DEEP PURPLE – Bergen – Grieghallen

DEEP PURPLE – Bergen – Grieghallen

I was really looking forward to seeing Deep Purple perform on this rather cold Wednesday night in Bergen, Norway, especially since this was going to be my first time witnessing them on stage. I could not have asked for a better venue in the sense that Grieghallen simply rules. Not only is it quite atmospheric and stylish inside, but it is built and meant for concerts, and the acoustics are great as opposed to some shitty soccer stadium. In addition, the staff at the venue is helpful and nice. The show was sold out and there were approximately 2400 people there from what I could gather. There were many parents and couples present with their children and teenage sons and daughters in tow, which was quite fun and cool to see. At the merchandise stand there were tons of cool items (shirts, CDs, signed memorabilia, etc.).

The Norwegian five-piece named Emmerhoff and the Melancholy Babies had the honor of supporting Deep Purple and they did a damn fine job at that. They went onstage at 8 PM sharp and left about half an hour later. Their dreamy and melancholic rock was quite catchy and you could tell that they were having a good time up there, and yet also a bit humble about supporting D.P. Their moody and strong melodies as well as the layered textures in their songs made for a good show.

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(Photo: Linda Nordstrand)

At 9 PM the lights went down and the "Mars Bringer of War" orchestral piece by Gustav Holst filled the venue. The curtain was lifted while the band launched into "Après Vous" off their new album, "Now What?!". We were off to a pretty good start. Following that, we went way back in time to the "In Rock" album in the shape of "Into the Fire" and "Hard Lovin’ Man". The band was in great shape, and Gillan’s voice was in good shape, too. Then came one of my favorite songs and one of the highlights of the evening for me, namely "Strange Kind of Woman". It sounded phenomenal and that little vocal/guitar duet that Gillan and Morse did at the end gave me a boner. The crowd was starting to move, scream, and clap their hands by now. Up next was a new killer track: "Vincent Price". It had that catchy, driving riff to it that makes for a good song and some eerie keyboard melodies courtesy of the maestro himself, Don Airey (Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow, Gary Moore, Judas Priest, etc.). "Contact Lost", "Uncommon Man", and "The Well-dressed Guitar" was almost like a medley in a sense. I must admit that these three did not do much for me, but things picked up again with "The Mule" off the "Fireball" album. Then followed a tribute to the late, great Jon Lord and the band performed the new song entitled "Above and Beyond", which is a moving and beautiful song in a lot of ways. Then came "Lazy", which was awesome, and a new song entitled "Hell to Pay". I think the latter is a little boring, to be honest with you. "Perfect Strangers" was another phenomenal highlight for me. It has a hypnotizing quality to it that simply rules. "Space Truckin’" also ruled and then eventually came the obligatory "Smoke on the Water". Not surprisingly, the crowd went wild during that one. The band then left the stage only to return a few minutes later for the encores. "Hush" is no favorite of mine, but the audience seemed to enjoy it. Glover then handed us a bass solo of sorts before the last song of the night, "Black Night" ended the show on a great note. 

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(Photo: Linda Nordstrand)

It is amazing to think that the band has been active for 45 years or thereabout and, more importantly, that they can still deliver a great show. Throughout the night, the band were all smiles and you could tell that they were having a good time up there. Roger Glover and Ian Paice are totally locked in and operate as one. Don Airey is a genius and I honestly do not need to elaborate on that! Gillan is a charming and funny man on stage and last night he proved that he could still move around and shake his hips and so on, which I am sure some of the women appreciated. Morse is a great guitarist, of that there can be no doubt. I would have loved to hear one song off "Rapture of the Deep", but you cannot always get what you want, and with five decades of music under their belts, it cannot be easy for the band to choose what goes in the set-list either. For me, hearing "Strange Kind of Woman", "Perfect Strangers", and "Space Truckin’" was a lot of fun and I had a good time throughout the show. All the different solo spots may be a bit too much for some, but if anybody is entitled to do that kind of thing then it is Deep Purple!

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(Photo: Linda Nordstrand)


The set-list was a follows:

Mars Bringer of War (Gustav Holst)


Into the Fire

Hard Lovin’ Man

Strange Kind of Woman

Vincent Price

Contact Lost

Uncommon Man

The Well-Dressed Guitar

The Mule

Above and Beyond (a tribute to Jon Lord)


Hell to Pay

Perfect Strangers

Space Truckin’

Smoke on the Water




Bass solo

Black Night