The "New" DEEP PURPLE feat. Rod Evans
Live at Bronte Creek Park, Oakville – July 19, 1980



Picture: John Bilbija/Wolfgang Siebert



Deep Purple - Live at "Great Canadian Picnic" Festival

Bronte Creek Park, Oakville, 19.07.1980

with Deep Purple, Long John Baldry, Savoy Brown, Sheriff,
The Powder Blues Band, Telemann, Frank Soda and The Imps



Stage manager Barry Wanless recalls the show:

"I was the stage manager for this concert but also knew the agents involved. Deep Purple had just broken up and Rod Evans figured he had a right to use the name. They played three dates in Ontario.

We were hit by a mini hurricane, mid afternoon. Savoy Brown's cymbals flying, the roof torn off and truss twisted like pretzels. A security guard in the parking lot was hit by lightning (he was o.k.) and all the water collecting on stage ran down to "dimmer city" and shorted everything out. Two hours later, we were up and running again.
Deep Purple were late coming on because of the delay. When people realized no Gillan, no Blackmore, they were a little upset. On a personal note, we had two dry ice machines under the stage for "Smoke On The Water". These were two 55 gallon drums full of very hot water and a basket with 30 lbs of dry ice suspended above it, all enclosed, with a dryer hose leading on stage, both sides. We were supposed to gently lower the baskets when we heard the first chords to allow the smoke to collect around their knees and be real groovy. However, no body told us about the slow feed and we dropped 60 lbs of dry ice into near boiling water and both drums exploded in our faces (no injuries). Total white out under the stage. You couldn't see your hand in front of your face. I made my way to the scaffolding at the side and climbed up to stage level and tried to wave the smoke on stage. I didn't have to. Within three minutes the whole stage was white out. All you could make out was a row of lights running across the top. The rest was just not there. It made for a good escape for the band. lol" (Barry Wanless, via e-mail, 2017)


Brian Jackson, who attended the event, remembers:

"July 1980 at Bronte Creek park. Just west of Toronto in the city of Oakville. Very hot and humid.
I was quite aware that it was Rod Evans only, but it was an all day event. Some local bands, Long John Baldry (solo), Kim Simmonds (Savoy Brown). Unfortunately Simmonds set was shut down after just a couple of smouldering songs due to a nasty thunderstorm. Then a lengthy delay to get the stage area dried.
I recall Rod & Co. being a capable band. The set list was heavy on the Mk II side of things. As for exact songs, well that was too long ago. The usual suspects as one can imagine. I don't recall the crowd getting unruly.
I do believe it was a weekend, as I was a university student with a summer job and could not afford a whole day off of work. It's hard to guess the size of the crowd as it was an out door event. I'll take a guess at 5-10 thousand.
Frank Soda was there. He is a local, hard rock, novelty act. At one point in his act he has a television set over his head and then blows it up. Really!
I do recall reading on the WWW that the Toronto show was just ahead of the Quebec show. I was disappointed, expectedly so. But the whole world was hungry for Deep Purple. I had never seen them, as they had not played Toronto since '71. I was eleven and had never heard of them. Patience until '84 was well worth it." (Brian Jackson, via e-mail, 2014)


Many thanks to Barry Wanless and Brian Jackson for their comments!