September 29, 2014 Deep Purple groove at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, NY 8-26-14
Having spent over a year touring Europe, Australia, and Asia, UK Classic Rock legends Deep Purple returned to North America in August 2014 to play a series of dates. Wrapping up the Now What? World Tour in support of their nineteenth studio album Now What? released in 2013, the band has garnished overwhelming positive responses for their first new material since 2005’s Rapture of the Deep. Extremely hard-working, the band has withstood a variety of changes over the years and in 2014 is made up of Ian Paice on drums, Ian Gillan on vocals, Roger Glover on bass, Steve Morse on guitar, and Don Airey on keys. Typically performing on the island of Manhattan when coming to New York, this time around the band made a special appearance on Long Island to play the warm and intimate confines of NYCB Theatre at Westbury. With a packed house of faithful followers on hand, the journey into Rock-N-Roll history was about to begin.
With epic orchestration filling the air in the midst of darkness, the lights turned on and they went into “Highway Star” from their landmark Machine Head (1972) album. As Gillan held onto his mic stand, rocking out vocals, the keys of Airey, guitar string bending of Morse, and drumming of Paice set a tone for the rest of the night. Going into the soulful “Into the Fire,” “Strange Kind of Woman,” along with new eerie track “Vincent Price,” the energy was flowing rapidly with little to no dead space in between. Having everyone’s full attention, Morse took the spotlight on “Contact Lost” as he put on a wonderful exhibit of guitar tapestry. The five plus minutes of pure instrumental bliss was utterly spectacular, having everyone cheer in appreciation as the band proceeded into newer tracks “Uncommon Man” and “The Well-Dressed Guitar.” Showing that their songwriting skills have far from diminished over the course of nearly five decades, the newer songs were unbelievably well-composed with timely jolts of excitement laced throughout.
Keeping the adrenaline flowing, “The Mule” showed the tremendous drum skills of Paice with speedy stick work that had many hollering. The cool jam “Lazy” went into another new track titled “Hell to Pay” featuring a shout-out chorus. Flowing seamlessly, Airey was given his chance to shine with a solo on his organ that was full of color and texture. Already a great set of new and old fan favorites, “Perfect Strangers” followed alongside “Space Truckin’,” and the classic “Smoke on the Water.” Perhaps one of the most recognizes riffs of all of Rock-N-R0ll history, anyone who has ever picked up a guitar has played it more than a few times and this audience were all on their feet grooving to the rhythm until the last note. Applauding loudly, Deep Purple made an exit for mere moments before returning for an encore that featured their first single from 1968, “Hush,” along with a ground-rattling bass solo by Glover, and concluding with “Black Night.”
Classic Rock music is always classic, but it is the musicians which keep the music vital through the years. Deep Purple, trucking away and showing no signs of slowing down, still have the magic to keep their songs alive. They rock hard and heavy while each musician pours out immense amounts of talent and enthusiasm for their craft. The Now What? World Tour was a must-see for anyone who calls themselves Rock-N-Roll fans. While the band takes some time off after the eighteen month tour, fans can be sure Deep Purple will be back out jamming in no time.