On This Day (June 13)…Deep Purple Without Hammond

Can you imagine how Deep Purple sound without the Hammond?

Review for the show by Peter Rossen. Retrieved from here.

Deep Purple performed on this day in 2006 at the Stadthalle in Osnabrück, Germany.

Ad for the show. Retrieved from here.

The band were currently touring to support Rapture of the Deep, which had been released the previous October.

What set this particular date apart from every other on this tour, and indeed makes it one of the most unusual in Purple touring history, was the instrumental setup. Deep Purple is known for its prominent Hammond organ, begun during the tenure of Jon Lord and continued on to Don Airey’s time. The band had even apparently inherited Lord’s old Hammond B3, which Airey used on the road at this time, after his retirement. All of this considered, it must have been a surprise to concertgoers–and indeed the band–when the organ started failing early in the concert! While something like this had happened at least once before during Jon Lord’s tenure with the group, it sounds as if the Hammond had at least been somewhat present during that concert, while in this case it simply ceased working.

Despite attempts by the road crew to get it working again, it remained broken for the duration of the night. Thus, keyboardist Don Airey was forced to improvise his parts throughout the night on his remaining keyboards, notably bringing in piano and synthesizer to cover missing parts. Other members of the group were also forced to think on their feet, with an apparent improv break early on to cover the failed Hammond fix and guitarist Steve Morse stepping up into the sound more strongly.

No doubt, this was a very stressful occurrence; Airey even reportedly quipped afterwards that he hoped there was no recording of the concert in existence! However, reviews by people who were there suggest that the group rose to the occasion, making for an unusual but genuinely enjoyable experience. At least one member of the band, namely Ian Gillan, was also quite excited about what had happened.

Sorry, Mr. Airey…

Unfortunately for Airey, the concert was recorded in full and is in circulation online, with portions even being recorded on video. It’s yet another testament to what sets this lineup of Deep Purple’s stage work apart from that of so many other musicians across genres: their ability as a whole to work through all manner of mishaps and pull things off in style.

Cover with an explanation of what happened. Retrieved with the recording.

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