Besides Pink Floyd, Deep Purple were one of the most creative bands out of Britain. Their first songs could be ascribed to the pop genre – but already contained single classical quotations.
Together with Jon Lord, the Philharmonic Orchestra Hagen and musical director Florian Ludwig skilfully staged the hour-long oeuvre “Concerto for Group and Orchestra”: epochal, pompously, majestic – dynamic in the speedy sequences, gently in the slower ones.
The switch between classic and rock also succeeded because of the band DCRS who contributed harder and faster tones. Here, Richard Güth played brilliant solos on the strings – there is nothing like the rich sound of a Fender Stratocaster.
The core of the show was without doubt the master himself: Jon Lord. In turns he handled the keys of the piano and the Hammond organ – in the usual perfect manner, which not always showed to advantage though.
The acoustic engineering must be criticized for letting go down Jon Lord compared to the orchestra. Especially at the song “Gigue” this was most evident. With a classical version of the – otherwise rocking – Deep Purple hit “Child in Time” the concert ended after two and a half hours.
Back in ‘deep purple‘
Deep Purple-Legend Jon Lord gave a highly acclaimed concert on Tuesday – 40 years after his first big performance in Essen. WAZ met the 67-year-old backstage for an interview after the show.
He is one of The Big Ones in music business: rock legend Jon Lord, who together with Nick Simper founded the not less legendary band Deep Purple (“Smoke on the water”) in 1968 and pounded the keys as their keyboarder until 2002.
Lord, who is regarded as one of the pioneers in the combination of rock and classical music, created a milestone in music history in 1969 with his arrangement “Concerto for Group and Orchestra”.
After the highly acclaimed performance on Tuesday in the Grugahalle the 67-year-old received WAZ reporter Ilias Abawi for an interview.
The Grugahalle in Essen isn’t an unknown venue for you, is it?
JL: Not al all, I’ve already been here once, exactly 40 years ago. It was in 1969 when I toured with Deep Purple. The Grugahalle was one of the first really big halls we played in. I can still clearly remember the gig, although we’d had a rough night before. Those were different times.
Which memories do you have of the audience back then?
JL: I still remember that the people didn’t sit on their seats like this time, but totally relaxed on the floor. There were still some hippies among the audience. But I would say that the German fans, especially those from Essen, were among the first listeners who set the right vibes at our concerts. Who went along with the tunes.
How was that show?
JL: Well, the people cheered, they sang along, and in the end they saw us off with standing ovations. But you wanted to know what I liked about the Grugahalle back then.
I guess you are about to tell us in a minute…
JL: Gladly so. What I already liked back then was the special construction of the Grugahalle, this beautiful form. Like a butterfly. I enjoyed the view this time too. My God, I can’t believe it’s already been 40 years.
To what extent did the audience change since 1969?
JL: They don’t sit on the floor anymore, but on chairs (laughs). But seriously, this is the only difference. Like back then, the atmosphere was terrific this time. There were younger and older listeners, faithful Deep Purple fans and newbies who saw me playing for the first time. I loved it to play here.
Because of the snow chaos in London you came to Essen by train via Brussels. Others would simply have cancelled the concert…
JL: But not me, I really wanted to come to Essen. And I tell you, I’ll gladly come back.
By Ilias Abaw, © Westdeutsch Allgemeine
Translated from German by Annika Jobski