were described (by others) as "Progressive" or "Underground", when they made a conscious decision to depart from the "Hush" era in order to record the seminal album "Deep Purple in Rock".
"Fireball", "Machine Head", "Made in Japan" and "Who Do We Think We Are" quickly followed, and they were then tagged (along with Zeppelin and Sabbath) as leaders of the "Hard Rock" explosion. At this point began the gradual disintegration of the famous MK 2 line-up, (Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, Paice) and some long overdue individual R & R.
The eighties re-union as "Perfect Strangers" shook the world (again) with a fresh look at the music but with a bold detachment that stated "this is Deep Purple". The era was to end in disharmony, however (again), with first Gillan leaving, then Blackmore and then Gillan returning; confusing? Not really.
After the divorce, and seeing this as a genuine opportunity to get back to the music, the guys invited Joe Satriani join as locum, and he spent the best part of a year on the road with the newly revitalised band before returning to his own commitments. The scene was now set for the most important line-up change since "69.
Steve Morse was the only name on the list, and the question he asked, (after a couple of out of town gigs had confirmed the chemistry) "Is there a dress code?" paved the way for a return to the humourous disdain the band have for what they used to call "poseurs".
They never set out to be "Rock Stars". Call them "Classic" and they will laugh and patiently explain that nostalgia is not a creative word. Sure they've been through the mill a few times. However each time they've emerged stronger, and now you see a band that is hard and professional; displaying texture, dynamics and a humanity that can only come from those rare artists who are masters of their craft.
Deep Purple's music has evolved organically into an expressive maturity, and the sell-out shows at the cities mentioned above are testament enough to the massive fan commitment. There's a lot of affection out there for what many say is the greatest of them all.
Over 100 million albums sold.
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