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Friday, 30 December 2011

Deep Purple - Feb 11, 2012 at JLC in London Ontario

Lazy. 
You just stay in bed
You don't want no money
You don't want no bread  
~ Deep Purple 




As a Lazy JLC Reviewer-Wannabe, I really couldn’t be bothered putting in the effort, like so many @leGiffs and @BHRaymonds have painstakingly done in the past, to go too far out of my way in an attempt to secure the privilege.  I’m mainly counting on friends and fellow Twits to put in the effort for me, and promote me to ‘The Powers That Be At JLC’. So I won’t be writing any long, drawn out blog entries just in hopes of trying to snag a pair of tickets and being allowed the honour of capturing the event in pictures and words. That’s just far, far too much trouble for someone as shockingly Lazy as I.

Alright, well perhaps just a few words...

As a young teen in the early ‘80s, other than girls, nothing much mattered to me more than rock. However, I had considered most of the contemporary "rock music" of the day to be somewhat vacuous (with some notable exceptions). Delighted, then, would certainly be too benign a term to describe how I felt when a dear uncle imparted to me his early '70s hard rock collection.  Fortunately for me, the hapless gent was teetering precariously on the cusp of love and his fiancé, failing to share his adulation for great music, strongly suggested he rid their abode of such cumbersome nonsense.I felt his pain, but eagerly accepted and wished him well.

Among this assortment that he unceremoniously and somewhat scornfully handed me, was Alice celebrating the end of school; Townshend and his gang screaming about a teenage wasteland; some Zeppelin and Stones, a little Floyd, and, well, you get the idea. Suddenly I was skipping almost effeminately through a beautiful meadow of many of the greatest rock albums of all time. They were all mine; it was my new world, and it was a magical place to be.

Although album art during the time these records were produced was an art form all to itself, one album among all these glorious gems stood out to me even more than the rest: a bunch of long-haired freaks apparently encased in ice, with their band and album names engraved into the slab.

The cover was warped from too much time in the sun, the placement of too many stubby beer bottles on its surface, and several small burn marks of unknown origin. I can’t imagine how they might have gotten there. Yet, despite the careless treatment this cover had so callously received, it somehow enhanced the overall appearance. I thought it was beautiful.

I had heard of Deep Purple before, of course. I didn’t know anyone who had ever picked up a guitar for the first time without playing the riff from ‘Smoke On the Water’ (I wonder if kids still do that). Though that was as far as my experience with the band went at the time. Then I plugged in the huge jack and I put on the huge headphones. And I listened.

I didn’t know what to expect. Though, considering the elite company it kept in the collection, I did expect it to be fairly far out. But I didn’t expect this. The first track on side one immediately blasted me with a hitherto unknown level of energy and excitement - and I seldom incorporate the word ‘hitherto’ into my writing, so that should give you an indication of how excited I was to hear the opening of this song for the first time.

It was called ‘Highway Star’. Blackmore’s pounding, intense opening burst, steadily rising, creating great anticipation of what was to come - which was Ian Gillian’s piercing multi-layered scream, and it simply blew me away. I was hooked and never looked back. It seemed at the time like the greatest tune I’d ever heard, and all these years later, it’s still right the hell up there. If I’m listening to Free FM in the car and it comes on, I’m sorry but I have to crank it and I don’t think I should have to be held accountable for any speed limits I may happen to obliterate during the ensuing six minutes. The dj should know better than to do that to me. Personally, I find it to be quite irresponsible. There are children out there for goodness sake. Just listen for 35 seconds – loud - and you’ll agree:  ... See?

But let's return to the ‘80s, shall we?

The entire album became a staple for me. I listened to it repeatedly, much to the consternation, I'm sure, of my beleaguered parents and siblings, none of whom had any appreciation of fine rock. I knew where every major and minor scratch was on every song of that record.  I still consider it one of those rare “perfect albums” where there’s nary a tune that is less than brilliant.

Soon after, I acquired a cassette version for my Walkman, which made it convenient for bringing the urgent message of Deep Purple to the uninitiated masses. The other kids needed to know. I recruited many converts for this great band that had long since broken up and went their separate ways.

Then something quite amazing happened. They reunited! The exact same line up from the Machine Head years.  And they were going to be playing at The Gardens in Toronto. I couldn’t believe it! A friend was dispatched to get four tickets for us. When he returned with them, I was unable to find the cash and he subsequently had to sell my ticket to someone else. I was distraught, to say the least.

By the time of the show, however, I did have money, and took the two hour trip to the city in hopes of finding a reasonably priced scalper ticket. I didn’t find one.  I ended up wandering aimlessly around the Church and Carlton area as the chilly November drizzle permeated my thin jacket, my skin, and, yes, my very soul. And my friends were inside, snug and warm, and in the company of my favourite band.

The ride home was pure torment. Two hours of having to hear how amazing the show was. How Paice’s drums reverberated and shook the house; how Gillan’s voice was in prime condition as he wailed out ‘Lazy’ and ‘Space Truckin’’, and many other classics. I was utterly devastated by the entire ordeal, and still to this day have not seen them live in concert.

And THAT (God love me) is why I should be a JLC Reviewer when they appear on February 11 (presented by 98.1 Free FM) at The John Labatt Centre http://www.johnlabattcentre.com

Only then can I attempt to relive that fateful evening so long ago - to right the wrongs of the past – to put the tragic experience of my youth behind me once and for all. To finally overcome the crushing pain and learn to live again! The band should also read this post and personally present me with an Ian Gillan autographed lung. Because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the only thing to do.

And if my sob story isn’t quite enough to melt the hearts of the JLC, I ask any tweeters reading this to help make them understand the depth of my desire by shooting off a message to @JLC that @ronnyxu does, indeed, deserve the honour, even if he was too Lazy to write a suitably-lengthy blog entry about it. Be sure to tag with #JLCReviewer and #DeepPurple.

Thank ye kindly.

4 comments:

  1. You get my vote. Tweeted, and shared.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I thought you were already picked! I can't imagine anyone else doing the job!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ha, thanks - feel free to tell them so ;) They won't be choosing for a couple weeks.

    ReplyDelete