From the moment the lights go down and the familiar heavy metal chords ring out through the vast indoor space, it is clear that Deep Purple have lost none of their ability to rock.   

We’re in the Kyiv International Exhibition Centre and the ur-British rockers are here for one night only as they cut a swath through eastern Europe.  The set is outstanding, with loads of original 1970’s material to keep the likes of me happy (I particularly enjoy “Space Truckin” from my favourite album of 1972, “Machine Head”) and plenty of evidence to support Deep Purple’s once-proud claim to be the world’s loudest band.  It’s also great to see that, on stage, the group members all give the strong impression of enjoying themselves immensely.  Some photos are below.

Afterwards, through a fortuitous series of coincidences (thank-you, Roger Glover) I and some others are able to meet members of the band and share a beer.  I am impressed to find that all of  those I meet are remarkably relaxed and, well, normal considering what one web-site describes as “a seemingly endless series of line up changes and a dramatic mid-career shift from grandiose progressive rock to ear-shattering heavy metal to emerge as a true institution of the British hard rock community”.  The band have been famous almost for as long as I can remember, and at least one of them has been in the line-up since 1968.  I take the opportunity to ask some of the band members what the secret is to staying sane and grounded under the awesome pressure of global megastardom.  The answer is simple: “never take yourself too seriously”.  This strikes me as excellent advice for any rock star, politician, diplomat or anyone else.

Leigh Turner
British Ambassador to Ukraine

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