The word "legend" is bandied about far too often these days and worthy candidates for the 'label' are becoming increasingly harder to find but there is no doubt whatsoever that Deep Purple are precisely that, always have been and most certainly always will be.
Founding fathers, along with Sabbath and Zeppelin, of the musical style we know and love, theirs is a history rich with tales of bad and brutal break-ups, over the top and terminally damaging in-fighting, highs as big as the sky and lows that plummed unimaginable depths and a cast of previous members that is basically a who's who of most of heavy rock's finest artists.
Huge sections of the Deep Purple story would be ridiculed if made part of a fictional biop and as you can see from the documentary below, the stories are simply jaw-droppingly huge and played out against a soundtrack of some of this genre's greatest ever tracks.
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Ian Gillan was simply masterful and fully in command of the Roundhouse stage tonight as he and Ian Paice belied their 68 and 65 years respectively. It appears to defy logic that they are this good at this stage of their careers but they are and tonight, we really were watching the masters.
Roger Glover (67) is also amazing and to my eyes, it was he who was driving this performance from beginning to end.
But did we miss anybody tonight?
There was definitely a Jon Lord sized hole in the band but this is not to take anything at all away from either the performance as a whole or 'new boy' Don Airey, who actually replaced the now sadly departed and then retiring Jon in 2002.
Purple could not possibly have a better person to fill Jon's huge shoes but some legend's names loom as large as their legacy and Jon's memory will live on for all time.
As was befitting, Gillan dedicated 'Uncommon Man' to Jon and Don carried off the most perfect performance in his honour.
Steve Morse joined Purple in 1994 and is now the longest serving Deep Purple guitarist of all time. He's a colossus of a performer and part of the Purple furniture now. His solos were outstanding but the big difference between this version of Purple and the 'classic' line-up is the friction and tension between Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore that made the band sizzle is no longer there.
Ritchie will almost certainly never unexpectedly pack up his hurdy-gurdy and mandolin and return to hard rock; he and Gillan are well finished and it is unlikely that the group would be able to survive another altercation between the pair.
Glenn Hughes once said that "Deep Purple's stage is a very dangerous place to be" and without Ritchie, there is most certainly an element of that danger absent but although Blackmore will always be amongst the very first to be name-checked in Deep Purple discussions, the position is outstandingly Steve Morse's now and as with Don, they couldn't really have anyone better doing the job.
So even though it's hard to attend a Purple gig and not think about how it would be if Ritchie were playing, I'll settle for keeping Deep Purple exactly as it is and keep hoping that we get the joys of a Rainbow reformation one day. Highly unlikely but you can never say "never" in this game.
Purple mixed up old classics and more recent material tonight to produce a magnificent blend that was perfectly complimented by the various solos that always were part of a Purple set.
It's impossible to pick a highlight as every single moment of this extremely memorable night was a total joy and I'm looking forward to several more years of Deep Purple; true legends, a real institution and one of the most important bands of all time.
It's only fourteen hours since Purple left the stage so there's barerly any video footage available yet but I did find these two clips which are of reasonable quality and definitely worth a watch. I am sure that more will be available in the coming days.
But I also stumbled across this superb video, a full 45-minute potted history documentary on the band and it includes all the best stories from inception through to the present day. Some of these stories will shock you, some will put you in a state of disbelief but all will entertain immensely.
The Deep Purple story is truly legendary and it appears that there are more chapters still to be written. Tickets are still available for tonight, the second part of their two day stint at The Roundhouse and it will be well worth your while to pick one up and experience this very special show. It's Above And Beyond pretty much everything else out there right now.
Here's the documentary. It could be the best 45 minutes you have all day...
Intro: Mars, The Bringer Of War
Into the Fire
Hard Lovin' Man
Strange Kind Of Woman
Guitar Solo by Steve Morse
The Well-Dressed Guitar
The Mule incl. drum solo by Ian Paice
Above And Beyond
Keyboard Solo by Don Airey
Hell To Pay
Keyboard Solo by Don Airey
Smoke On The Water
Green Onions (Booker T. & The MG's cover)
Black Night (preceded by bass and drum intro)
Thur 10.17.13 London, UK Roundhouse
Sat 10.19.13 Zwolle, Holland Ijsselhallen
Sun 10.20.13 Paris, France Zenith
Tue 10.22.13 Dresden, GErmany Messehalle
Thur 10.24.13 Erfurt, Germany Messehalle
Fri 10.25.13 Regensburg, Germany Donau Arena
Sat 10.26.13 Berlin, Germany Max-Schmelinghalle
Tue 10.29.13 Dusseldorf, Germany Mitsubishi Electric Halle
Thur 10.31.13 Stuttgart, Germany Hans Martin Schleyerhalle
Fri 11.01.13 Dortmund, Germany Westfalenhalle1
Sat 11.02.13 Mannheim, Germany SAP Arena
Wed 11.06.13 Moscow, Russia Olympisky Arena
Fri 11.08.13 St. Petersburg, Russia The New Arena
Sun 11.10.13 Minsk, Belarus Minsk Arena
Tue 11.12.13 Kiev, Ukraine Sports Palace
Sat 02.01.14 Oulu, Finland Oulu Hall
Sun 02.02.14 Helsinki, Finland Icehall
Tue 02.04.14 Oslo, Norway Spektrum
Wed 02.05.14 Bergen, Norway Grieghallen
Thurs 02.06.14 Stavanger, Norway DnB Arena
Sat 02.08.14 Sandviken, Sweden Gorasson Arena
Mon 02.10.14 Linkoping, Sweden Cloetta Center
Tues 02.11.14 Copenhagen, Denmark TAP1
Thurs 02.13.14 Poznan, Poland Arena
Fri 02.14.14 Pardubice, Czech Republic CEZ Arena
Sat 02.15.14 Katowice, Poland Spodek
Mon 02.17.14 Budapest, Hungary Arena
Tues 02.18.14 Belgrade, Serbia Arena
Thurs 02.20.14 Bucharest, Romania Sala Polivalenta