On This Day (April 2)…Deep Purple Dances in Evergreen

Deep Purple performed two shows on this day in 1969 at the Evergreen Ballroom in Olympia, Washington.

Newspaper ad for the show. Retrieved from here.

Deep Purple had begun their second leg of the Book of Taliesyn Tour the night prior to these gigs. By this time, they had a third album, their self-titled, on the way. However, there is no evidence that they ever performed music from this forthcoming album.

Merrilee Rush, who appeared on the bill with Deep Purple. Retrieved from here.

The two different gigs they played were referred to as a “show” earlier on in the night and then as a “dance” later on. The other bands who appeared on the bill were The Bards, Merrilee and the Turnabouts, and Neighb’rhood Childr’n. Merrilee and the Turnabouts were a local band based in Seattle, focused around the singer/songwriter Merrilee Rush. They spent a good deal of time touring around the Pacific Northwest in this period, playing many smaller venues. Rush is best known for “Angel of the Morning,” a song which reached the top 10 on American charts.

There is no known recording of either concert.

The Venue

Based on the fact that there are a set of directions in the newspaper ad to the Evergreen Ballroom, the location at which the band played, one can assume it was a fairly obscure place. A quick search on the internet would confirm this; there isn’t even a Wikipedia page for the Ballroom!

Venue exterior in 1999. Retrieved from here.

The first Evergreen Ballroom was built in 1931 by Walter Sholund and his wife mainly as a country music venue. Unusually for the time, it allowed both white and black performers; the backlash against this may have been the cause behind a mysterious fire which burned the first building down. Sholund built a replacement building which became the new Evergreen Ballroom and began bringing in jazz and swing. Later, rock ‘n roll became added to the mix. While national (and, as the case of Deep Purple demonstrates, international) stars often stopped by, the main artists to come here were local musicians. Here is a list of some of the bands who came by.

Sadly, the ballroom wad destroyed in a fire in 2000, causing great grief to local residents.

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Post Sources

Venue sources

  • Edit on 2022-04-14: Added information on Merrilee and the Turnabouts.

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