Rock Will Never Die

Deep Purple was formed in 1968 and was considered one of the founders of Heavy Metal music. Edgar Winter began recording on his own in 1970. Blue Öyster Cult’s first album was released in January 1972.

Last night, all three bands performed at a concert in Connecticut and it just goes to show that rock will never die.

I knew Deep Purple from their FM-rock staples and Edgar Winter for his handful of hits but had never seen either live. Regular readers here know that BÖC’s Eric Bloom is my uncle so I’ve seen them repeatedly through the years.

Robbie and I went to see the concert last night and had a great time. Before the show, I took Robbie backstage (a first for him and he was grinning the whole time) and we visited with Eric for a bit. He introduced us to the band (only one of whom, Donald Roeser I had met previously and even then, the last time I saw him was 20+ years back). We talked about family stuff, my impending job hunt and the like. Their green room was fairly Spartan, everyone lounging, Donald warming with an acoustic guitar. A bag of chips and a package of cookies remained unwanted. He asked if we’d seen Edgar perform before and highly recommended it so we went back to our seats and watched.

Edgar Winter was playing with new guys but they were tight and clearly having fun. In fact, all night long, I realized all three bands were playing many of the same songs they first played over 35 years before and still made it look fresh. Rob was amazed by how much he recognized from Winter without realizing it was him. The highlight for me, though, was watching “Frankenstein” live. It’s a great instrumental but to see Edgar go from keyboards to sax to drums and back again, without skipping a beat, was pretty awesome.

Between sets, I ran into my cousin Rebecca, her husband Paul, and their 11-year old son Zach, attending his first concert. We played catch up and it was great being around family once more.

The BÖC was second billed and limited to a 45-minute set but their seven songs rocked the house. The band was loose, clearly having some fun as they mixed the obvious (“Don’t Fear the Reaper,” “Godzilla,” and “Burning for You”) with other material from their deep catalogue. At one point Eric talked about traffic on I-95 and then surveyed the packed house about their baseball allegiances. While there was a smattering of applause for the Mets, it was clearly a Boston house. He didn’t care, he said, he was a Mets fan and they were still in first place. Overall, they filled the time pretty well and got everyone to their feet more than once. Donald (Buck Dharma) remains one of the most amazing and underrated guitarists I’ve ever seen.

The family all went backstage to see Eric before he skipped out to go home. He said it was a good show although it was tough to rev things up and then wind up in a mere 45 minutes. He was getting ready to go home so we made our farewells. Rebecca took the others home so Robbie and I settled in for Deep Purple.

While people loved seeing the opening acts, they were clearly there in large numbers for this legendary group. Like the BÖC, only two original members remain, singer Ian Gillan and drummer Ian Paice. Unlike the first two acts, they cranked up the volume and did a poor sound mix job so Gillan was incomprehensible. The lighting was superior, though. About half an hour into their set, Robbie decided he’d had enough, a decision I reached in half that time. It was too loud, we couldn’t get into the music and I found Gillan hard to watch. There was something about the way he handled himself on stage that made him look like an old guy trying to be young again and failing at being convincing. I heard one of their hits, I had seen enough. The audience, though, was eating it up and I was feeling old myself for walking out.

Still, I can now count having seen two more groups that were huge in my youth and these days, that’s pretty darn good.

3 comments

  • JosephW

    Just one little nitpick. The original Deep Purple vocalist was Rod Evans; Gillan joined in 1969 after Evans left.
    Evans was the vocalist on Deep Purple’s “Hush” and “Kentucky Woman”; Gillan was the voice of “Smoke on the Water”. (Incidentally, leaving aside the matter of “original”, since Gillan left the group shortly after “Smoke” became a hit and didn’t rejoin till the mid 1980s, and left and rejoined *again* half a decade later, is it accurate to use “remain” in connection with Gillan?)

  • JosephW

    Oh, forgot to say glad you had a more-or-less enjoyable time. Can’t say that I’ve any overwhelming concert-going interest in Winter, BOC or Deep Purple (I like several of the acts’ various songs) but I’ve really enjoyed the concerts I’ve gone to this year (aside from the fact that the tickets specifically say “no cameras”, yet people were taking pictures left and right). I saw John Mayer for the second time (the first time was a billing with Sheryl Crow), Norah Jones, and a Cyndi Lauper “True Colors” show (Cyndi, along with Debbie Harry, Erasure, the Dresden Dolls and Margaret Cho) and I’ll be going to see Rufus Wainwright in a little over a week. (I had a chance to see Stevie Nicks and Chris Isaak and also Harry Connick, but both shows were in June, both before and after HeroesCon, and I figured the concerts were a bit less vital. Due to my work schedule, I’m a bit limited in the shows I can actually see, otherwise I’d probably see a lot more.)

  • Susan O.

    I didn’t know BOC was around, or we might have gone. We saw Meatloaf last week. We may worship the Beatles, but Meatloaf for some odd reason allegedly holds the #1 selling album of all time in Britain. He looked like a dark-haired Shatner with a hundred extra pounds on him (beyond what he has), and when he bent his head (from our seats) you could see he had about as much hair, too. He put on a long wig for Paradise…, and he looked 15 years younger. While his voice still has it, his activity was limited to a slow pacing of the stage. Not an energetic show, but well worth the music.
    And I always, always wear earplugs at indoor concerts. The noise will destroy your hearing.