Well, it took us a while to recover from what happened on stage at the Menora Hall in Tel Aviv, yesterday May 22, 2022. So for those of you who do not have time to read the full review, we have prepared a special "Executive Summary", and it goes like this:
"Deep Purple demolished the "Menorah Tel Aviv Hall", in an unforgettable performance, perhaps the best it has given here in Israel."
To all those who hurried to eulogize the aging band, those who noted that most of its members can be members of ש Nursing Home and mocked the "oxygen breaks" that singer Ian Gillan takes during the show, you are invited to the nearest "hat shop". We prepared a coupon for you so you can buy a straw hat, you know, one of those that do not slip very well down your throat...
To tell you the truth, we too did not come to the show with high expectations. This is the band's sixth performance we saw here in Israel, the last of which was held 6 years ago, and as our childhood heroes are getting older, we had some concerns regarding the band members' performance abilities. These fears were overshadowed by early publicity that guitarist Steve Morse, who has accompanied the band for nearly three decades, would not be coming to the show due to personal reasons and the fact that the show is being held at "Menorah Hall", where we did not enjoy the sound quality in the past.
Even the setlist who was expected to be played at the show, did not arouse much excitement. We have already seen most of the songs performed live at the band's shows, although we must admit that we were very thrilled to hear the songs from the latest and excellent studio album "Whoosh!" and The cover album "Turning To Crime", being played live.
But then it happened. We were proved, once again, that reality surpasses all imagination. After a brief warm-up of the excellent "Subterranean Masquerade", the purple dinosaurs took the stage to the tune of "The Planets Op. 32 I. MARCH, the Bringer of War" by English composer Gustav Holst, and it did indeed felt like a "war" moving on us, only this time for the better. Immediately after the "War March" the signal was given and Ian Paice began the all-too-familiar drumming intro of "Highway Star" and right then one could already feel the insane energies that passed from the stage to the audience and immediately back.
Three minutes into the song and it could already be said that all our fears were dispelled. The band sounded and looked more energetic, cohesive, and tight than ever. Ian Gillan's voice was clear and powerful, the sound was excellent compared to other performances in the same hall and even Simon McBride, in his second visit to Israel (was here in 2019) gave an amazing and accurate performance of one of the band's most-played songs. If we've already mentioned Simon, then he was the "added value", that only contributed to the band's already insane show. With almost no unnecessary tricks, with an amazing sound from heaven, and without replacing a guitar even once during the entire show, Simon just "came to work". What was not said about him? That he is a gifted guitarist who already at the age of 16 joined the reunion of "Sweet Savage". That he is reminiscent of Joe Bonamassa. that he is Rory Gallagher's successor with musical abilities that made him the lead guitarist in the British blues-rock scene, but until we saw him spit fire from his guitar with impeccable technique and musical ability, the doubt that he would not be able to step into Steve Morse's great shoes continued to nestle in us.
You can not blame us for the overzealousness of stupid teenagers. From the height of our age (We were not teenagers at the time of the band's 1991 show, do the math) and after dozens if not hundreds of gigs around the globe behind us, trust us we already know how to filter the noise of enthusiasm and focus on the music itself and usually we are very critical. But what happened yesterday at the "Menorah Hall" was an amazing display that completely does not embarrass the youth of this much-loved band, whose soundtrack is woven into the history of Israeli audiences. In a non-stop sequence and with almost no flirts with the audience, the band gave us a balanced dose of their great "hits" and must "classics", alongside newer material, with a spicy, focused polished solos.
The setlist included a worthy and respectable representation from the 50th-anniversary album "Machine Head". The opening song "Highway Star", "Pictures of Home" with Paice's rolling drum intro, "Lazy" with Gillan's harmonica solo, "Space Truckin" which this time did not starch too much, and of course "Smoke on the Water" with the video art in the background. On top of all this one can add one of the surprises in the setlist. "When a Blind Man Cries" was recorded during the sessions of "Machine Head", but did not enter the album because Ritchie Blackmore just did not want it there. The band does not often play the song in their performances and we were privileged to see it performed here live for the first time after a decade. It is interesting to note that this song entered the band's setlists only after the departure of Ritchie Blackmore, as for years he refused to play it and simply denied it.
In the (relatively) new representation of songs in the setlist, we can mention the excellent "Nothing at All", whose performance in the show was no less than amazing, and "Throw My Bones" with the simple and sweeping riff, both from the excellent "Whoosh!" album. There was also "Uncommon Man" dedicated to Jon Lord, "Time For Bedlam" which was quite surprising, as well as two excerpts from the cover album "Turning To Crime" - the perfect cover for "7 and 7 Is" by "Love" And of course the sweeping string "Caught in the Act" which blends five classics from the '60s into an amazing string: "Going Down" by "Jeff Beck Group", the instrumental "Green Onions" by "Booker T. & the MG's" Southern blues "Hot Lanta" by "Allman Brothers Band", heavy bluesed "Dazed and Confused" by "Led Zeppelin" and the hit "Gimme Some Lovin" by "Spencer Davis Group".
Beyond the songs we already mentioned above, it seems that the moments that excited the audience at "Menorah Mivtachim Hall" in particular were "Strange Kind of Woman", one of the most played songs by the band, the legendary "Perfect Strangers" that drove the audience crazy, "Hush", the first single the band released somewhere in 1968, an interpretation of the song "Jerusalem of Gold" that keyboardist Don Airey included in his amazing solo (we wonder if he knew "Jerusalem Day" was few days ahead), and of course "Black Night" which ended the show with loud cheers.
The performance was excellent throughout. The level of playing and virtuosity were at the highest levels known in the music world. Ian Paice is one of the great drummers in classic rock and together with Roger Glover complete one of the most stable rhythm sections of the 70s. Don Airey is simply a one-man band, and there is no musical style he can not play and as for Ian Gillan, we must note that after the last shows here in Israel we were really pleasantly surprised by his performance. If we ignore the brief forays into the black tent behind the stage, he led and swept the band and the audience after him. He was smart enough not to fall into unnecessary traps, sometimes preferring a less "faithful to the original" over an "inaccurate" performance, when even for a moment we did not have to move uncomfortably in our chair at the sound of his straining voice.
In conclusion, this is definitely one of the good performances of "Deep Purple" in Israel, if not the one... If you did not attend the show yesterday, then you have another opportunity to fix it today, in Jerusalem. Run ... and here... we have also prepared a playlist that will accompany you on your ascents to Jerusalem so that you can prepare yourself for the show: Spotify
And for those who haven't seen this miracle, here are some experts from the show:
Pictures of Home
Strange Kind of Woman
Nothing at All
When a Blind Man Cries
7 and 7 Is
Throw My Bones
Time For Bedlam
Smoke on the Water
Caught in the Act