Music review: Deep Purple/Europe

Deep Purple lead singer Ian Gillan showed no sign of fading
Deep Purple lead singer Ian Gillan showed no sign of fading
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THE serious rock squad were out in force for this hefty double feature. Special guests Europe, the Swedish soft rockers best known for hair metal fanfare The Final Countdown, provided a valiant warm-up set with the requisite brawny hard rock riffs, portentous prog rock keyboard interludes and a lead vocalist named after an extreme weather event.

Hydro, Glasgow ***

Is it the final countdown for Deep Purple? The veteran hard rockers are hedging their bets with the impishly titled Long Goodbye tour but there was no trace of a valedictory tone to their setlist which included a batch of material from their latest album Infinity. “We have to do some new stuff or we won’t have any old stuff in the future,” quipped Ian Gillan, whose voice boomed but rarely soared over the course of the high protein, low energy set.

“A few marching tunes” were followed by “a little light jazz” with drummer Iain Paice on bruising form, showing no adverse effects from a minor stroke last year as he provided the lithe, swinging foundation for Steve Morse’s keening blues guitar and Don Airey’s keyboard arpeggios on All I Got Is You.

Airey was given ample latitude throughout and indulged in a Scottish-flavoured solo incorporating a bagpipe effect burst of Amazing Grace, Loch Lomond and I Belong to Glasgow which eventually led into the apocalyptic march of Perfect Strangers.

The group collectively made a meal of the groovy Hush and a more lumbering Black Night but there was no denying that behemoth of a riff from Smoke on the Water.

FIONA SHEPHERD