deep purple features

.... back page one (1984) ... January 1985 .... February 1985 .... March 1985 .... April 1985 .... May 1985
..... June 1985 ..... page three (1985) ....

JANUARY 1985: This was the big one, Deep Purple back on stage in America for the first time (providing you don't count Rod Evans' debacle) since 1976. It was a long tour, it hit the big venues, and it largely went down a storm with the crowds.

The set was similar to Australia but in recognition of it being hugely popular with American audiences, they added a hesitant Woman From Tokyo to the opening night in Texas on the 24th. The day before the band did an in-store, to find around 5,000 people turned up. Ritchie took one look and stayed in the store-room throughout! For the show though he came out of his shell and put on more of a performance and seemed to be enjoying himself.

The first few shows were all in the south, before they jetted up to San Francisco. Knocking At Your Back Door was issued Stateside as a single. Back in the UK, Polydor finally issued a single in January - Perfect Strangers / Son Of Alerik. The latter was an extended ten minute instrumental jam from the album sessions the previous year. Roger Glover reckons there is a lot of this kind of material left in the can, but when two further clips were earmarked for a Japanese 'best of' some years later, the CD was quickly withdrawn. The 7" version was edited, while the 12" had a variation of Pete Frames family tree free inside.

"Leaden Grandads" Record Mirror; "Some things never change, and this is one of them." Melody Maker; "Bland and sluggish" Bury Times; "Dated plodding heavy metal" Music Week; "Old gits" NME. Great reviews for what most fans still regard as one of the best tracks of the reunion to date.

January 1985 links:
Deep Purple Mk 2 Reunion, family tree

deep purple ticket, 1985
Ticket: Houston Summit, Texas.
deep purple live in the usa, 1985
Deep Purple, US tour 1985

FEBRUARY 1985: A full month criss-crossing America, from West to East, with Girlschool opening for some of the shows, the American band Guiffria for others.

deep purple backstage pass 1985As they began to settle down, Deep Purple began to rediscover their sense of fun and improvisation started to develop as the mood took them. Nothing as lengthy perhaps as back in the 70s, but spur of the moment jams on new riffs, and old ones. Between songs Gillan's stream of conciousness introductions begin to take on a life of their own too.

Ticket demand was really high in some cities, with tickets going on sale only a few weeks before the shows in many cases. The St. Louis gig saw the police arrive to keep order in the queue after surging fans had broken the doors of the booking office when the staff refused to begin selling at the advertised time (many had been waiting in the snow for hours).

The tour was reviewed in detail in DTB Issue 31.

deep purple gig advert 1985
Deep Purple, US tour advert, Febraury 1985

MARCH 1985: found Deep Purple into the second full month of their first massive American tour of the reunion, sticking mostly to the east of the country, and then taking in Canadian shows right at the end of the month.

deep purple magazine coverThe set remained as before, and the performances of the two front men also varied. Gillan was having a few rough nights, the strain of such a tour telling on his voice (and occasionally his memory, as he would race into a song only to forget the words!), while Ritchie would play with indifference one night, and then let rip the next. The other three invariably played their socks off each and every show.

Despite the joking and ad-libs, you could almost set your clock to the timing of the shows, which ran between 90 and 110 minutes depending on how things were going. Needless to say the extra twenty minutes usually resulted from everyone enjoying themselves. For those used to a very subdued Jon Lord on later tours, back here he often took the honours - dropping in snippets from all over the musical spectrum as well as his own albums, and it wasn't unusual for reviewers to say Jon stole the show.

Back in the UK EMI rather half-heartedly stuck out picture disc versions of three of the classic Mk 2 albums.

March 1985 links: New Live & Rare 1984-2000 DVD review

deep purple live in 1985
'Nobody's Home' promo
deep purple live in 1985
Live in Providence, 4th March 1985

APRIL 1985: What was probably Deep Purple's longest tour of the reunion wound up in April, with two more Canadian shows (of which the Montreal show pushed things to a full two hours for the first time), and gigs in St. Paul and Seattle.

Ian Gillan - having had three days off - was back on form for the last show of the tour, but Blackmore - seemingly keen to get back home - forced them to drop Under The Gun by charging straight into the next song! It was also Ritchie who occasionally (maybe three or four times on this tour) decided not to do Smoke On The Water too - hiding in his dressing room rather than coming back for the encore.

It had been a triumphant tour whichever way one looked at it. The halls were all sold out, with touts often asking - and getting - over $70 for a scalped ticket. And they were mostly large halls too, 15,000 seaters or more.

They now had four weeks off before travelling over to Japan. The bootleggers were also now getting into their stride, with the first of what at times seemed like a never-ending stream of releases. Back In Action had the honour of being the first, sourced - as were others at this time - from cassettes of the Australian shows. These were eagerly snapped up by fans in Europe wanting to hear how the band sounded live.

April 1985 links:

Deep Purple, bootleg box-set

deep purple, australian tour bootleg 1984

deep purple - back in action bootleg

deep purple - highway stars bootleg deep purple bootleg, 1984, with george harrison

MAY 1985: In May, after a four week break, Deep Purple arrived in Japan for their first reunion shows there. They did a total of seven, with a run of four consecutive nights at the legendary Budokan in Tokyo.

Whilst sadly no one thought to record the visit officially, it was later bootlegged on "The Perfect Stranger" set. After this the band again had a four week break.

deep purple - the perfect strangerMay 1985 links:

Deep Purple, Japan 1985 photo gallery

Deep Purple magazine gallery, 1984-1985

ritchie blackmore, 1985 japanese magazine cover
Ritchie Blackmore, Japanese magazine cover, 1985

JUNE 1985: This was perhaps the climax of the tour, as Deep Purple returned to Europe for the first time in nearly ten years. The enthusiasm from fans was tinged by the relative lack of shows. The US tour had begun in January and ended in April; Europe was to get just 16 shows over four weeks. Even worse, British fans were to get just one gig. Outdoors. In summer. Clearly money was talking much louder than rewarding the fans. Twenty years on it still rankles. And then it rained.

Knebworth aside (the gig was later issued on CD and album officially), the shows were varied, with Gillan on top form some nights, struggling on others. Elsewhere in Europe it was a similar story, although they did two nights at most of the indoor venues (to which a lot of British fans travelled) - and four in Sweden. The set remained the same as it had been in Australia the year before, except for "Child In Time" which would be left out if Ian wasn't up to it. On stage the band seemed happy and enjoying themselves still, Blackmore openly applauding Ian Paice one night after a particularly steaming drum solo. The guitarist was still having low-key nights, but would come out of the shadows to knock people dead from time to time.

German TV filmed the second night at Paris, a show which a lot of people have asked to be released on DVD. However, although it was an amazing gig instrumentally, Ian was struggling, and for this reason isn't likely to come out any time soon. Yet, despite Ian's troubles, and Blackmore's reluctance, the sheer spirit of the events carried them through. The last gig of the month was at a festival in Mannheim, Germany on June 29th. The following day the band put a football team together for a charity match against a local radio side. DTB Issue 32 carried comprehensive reviews of the European shows.

June 1985 links: Darker Than Blue 32 (online version) Knebworth photo gallery
In The Absence Of Pink discographyKnebworth memorabilia page Deep Purple poster gallery - Knebworth 1985Knebworth Festivals - book reviewDPAS Online Store

deep purple, knebworth 1985
Jon Lord, Knebworth 1985
(photo: Alan Perry)

deep purple, knebworth 1985 live album
Deep Purple, In The Absence Of Pink CD