‘I know who’s doing that’: Deep Purple’s Don Airey felt a familiar presence during tribute to Jon Lord, Gary Moore

Don Airey takes fans into the emotional sessions for “Adagio,” a song from All Keyed Up where the keyboardist pays tribute to both Jon Lord, whom he replaced in Deep Purple, as well as former bandmate Gary Moore.

Airey has been with Deep Purple since 2002. Over the years, he has also collaborated with Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Rainbow. (In fact, Graham Bonnet, who guests on All Keyed Up, joined Airey and Deep Purple cohort Roger Glover for Rainbow’s Down to Earth in 1979.) Airey’s association with Moore includes the 1978 smash Back on the Streets, as well as the mid-1970s band Colosseum II.

He says he felt Moore’s presence all over again, as work on “Adagio” was completed. “It was very difficult to mix,” Airey tells Mulatschag, “but we did it very quickly. It was very strange. The day we mixed it, there was the most amazing sunset at the studio window that anybody had ever seen. And I said: ‘I know who’s doing that.’ I think it means he likes it.”

Airey says he was called to fill in for Lord just days before a Deep Purple performance. In fact, there wasn’t even time for a rehearsal, after the keyboardist’s plane was unexpectedly delayed. He was told, initially, that he would only be needed for a few shows, presumably because Lord was expected back. That was well over a decade ago.

In the meantime, All Keyed Up was released by Music Theories; it follows Airey’s participation in Deep Purple’s huge hit album Now What?! Lord died in 2012; Moore passed in 2011.

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