Deep Purple performing their Now What?! Tour at The O2 Arena London on Thursday 3rd December 2015

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Gracing London with their presence as part of their 2015 European Tour, Deep Purple proved beyond any doubt that they are still able to rock with the best.

From the first second of the opener, Highway Star, the band exhausted us with their intensity; delivering a sound and light show which, whilst shamelessly over the top, was theatrical enough to be perfect for such a large venue as The O2.

The first songs were delivered without a pause, with Bloodsucker and Strange Kind Of Woman showing just how good this band continue to be. Hard Lovin’ Man perhaps should not have been attempted by Ian Gillan, because his voice is not as it was; it is no longer that powerful, but the number was instrumentally perfect. Don Airey’s organ solo was ferocious.

Some songs on the set list that were given an airing were really pleasant surprises, like Demon’s Eye which is the B side to Fireball. But the band stormed through a set list replete with classics from their lengthy career. There was Space Truckin’ and Perfect Strangers, as well as several indulgent instrumental solos in which the band showed off their musical credentials to the audience’s adoration.  They treated us to The Mule before it turned into a drum solo and as usual from Ian Paice, it was brilliant but not long enough.

Whilst the oldies were the numbers everybody wanted to hear, newer songs like Vincent Price got a big cheer from the crowd and everybody up dancing. It was truly just a good feeling.

The guitar player from support group Rival Sons joined them for the perennial standard Smoke On The Water as he played a short jam with Steve Morse as they doubled up on the riff.

Deep Purple returned for their well-earned encore with Hush, taking every note and beat in their stride with unwavering passion and flare. After several minutes of extreme jamming, Deep Purple took the pressure off with a virtuosic bass solo from Roger Glover, and finished the evening with Black Night, delivering a spectacle worthy of such a historic band.

Whilst there was no doubt that Ian Gillan’s voice is not as it was; allowing the concert at times to become a Steve Morse and friends concert. But no one can accuse Deep Purple of losing their love for their craft over the time, because more than 45 years on from their debut album, they are still able to keep a crowd on their feet and singing along. The question that almost everyone was asking at the end of the evening was, will we ever see Deep Purple touring again. On this performance let’s certainly hope so.