Deep Purple bids a Joyous Long Goodbye to Kansas City

Ian Gillan and Steve Morse at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City
Photo by Josh Chaikin

In rock, there are a few bands that can truly be called iconic, Deep Purple is certainly deserving of that honor. With a rotating lineup of musicians, constant touring, and recording, Deep Purple has certainly put a lot of time out on the road. Currently trekking with their “Long Goodbye” tour, the band stopped in Kansas City on Thursday night to find a place to sweat.

Seeing the legendary Ian’s would be well worth the price of admission, but Deep Purple brought California rockers, Joyous Wolf along with them. With a high-energy set, and heavy bluesy riffs, these boys proved VERY quickly they deserved their place on the tour.

Vocalist Nick Reese truly puts on a performance, from bulging his eyes out, to calisthenics onstage, or running through the audience, only to sing moments later, without so much as taking a breath. Everything is left on the stage, and many new fans were made that night, with well over half of the crowd giving Wolf a standing ovation. Something rarely seen from an opening act. Mark my words, these guys are going places.

Of course, everyone was there to see Deep Purple. And boy, did they come in swinging hard, and heavy. Roger’s thumping bass hit hard, Ian’s drumming coming in fast…it was time for Highway Star. Here we go!

It must be said that Gillan’s voice has not held up, but singing like he has for the past five decades, it is completely excusable. People come to these shows to see the musicians. To groove to the vibe. If you want clean vocals, you have your records at home. This is rock ‘n roll, baby!

Truly a five-piece, all members were given time to flex, and Ian time to rest. Drum solo? Check. Guitar solo? Check. Keyboard solo? You know it! A fusion of rock, jazz, classical, and a little bit of Over the Rainbow before leading in to Perfect Strangers.

By now, half the crowd were on their feet getting raucous…when the band quickly shifted into Space Trucking, things got wild, and without introduction (is one even needed), the most famous chords in rock echoed through the Uptown. The place exploded, and everyone leapt to their feet for some Smoke on the Water.

For a band to sustain the status that Deep Purple has for decades is an incredible achievement, with fame around the globe. The tour may not be farewell, just a long goodbye, but you’ll still want to be there for it.

Words and Photos by Josh Chaikin

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