PERFORMANCE: Australian Tours by Overseas Artists 1964-75


May 16-20, 1971

Deep Purple first visited Australia as part of an groundbreaking, sell-out package tour with Free and Manfred Mann, supported by local Santana-inspired latin-rock band Pirana. The tour played four states in as many days, breaking all previous attendance records for rock shows in Australia. It was an influential tour for the local scene, giving Aussie audiences their first direct experience of the heavy-rock style being pioneered by bands such as the headliners, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Up to that time, fans had ben reliant on records, and on cover versions performed by local bands like The Dave Miller Set.

The tour played to capacity crowds for one night each in Perth and Adelaide on May 16 and 17, followed by two nights in Melbourne at the Festival Hall. The first Melbourne show on Saturday May 18 ran overtime by more than two hours, finishing after 1.00am. Over 5000 fans were turned away, so a second show on the Sunday May 19 was hastily arranged for the benefit of fans who missed the first performance. According to GO-SET, Deep Purple's first Melbourne performance was troubled by equipment problems, as was Free's set at the Sydney concert.

The following day the four groups played at a rapturously-received outdoor performance at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, attended by over 30,000 people. Segments of the concert were filmed by the ABC's GTK, and the tour recieved extensive coverage in the GO-SET edition of May 22, with reviews of both the Melbourne and Sydney shows by Ed Nimmervol and David Elfick.

These reviews and more about the tour, can be found on the Australia '71 pages in the official Deep Purple website, The Highway Star.

Milesago says "Thanks!" to Svatte Pettersson for the information and links.
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