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Ian Gillan

Live in Anaheim

Review by Rick Damigella

Just two days shy of exactly two years to the day of this writing, I had sat down to write my twin reviews of Ian Gillan’s solo tour stops in Los Angeles and Anaheim, California. The Anaheim show featured several digital video cameras documenting the event for a DVD release (to be reviewed next issue) but I was especially excited when it was announced this double CD recording would be released as well. I have made no secrets that I am a card carrying Deep Purple, and especially, an Ian Gillan, fanatic so let’s throw objectivity out the window. From one fan to another, this is a must listen.

The Gillan’s Inn Tour was described as a 10,000 mile pub crawl across North America. The Voice has never looked or sounded like he has had this much fun touring this country in many years. His backing band consisted of guitarists Michael Lee Jackson and Dean Howard, bassist Rodney Appleby, drummer Randy Cooke and keyboard and sax player Joe Mennonna. They did the whole tour in a single bus, band, gear, crew and all. The September 14th, 2006 show at the Anaheim House of Blues was about three quarters of the way through the tour. For a Thursday night in So Cal, it was a hell of a crowd, who get some of the best placement in the mix of a live album I have ever heard, which is awesome for an especially fan-centric reason.

Allow me one paragraph of fan gushing before I get to the songs. One of the reasons I was so stoked about this release is the fact I have always wanted to be on a recording such as this. Like the elusive guitar pick one might be lucky enough to catch when thrown from a stage, the sound of one’s own whooping and hollering on an official live album is about as great a souvenir a rock fan can ask for. Yes, I was being “that guy” at this show. Just in case. Like the dude who is immortalized in the pantheon of rock by yelling “wooo!” at the start of Nirvana’s take on “The Man Who Sold the World” from Unplugged, I was hell-bent on something similar. If you were at this same show, or any show on the Gillan’s Inn tour, I invite you to hunt down a copy of this killer performance and relive a legendary moment in time of one of rock’s greatest singers.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Second Sight
The mellow keyboard instrumental opener to the show sets the scene for the explosive appearance of Ian Gillan on stage.
No Laughing In Heaven
A church of rock and roll revival song if there ever was one, the band storms through the rock and raunch groove as Pastor Gillan demands “let me out of Heaven.”

Into the Fire
The first number from the Encyclopedia Purple to be played, put your head phones on and listen to the exquisite recording done by Westwood One. Whereas so many live albums tend to become a bit muddy and white-noise cluttered, the discretion between instruments on this recording is truly stunning.

Hang Me Out To Dry
I’ve always thought the interplay of guitar and keyboards on this number made it feel like a song Gillan had written for but never recorded with Purple. Right after this number, a boxing match ring girl, bikini and all, came out to “remind” the band of the next song in the set list. There is a particularly loud guy in the crowd at 4:32 yelling at the top of his lungs at the comedy of the bit. Though I will get a better shout on tape after the next song.

Have Love Will Travel
This is a smoking number from guitarist Michael Lee Jackson’s solo album, featuring blistering guitar and smooth sax solos.
Wasted Sunsets
Here we get one of my absolute favorite songs from Purple’s modern era. As Gillan introduces it, my rather over the top “yeahhh” leads into the powerful drum intro. This bluesy number should have been a live fixture with Deep Purple but alas wasn’t. It gets its proper respect in an amazing performance here.
Not Responsible
Back in the days of the cassette tape, this was the bonus song at the end of the Perfect Strangers album. I always loved this song’s “f*** all” attitude and swagger. During the on stage intro before the number, my lovely wife gets in one of the best recorded yells on the album. That’s my girl!
No Worries
An appropriate enough follow up song as I can think of for the previous, this is slower, bluesier and with one of Ian Gillan’s signature “made up on the spot” stage stories as an intro.
River’s of Chocolate (aka G Jam):
A smoking instrumental blues/fusion jam, this features Deep Purple producer Michael Bradford who delivers some sick wah-wah licks throughout alongside bassist Rodney Appleby’s funky slap bass runs.
Unchain Your Brain
Arguably one of Ian Gillan’s heaviest numbers, you literally feel compelled to head bang your way to a migraine whilst listening.

Disc 2
Bluesy Blue Sex
Michael Lee Jackson tears it up on the guitar, one-upping the original recording which featured Janick Gers. There are very few songs with the British snipe of “you stupid prat” in their lyrics. There should be more.
Listen to the spoken intro story and the lyrics and you can almost imagine the band playing in a dive bar behind chicken wire whilst a knock down drag out erupts in front of the stage, which fortunately didn’t happen.
Texas State of Mind
Another track from Michael Lee Jackson’s solo album, this is a good number, which Gillan declares he will steal soon.
Sugar Plum
Here we have a mid tempo rocker with some nasty riffing from Michael Lee Jackson.
When A Blind Man Cries
Another rarely played live track from Deep Purple’s pantheon, this is by far one of Gillan’s best slow blues numbers. The performance here is bang on.
Men Of War
More of Michael Lee Jackson’s phenomenal six-string abilities are shown on this number. Gillan calls forth his demonic wail quite nicely to open the number.

Drum Solo
You know it’s the whole show when the drum solo is included on the CD. Randy Cooke pounds away for a good six minutes until the band joins back in to finish “Men of War.”
Smoke on the Water
It doesn’t matter how many times it has been played live, while the hardest of the hardcore fans in the audience shared in a communal Purple-gasm at the rarely played numbers, if this one isn’t played, it just isn’t an Ian Gillan show. Michael Bradford comes back to join the band in what Gillan calls “that well known ballad.”

Oh yeah, here we get a hammering Gillan take on the 12-bar blues.

Knocking at Your Back Door
It is a bit eerie how uncanny the band sounds like Deep Purple on some of these numbers. While the tone of the guitar is similar to the original, Michael Lee Jackson rips it up during the solo. It’s a fitting close to a landmark live recording.

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