Simon McBride has made his live debut with Deep Purple. And fan-shot footage that has been posted online endorses the decision by the British rock institution to hire him as a stand-in for guitarist Steve Morse.
Morse is presently on a hiatus from the band to care for his wife, Janine, who has cancer.
All eyes were on the McBride when Deep Purple kicked off their tour on Sunday, 22 May with a career-spanning set at the Menora Mivtachim Arena, in Tel Aviv. The Belfast-born guitarist did not disappoint.
Judging by the near hour-long highlights video posted by Deep Purple YouTube fan account DeepPurpletheBest, McBride played the entire set on his trusty semi-hollow PRS 408. As he recently told MusicRadar, the 408 is his electric guitar for all seasons.
“When I first got this designed, I had it in mind that I wanted a guitar that would do everything. I didn’t want to be bringing two, three guitars on the road, ‘cos I am not one of those guys who chops and changes guitars every song. I just needed something that is very, very versatile.”
Deep Purple’s Tel Aviv setlist hit was a doozy. Opening the with Highway Star, the band tore through a set of hits, with six from their 1971 magnum opus Machine Head, playing When A Blind Man Cries live for the first time since 2014.
Deep Purple’s European tour continues in Turkey on Wednesday 25 May, and arrives in the UK on 20 October, when the band are scheduled to play London’s O2 Arena. Tickets are still available. See Deep Purple for full dates.
McBride’s latest solo album, The Fighter, is out this Friday and is available to preorder.