Deep Purple musician makes surprise appearance on Sunderland pub stage

Don Airey, on keyboards, with George Shovlin and the Radars at the Harbour View
Don Airey, on keyboards, with George Shovlin and the Radars at the Harbour View
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A musician with one of Britain’s biggest rock bands raised the roof at a Roker pub when he made a surprise appearance.

Don Airey, keyboardist from Deep Purple, whose hits include the legendary Smoke on the Water, joined regular musicians at the Harbour View Speakeasy for a rip-roaring performance.

The musician, who’s performed with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest and Whitesnake, was invited along by Sunderland blues singer George Shovlin who co-hosts the weekly speakeasy.

George, who performed with Don, alongside fellow members from George Shovlin & the Radars, George Lamb and Stu Burlinson, said it proved to be a memorable night of musicianship.

“Don was born in Sunderland and is a mad keen Sunderland supporter,” said George. “He was up for the match and I bumped into him the night before the speakeasy and asked him to come along.

“We had a keyboard ready just in case and he ended up popping in. He was absolutely fantastic and is an unbelievable musician. He’s played with some of the biggest names in the business, but is really unassuming. It was a fabulous experience for the band and for the audience, who pack the pub every week. Everyone came away saying what a great guy he was.”

As well as national acts, the weekly Harbour View Speakeasy attracts a high calibre of North East live acts. Upcoming performers include local act Sheona McQue tomorrow and Bristol blues act Husky Tones.

•The Speakeasy takes place every Thursday. Live music takes place from 8.30pm and entry is free.