Deep Purple at the Orpheum: A waste of time

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June 19th at Minneapolis’s Orpheum Theatre, Deep Purple headlined a night on which one could’ve and should’ve, as the quip goes, had a V-8.

Original drummer Ian Paice with early members bass guitarist Roger Glover and storied lead singer Ian Gillan are on tour, enlisting Steve Morse (guitar) and Don Airey (keyboards), backed by conducted string and horn sections, performed a two-hour set. All of which amounted to much ado about mediocrity.

Rock dinosaurs Deep Purple, even in their heyday, weren’t much to write home about, cashing in on the coattails of metal forebears Led Zeppelin. They didn’t have the material. It’s telling that Ian Gillan did some of his best work on the original recording of Jesus Christ Superstar. Today, Deep Purple ineffectually revisit a bygone era. The overblown show had Glover and Morse going through tandem, clichéd motions, expending more energy on occupying the spotlight than on making music. Gillan walked through the set. At his most animated, he literally strolled, perfunctory vocals crapping out on the high notes. Airey, given a world of leeway, mired down song after song with intros and interludes that went nowhere and took their sweet time about not getting there.

Even the band’s greatest hits fell flat. On “Woman From Tokyo,” Gillan did it by the numbers. No passion. No fire from the band. Just him standing there while Paice thrashed, Glover and Morse pretentiously taking over as frontmen. Pre-encore set-closer “Smoke on the Water,” far from worth the waiting, was anticlimactic. The classic recording from Machine Head raised the bar in 1972. It gave hard rock bands everywhere something to live up to. This rendition had none of precision, none of the passion that made the song a classic.

Openers Ernie and the Automatics shot their load early, leading with a sharp, bluesy cut. From there on, it was all wall of deafening sound (Deep Purple played just as loud, but, thank God, nowhere near as shrill), ascending bass lines, screaming guitar leads and shrieking vocals. Since the lineup included guitarist Barry Goudreau and drummer Sib Hashian from Boston, the band felt licensed to throw in a medley that included the old hits “More Than a Feeling” and “Taking My Time.” Ernie and the Automatics’ set, long story short, was a slapdash bucket of slop.

The evening was singularly uneventful, a waste of ticketbuyers’ money.

4 thoughts on “Deep Purple at the Orpheum: A waste of time

  1. Although critics try to be appropriately cynical and biting in their reviews so as to maintain some sort of relevance, they often miss the mark. Dwight is welcome to not enjoy Deep Purple; however, the fact that they’re still touring the world after 43 years tells me they’re doing something right.

    Yup, Dwight no like Deep Purple, but many do–including those who actually create music, not just review it.

  2. While everyone is entitled to their opinions, this article just screams “link click bait”, designed to incense fans. And point of fact, Deep Purple released two albums before Led Zeppelin released their first and had a third on shelves six months before Zeppelin II.

  3. This reviewer obviously did not see the same show that I saw.

    Ernie and the Automatics were terrific and the Boston Medley at the end of their set was awesome! Everyone that I talked to between sets were blown away…

    I was never a big Deep Purple fan but my girlfriend is… She loved the show and made me a believer… Deep Purple just plain ROCKS!

    For me, Woman from Tokyo was the highlight of the show, but from Highway Star through Smoke on the Water, it was all good. The overtime set kicked off with Hush that was more than inspired. 

    Having the opportunity to see Steve Morse was just the cherry on the top to make it a very satisfying evening.

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