Deep Purple’s Europe 2001 tour was probably expected to be a run-of-the-mill tour for Deep Purple. They were composed of their most drama-free lineup they’d ever seen. Fireball had been released 30 years prior, so composed the majority of the setlist for these days. They had completed a successful North American tour a month prior.
Then, however, less than a week before the tour, Jon Lord injured his knee. The band was forced to pull in a last-minute replacement, Don Airey. Airey had previously played with Roger Glover in Rainbow (where he’d even played the occasional “Lazy” or “Smoke on the Water”!) and Ian Paice with Gary Moore’s band. He’d even played with Jon Lord on a project in the early 90s.
Airey was busy with a scoring project besides, but still found the time to learn the setlist with just three days’ notice. Judging by photos, he may still have been working on exact details on the first night!
From the first handful of gigs, the chemistry which has characterized this lineup is palpable. Airey and Steve Morse, drawn from their shared background in jazz fusion and hefty classical chops, brought the improvisation which had always characterized the band to new heights. As the tour went on, recordings show the mood of the group lifted even further, and they sounded freer than they had in a long time.
The group played 21 gigs in total, with a twenty-second cancelled. Amazingly, 19 of them are known to have been recorded.
Below is a chart of all their known gigs, planned gigs and TV appearances. There will be links taking you to gigs I’ve either covered or reviewed. Anything else pertinent (venue info from another gig, etc) will also be linked.
|2001-08-09||“Danmarks Smukkeste Festival” Skanderborg, DEN||No||Here||Said to be recorded; actually is the 5-øren|
|2001-08-10||“Drøbakfestivalen” Drøbak, NOR||Yes (partial)||Here|
|2001-08-11||Helsingborg, Hamntorget, Tivoli, SWE||Yes||–|
|2001-08-12||5-øren, Copenhagen, DEN||Yes||–||Also videoed|
|2001-08-14||“Rock Summer 2001” Stadhalle, Rostock, GER||No||–|
|2001-08-15||“Rock Summer 2001” Elbwiesen, Dresden, GER||Yes||–|
|2001-08-17||Großer Elzpark, Mosbach, GER||Yes||–|
|2001-08-18||“Open Air Gampel” Bühne 1, Gampel, SUI||Yes (partial)||–|
|2001-08-19||Museumsplatz, Bonn, GER||Yes||–|
|2001-08-21||“Rock Summer 2001” Peißnitzinsel, Halle, GER||Yes||–|
|2001-08-22||“Summer Rock 2001” [sic] Park des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Nürnberg, GER||Yes||–|
|2001-08-24||“Sporting Summer Festival” Salle Des Etoiles, Monte Carlo, MON||Yes||–|
|2001-08-25||“Sporting Summer Festival” Salle Des Etoiles, Monte Carlo, MON||Yes||–|
|2001-08-26||“Sporting Summer Festival” Salle Des Etoiles, Monte Carlo, MON||Yes||–|
|2001-08-28||“Festa de l’ Unita” Palasport, Genova, ITA||Yes||–|
|2001-08-29||Conegliano, Campo Fiero Santa Lucia, Treviso, ITA||Yes||–|
|2001-08-30||“Frogstock Festival” Riolo Terme, Parco Fluviale, Ravenna, ITA||Yes||–|
|2001-09-01||Palastampa, Torino (Turin), ITA||Yes||–|
|2001-09-02||Ospedaletto, Area Expo, Trento, ITA||Yes||–|
|2001-09-04||Lycabettus Theater, Athens, GRE||Yes||–|
|2001-09-05||Earth Theater, Thessaloniki, GRE||Yes||–|
|2001-09-06||Fidalmi Arena, Istanbul, TUR||N/A||N/A||Cancelled|
If you attended any of these concerts, please fill out this survey to help me tell the story of this tour.
This tour is a remarkable one in Deep Purple’s history, both because it showed remarkable musical ability by the quintet involved and because it marked the birth of the longest-lasting lineup Deep Purple has ever had. I will be bringing you special coverage of this tour as a part of a larger project I’m preparing for later this year for this blog. Stay tuned for the rest of the story!
Thank you so much for reading. If you enjoyed this post, please consider donating on my ko-fi page or becoming a patron on my patreon. I appreciate your help!
2 thoughts on “Tour Guide: Don Airey’s Debut Tour”