Deep Purple + The Crave @ Birmingham LG Arena – 13th November 2009


It is an awful night weather-wise, cold, lashing with rain and windy. The motorway is vile with idiots driving too fast and failing to realise they have indicators for a reason. I arrive at the NEC, or as it’s now known LG Arena to find the usual car-park closed. Great! I eventually find my way around to the railway station car-park and head to the venue.

The box-office poses the usual problem in trying to get in, despite showing the email to confirm I’m on the list, and it’s only when I give Steve Gerrard’s name a ticket is produced. Much has been spent on the NEC, sorry LG Arena, but the main benefit is comfy padded seats, the worst being men’s toilet troughs that make you visible to all passing outside whilst voiding!

Merchandise is limited to a few t-shirts, a cap, poster and a mug, and none seem to be selling, but the typical price these days of £20 for a t-shirt is frankly wrong, especially given the price of tickets, travel, drinks. On which note I have to comment on the coffee, £1.50 for a cup of what can only be described as piping hot toilet water. I thought the food and drink provision had been improved in the millions thrown at the venue re-vamp, but perhaps not.

My seat is excellent, on a level with the stage. The arena has been reduced, but even with this there are vast arrays of empty seats, and the whole crowd would’ve fitted into the Civic or a venue of similar size.
Support comes from a band called The Crave (I’ve never heard of them either) but they remind me of a band from the ‘80’s called The Almighty. They rock-out for 30 minutes, but seem to turn a few people off when before their last song the lead singer tries to get a chorus going of him shouting “1,2” and the crowd shouting back “Fuck yea”. The audience consists largely of 50 somethings and to be fair it’s not really what they had in mind.


The stage is cleared and for the first time in my life I witness the stage being hoovered, I kid you not. This does become evident though later on! To the strains of Prokofiev ‘Dance of the Knights’ the lights dim and the band emerge. Ian Gillan bare-footed, hence the over cautious hoovering. They open with ‘Highway Star’ and sound great. The stage set is simple, and two large video cameras beam onto screens either side of the stage, but the venue has been made so cosy they’re not really needed. Sadly Brum Live wasn’t allowed a photographer tonight, which is a shame and also a confusion given there are four in the pit for the usual first three songs.

The band play a mixture of tracks from what is a long career, they actually formed before I was a thought in my Dad’s mind, and whilst Deep Purple normally conjure images of traditional rock, tonight they bordered on Jazz at times with each member having over-long solos, but there’s no doubt they can play.
Throughout Steve Morse throws plectrums to the crowd, but sadly due to the width of the pit, very few reach their targets, and it’s only down to the good nature of security staff to run in, with head ducked to retrieve and pass on. God bless ‘em!

Gillan looks spritely for someone of his years, almost a cross between Hugh Cornwell and Tony Booth, and he has quite a wicked sense of humour announcing one old song as being written by Dick Turpin. All too soon ‘Smoke on the Water’ starts and this signals the end of their set, but they quickly return to play ‘Hush’ and ‘Black Night’ and then they’re gone. They saved the best ‘til last and proved they have some great tunes, but they are more Jazz club than metal kings these days. I make my way to the car-park, and for reasons unknown the pay machine isn’t on the car-park but on the first floor of the station, but at £5 it’s cheaper than the usual NEC, sorry LG Arena, fleecing of £8 (that’s just £7 to those in advance punters). It is still chucking it down, a Black Night indeed but inside I’ve been pleasantly warmed by a band my brother used to be mad about, claiming ‘Machine Head’ to be one of the best albums ever. He may have been right after all.

Review – Glenn Raybone

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1 thought on “Deep Purple + The Crave @ Birmingham LG Arena – 13th November 2009

  1. Although it was friday the 13th, this date absolutly didn’t represent the performance of Deep Purple.

    The setlist presented a journey through most of the best songs of Deep Purple and enchated us.
    These people still know how to perform and the how they build the brigde to the next songs was tremendous.
    During the nearly 2 hours concert they didn’t ease off for a moment, respactable for these man. You can only perform like this when rock&roll is in your genes.

    We came all the way from Holland for this concert, and yes we know they are playing in the Heiniken Music Hall in Amsterdam next wednesday. But this band you have to see and hear where their roots are.
    To be honest we didn’t regret a second coming over to Brum for this concert.

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