Deep Purple has been around for five decades. As with any band that has has been performing since the ‘60s, there have been many incarnations, and the current lineup includes Ian Gillian, Roger Glover, Steve Morse, Don Airey and drummer Ian Paice, the only original member (1968–present).
After an orchestral fanfare, DP opened their set with the fast-paced “Highway Star” from Machine Head. Though lacking a bit of the range and stamina he had a couple of decades ago, Gillian’s vocals were spot-on. The band proceeded to play eight more songs from several albums, including individual solos by Morse and Airey, shying away from songs Gillian did not record with the band. The highlights of the set were “Perfect Strangers,” “Surprising” (from the new album, Infinity) and “Uncommon Man,” dedicated to original keyboardist Jon Lord, who passed in 2012. It was to the point—loud, clean, great and absolutely classic Deep Purple.
Photos by Erik Kabik / ErikKabik.com
I saw Alice Cooper for the first time in 1970 at Valley Dale Ballroom in Columbus, Ohio. Homemade props (an electric chair), feather pillows with fans to blow them into an audience … and a boa constrictor. I was mesmerized. To say that I was immediately a fan would be an understatement. Alice Cooper went from “Who’s the guy in makeup with a girl’s name?” to being a household word, even appearing on The Muppet Show and Hollywood Squares. AC’s set list spanned his career and included a track from his latest release, Paranormal, and the stage looked like a demonic child’s room from Saw, with a pink toy box from which a “living doll” handed Alice props and costume changes.
What I don’t like about the band these days … is the band. All proficient musicians in their own right, but they look and sound like Sunset Strip leftovers from 1987—too much shredding, too many guitars playing the same thing with the same tone. Compared to Deep Purple, they sounded like bad radio speakers. Muddy. Unfortunately, a band full of C.C. DeVilles running around all over the stage takes the attention away from the frontman. (Alice, you’re better than that. The original band or the Welcome to My Nightmare era band would be a much better choice to do your songs justice.)
If you’ve never seen AC before, then Saturday night’s show at The Chelsea would have probably passed the audition, but if you have been a fan as long as I have, well … I’ll leave it at that.