At 9.30 the great man took to the stage, and after a quick tune up he launched into a thrilling version of Rainbows' Stone Cold followed by a brilliantly recieved Street Of Dreams. Devil horns were raised when Joe Lynn paid tribute to former Rainbow frontman Ronnie James Dio with a moving version of Catch The Rainbow, a memorable moment in the evening.
It wasn't just Purple and Rainbow classics that received the bare bones treatment, Turner belted out Beatles classics Blackbird and , aslo a jazzy version of Van Morrison's Moondance to a decent reception. But you could sense this crowd wanted their own classics, the stuff this man regularly performs majestically. And they got their wish as the Purple classic Hush followed by an unrecognisable, but brilliant, version of Smoke On The Water brought the house down.
But the biggest surprise of the evening was the absence of I Surrender from the set, one of the most recognisable songs in rock history and the one most synonymous with Turner. Which would of being a perfect way to close out a fantastic evening. Instead we got a robust rendition of ZZ Top's Tush which had many a plastic pint glass rattling. A clearly happy and contented Turner exited the stage to a fantastic reception from the real fans, who hung on his every word throughout the night. Unfortunetly I couldn't say that for 70% of the Belfast audience.
In between songs, Turner was sharing intimate stories about his time with Rainbow and Deep Purple, and also about a possible reunion with Ritchie Blackmore. But the majority of this crowd were just plain pig ignorant who choose to ignore him, and instead gave their fog horn gobs an unwelcome workout. I got talking to a couple from Manchester who travelled over especially to witness their hero up close and personal, but were left disgusted by the obnoxious behaviour. Those who cared behaved impeccably and saw a true rock great showing his undying talents in it's barest form. Next time Joe head south, you will have our full attention.