The Surprising: The Story Behind Deep Purple’s Most Unexpected Lineup Change

Don Airey has been a full member of Deep Purple since March 17, 2002. Since then, he has only missed a single date with Deep Purple, bringing his A-game night after night through bad weather, instrumental failure, and all sorts of mishaps. Airey’s incredible professionalism, one of the hallmarks of his career, was on full display in the summer months of 2001, when with less than a week’s notice he was called upon to stand in for Jon Lord during a European Tour with Deep Purple.

This page will chronicle this dramatic tale in a series of blog posts. It will deviate from my usual formula in that I will combine my live review of recordings, if there happen to be those, with “On This Day” coverage of each gig. Meanwhile, I will also endeavor to bring in interesting background information to create the full narrative of Deep Purple’s Europe 2001 tour and the creation of the longest-running lineup.


Posts that are italicized have yet to be written. Posts that have hyperlinks have already been released. Some of these will be written out of order.

I welcome contributions from anyone who may have been to the above concerts. I would appreciate if you would fill out this survey with your experiences.