Deep Purple performed at Massey Hall in Toronto on this day in 2012.
This concert was undertaken as part of the Smoke on the Nation tour, a set of seventeen Canadian tour dates which was a part of the larger Songs That Built Rock tour.
The setlist was indeed largely the “songs that built rock”, with a full twelve of the twenty songs reported by setlist.fm originating in the 70s. All four instrumentalists got solos, three of which were counted by this source as their own songs. Of the remaining four songs, one was “Hush”, the first major Purple song from 1968, and another was “Perfect Strangers”, the only song from the 1980s still in circulation for the band.
Fans of the Morse-Airey era of the band, then, don’t have many songs to hang their hats on, expected from a tour specifically marketed as a nostalgia trip. Even so, there were still a few treats, including the then-most recent Purple title track, “Rapture of the Deep”.
This concert is fairly well-documented; some very nice photos can be found here. There are many reviews in existence as well, pointing to an amazing showing by the band and a very rowdy audience.
What is particularly notable about this concert is that audience. Well, one member in particular. Perhaps he wasn’t rowdy and tangling with security as many others reportedly were, but he was nonetheless fired up by what he was seeing.
Bob Ezrin, a veteran producer, chose to work with Deep Purple for their upcoming album based on this concert. He hasn’t given a specific date, but given he saw them at Massey Hall and this was the only time they were there in this time window, it would have had to have been this night. Specifically, Ezrin was inspired by the onstage jamming done by Steve Morse and Don Airey:
Steve Morse stood up and played Rock God and played the most amazing guitar I’ve ever heard and then Don Airey filled it with these huge keyboards and then the drums and the bass and everything came in and the whole audience went nuts and then I realized we never see that anymore.Bob Ezrin about the Massey Hall concert he attended. Retrieved from here.
Ezrin’s collaboration with the band began here and has spanned three albums albums thus far: Now What?!, Infinite, and Whoosh! Thus, we have this concert to thank for the brilliant albums Deep Purple has been putting out lately! That he was inspired by the work of the two newest members on a nostalgia-fueled tour and worked with the five band members to create the latest phase of their story is a story emblematic of this band, a group who enjoys a great deal of popularity for what has come before, but who are still capable of creating new music.
A recording of this concert exists and is in circulation online.
I talk more about the venue at which the group performed, Massey Hall, here.
- Edit on 2020-09-14: Updated to reflect the release of Whoosh! Optimized for new site.