On This Day (July 8)…Deep Purple Before the Change

Deep Purple performed on this day at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in Houston, Texas.

Ticket for the show. Retrieved from here.

This was the final concert on a short summer tour leg in North America. At this time, Deep Purple was not particularly touring in support of anything; 2001 had been a year in which they finished up the loose ends of their recent orchestra tour with Ronnie James Dio, performed in some rarer locations, and began discussions of their next album. For their tour in North America, they had teamed up with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Ted Nugent for just over a month of shows. This show also saw Nazareth and Cheap Trick taking the stage for the summer festival “Arrowfest 2001”.

As it would turn out, this was also the final concert before keyboardist Jon Lord had a knee injury, forcing him to leave the road for the remainder of the year. As Don Airey took the stage just over a month later as a temporary replacement, this would be the last time Lord performed as the only keyboardist to ever play with Deep Purple. Lord would go on to retire after a short set of dates in the UK the following spring, though he would infrequently guest with Purple until his death in 2012.

The show received positive reviews from the fans who attended. Steve Morse got particularly high praise. Overall, the reviews state that they were the best of the bands who were present.

Later in the night, three members of the group apparently sang backing vocals to “Sweet Home Alabama”. According to the review which mentioned it, these three were bassist Roger Glover, guitarist Steve Morse, and drummer Ian Paice. While Glover and Morse routinely step up as backing vocalists for Purple to this day, it’s pretty much unheard of for Paice to take to the microphone. He was the only member of the group not to be mic-ed up during the Bananas World Tour, during which Morse, Glover and Airey would sing backup vocals. This is the only time I know of that he actually took to singing, if this in fact happened!

Deep Purple’s portion of this concert is known to have been recorded, and is in circulation online.

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