Deep Purple (photo credit: EMI RECORDS)

As the popular saying goes: There's a first time for everything! So, going in that vein, dismissing calls to boycott the only Jewish State, Deep Purple played their first show in Israel on May 22. The performance took place at Tel Aviv’s Menorah Mivtachim Arena. Check out some amateur videos from the show below:

Deep Purple continues with their tour in support of the album Turning To Crime. The work, which essentially covered, features versions of legendary bands and artists such as Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, Cream, and The Yardbirds and was carefully chosen by each member of the British group.

The album, which is the band's twenty-first album, was produced by Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper).

Formed in London in 1968, deep Purple was often referred to as part of the 'unholy trinity of British Rock' and pioneers of heavy metal together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Zeppelin and Sabbath might no longer play, but Deep Purple remains a highly active working band, putting out new material regularly. They are far from a tribute band and played several newer songs, including from 2020’s album Whoosh! and 2021’s Turning to Crime which can only be classified as a tribute album and some of their best all-time classics.

The show kicked off at a breakneck pace with the all-time classics “Highway Star,” “Pictures of Home,” and “Strange Kind of Woman” delivered before they took a break to catch their breath. Gillan greeted the crowd and showed his appreciation for their adoration. However, it was noteworthy that he did not mention Israel or Tel Aviv at all, nor did he have any Hebrew words prepared to wow the crowd.

Gillan is still a great singer and belted out his lines perfectly, his performance steadied and measured, rather than highly energetic and bouncing like Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler still do. McBride was especially impressive, considering most people would not have known who he was and would have preferred to see Morse in the lineup.

Anyone would have forgiven McBride for standing in the shadows at the back of the stage, playing the role of a spare part for such an iconic band. However, McBride took center stage and gave a real virtuoso performance, playing some phenomenal guitar solos throughout and generally looking the part of someone who has been in Deep Purple for years.

On Space Truckin’, the crew flex their neat onstage chemistry – helped by the fact McBride has previously toured with Ian Gillan and Don Airey – by making their way through the track’s swaggering riff exchanges with pinpoint accuracy.

Smoke on the Water, meanwhile, was performed with the exact amount of gusto you’d expect Smoke on the Water to be performed with and accommodates another display of McBride’s accomplished technique – peep the solo at the 2:50 mark. The massive Israeli crowd sang along to most of the songs with the same gusto as one would expect true DP fans to sing with - not missing a beat or lyric.

In March, it was announced that Morse would be taking a step back from Deep Purple duties to look after his ill wife. At the time, he stressed, “I am not leaving the band”, and revealed he hopes to return to the lineup in the future.

Israel has already seen Maroon 5, and Jethro Tull buck calls to boycott the country; Maroon 5 even added a second date to accommodate the massive demand despite holding their concert in the massive open-air Hayarkon Park. Some other acts coming to Israel despite the efforts by pro-Palestinian groups to thwart them are:

Air Supply, May 27-28

For a chance to get carried away and belt out “All Out of Love” outside the privacy of your own shower, look no further than Air Supply’s upcoming shows in Haifa and Rishon LeZion at the very end of May. Their last show in Israel a few years ago was sold out, and we’re guessing that this one will be too – after a couple of years we’ve been having, Air Supply’s feelgood vibes are a must.

50-Cent, July 4-5

After the memorable performance in the Super Bowl, one of the greatest and most important hip-hop artists in the world will arrive in Israel on the symbolic date of the American Independence Day as part of his world tour, which will open this coming June. 50 will be performing in the Menorah Hall in Tel Aviv.

Scorpions, July 9

German rock band Scorpions is set to arrive in Israel once again this summer, playing one show in Tel Aviv on July 9. They’ll be performing in Israel as part of a world tour celebrating their 19th (!) studio album, “Rock Believer,” following multiple shows in Las Vegas, France, Germany, and Spain. “Winds of Change,” here we come.

Pixies, July 11

American alternative rock bank Pixies is embarking on a world tour and making a special appearance in Tel Aviv on July 11. The band, which recently released some new music, is scheduled to perform alongside surprise guests in what will definitely be a magical night.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, August 23

Australian superstar rock bank Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds was meant to perform in Israel back in the summer of 2020, but a small disruption in the form of a global pandemic hit pause on that musical dream. Luckily, fans will be able to make up for lost time this summer when the band will take the stage in Rishon LeZion in central Israel. Covid and wars, please don’t get in the way of this one.

Counting Crows, September 14

American rock band Counting Crows recently released its latest album, “Butter Miracle,” and is now busy touring Europe before giving the grand finale at Israel’s Raanana Park Amphitheatre on April 20. Join the veteran band at the gorgeous open-air venue and rock along to its latest hits as well as old favorites such as “Accidentally in Love,” “Big Yellow Taxi” and “Mr. Jones.”

Justin Bieber, October 13

You read that right. Pop icon and general heartthrob Justin Bieber will grace us with his presence in Tel Aviv on October 13 as part of his mega-world tour spanning 20 countries and 90 shows. Closing the summer season, the much-anticipated show is expected to be absolutely packed with tweens, their mothers and everyone in between.

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