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Asia 2002 reviews  

Where was Mitzi?

When I heard the news that Deep Purple would come to Thailand again on May 7, 2002 it made me think of a band that once disappointed me back in 1991, especially The Man In Black!!! Not only did Ritchie Blackmore hardly move on stage that night, but also their sound system was having bad problems.

I sat in the middle of the soccer field and I am sure that at least half of the audience barely heard their music and could not tell what Deep Purple song they were playing. Something must have gone wrong which made the sound from the speakers located next to the main mixer right in the middle of stadium switch off. Most of the time you could even forget the fact that Joe Lynn Turner could not sing old Deep Purple songs in the first place because nobody could hear anything.

Finally, the concert ended and many fans agreed that the idea of retirement once and for all was a good idea. That was then - this is now...

All I can remember is that I have been listening to Deep Purple music since the "In Rock album in 1970. After getting hooked on Child In Time, with Ian Gillan screaming to death, Deep Purple's been my favourite band. Of course, their first performance in Thailand was not a memorable one but after Steve Morse joined the forces Deep Purple came back alive and this time they were coming to Thailand for a vengeance.

Deeper Than Ever Concert - The Deepest Mood of Rock Music, The Greatest Live Show You'll Never Forget. This is what organizer, Singha and Traffic Corner, advertised. If I had missed this Deep Purple concert I wouldn't know when to see them again. I called my old friends in High School and reserved tickets on the first day. Actually, we all believe that we were old enough to forgive and forget something in the past. Hopefully we would enjoy listening to the band that once played the loudest hard rock music on this planet and just to think about it ... it is already a good idea.

We went inside and were surprised that there were not many people as Roger Waters concert which was played here at the same place three weeks earlier. Well... Thai people like to come in at the last minute and this is not our problem. Almost 10,000 people showed up and it is good enough to rock and roll. The concert was supposed to start at 8:00pm but nothing seemed to happen at all, not even a sign of music. In fact, I was told that some of Deep Purple gears just came into the arena at 5:00pm which was kind of late and they did a soundcheck after a short press conference at 6:00pm. There were a couple of boo's here and there all over Impact Arena in Bangkok when the clock reached 8:30pm.

At last, Deep Purple appeared at approximately 8:40pm and made the Thai audience turn around and jump right out of their seats to stand close to the stage when they blazed into the first song. Forget the delay! Ian Gillan, the real voice of Deep Purple, was looking at the audience with a smile on his face during the first song, Woman From Tokyo.

It looked pretty crowded upfront and below the stage it was packed with both males and females all in the middle age(up)!! The only thing in common for everybody was that everyone loved the music of Deep Purple and age really does not matter. They were all together claping and punching their fists in the air - a proof of having a good time. At this very moment, I was thinking whether Ian Gillan was looking for Miss Dupree (please ask Ian Gillan about her) or not. Maybe she might jump up and join Deep Purple to give us an extra show. Who knows?!?!?!?

Yes, the people who stood in the front were having a good time but people who sat in the front were not having a good time. All seats were numbered and people who reserved tickets early and paid highest price for their tickets did not get what they wanted. Nobody could see the stage when everybody was standing all over the place. As a matter of fact, I saw people complaining and returned back their tickets to the organizer which is not a good thing to see. From my point of view, it can be said that next time if organizer cannot control the audience to sit where they're supposed to then don't sell numbered seats.

Forget this silly little thing, when everybody gets up... you get up! Yeah...my... Woman From Tokyo... The crowd sang along together with Ian Gillan. Deep Purple's music made everybody go wild and they wasted no time. Ted The Mechanics followed and kept the heat going. Steve Morse was right away in the spotlight. Replacing Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple was not an easy thing to do but Steve Morse has done it well. Thai fans will never forget Ritchie Blackmore, but this time in front of their steaming eyes Steve Morse's guitars were really doing the talking.

Ian Gillan did a good job of singing the classics and new tunes. Roger Glover moved around naturally with his bass in conjunction with beat of the drums from Ian Paice...It sounded so perfect - who said Nobody's Perfect?

As soon as Don Airey started improvising a short keyboards solo for the opening of Lazy, it gave us a strong idea of how good this new guy is with Deep Purple. The Hammond organ never sounded better and it felt so right. Hey... can we have everything louder than everything else? By the fourth number, Deep Purple had won the Thai crowd completely. Especially my friend who first refused to come to the concert. He smiled at me and said: "If I am lazy and stay in bed then I will miss an incredible show!!" Amazingly, he jumped up and down doing air guitar and air drums just like old times!

The Aviator was the fifth tune that Deep Purple played to slow thing down. lan Gillan announced that Steve Morse used to be a pilot. I believed what Ian Gillan said because to become a good pilot you must have everything under control and Steve Morse is doing just that. Whether it was No One Came from 1971 or Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming from 1995, his guitar playing blended brilliantly into Deep Purple's music and gave the band a new direction - very refreshing and one you cannot refuse to listen. In other words, Steve Morse has a Well-Dressed Guitar-sound - and this new instrumental song speaks for itself.

Almost one hour had passed by but it seemed like 15 minutes only. The music started to turn up again from the loudspeakers hanging above and on both sides of the stage. The rest of the concert was just an excellent example of how good a performance rock bands should give. Many people were glad to hear Fools performed live and again were delighted to hear Don Airey's keyboards solo because he included a Thai song called...Ling Khin Gluey (to translate word by word it means... Monkey Eats Banana!! )...within his solo. He is now no stranger to the Thai audience anymore.

Four in a roll, beginning with Perfect Strangers, When A Blind Man Cries, riff raff/Smoke On The Water, and ending with a Bangkok ballad called Speed King! were tunes that Deep Purple played respectfully before Ian Gillan said the first good night.

The highlight that stunned each and everyone and gave Steve Morse a lot of credit was his riff raff before Smoke On The Water. Every song he chose to play was recognised immediately by the audience (yes, we are that old!), and you could hear the feedback he was getting by the noise of our clapping. It appears to me that he might wants to communicate somehow with the audience and puts to us the fact that Smoke On The Water is a song which is as classic like the other rock songs he played. In fact, the applause was loudest when he began to play SOTW. As far as I can remember, the songs that Steve Morse jammed with the rest of Deep Purple were as follows: Won't Get Fooled Again (The Who), Hold Your Head Up (Argent), Mississippi Queen (Mountain), Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd), Voodoo Chile (Jimi Hendrix), You Really Got Me (Kinks), Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin), Day Tripper (Beatles), etc.

In addition, we will never forget Roger Glover's bass solo and Ian Paice's drums solo plus a great duet between Steve Morse and Don Airey in a song called Speed King which was very impressive and, I have to say, fastinating indeed!

Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Steve Morse, and Don Airey came back on stage for a second time and did three songs as an encore: Hush, Black Night and Highway Star. No one could sit still. Everybody got up and enjoyed the final part of the greatest live show.

"Thank you... SUPERB... We love you... Bye bye..." That was the last sentence Ian Gillan said to the Thai audience onstage in Bangkok.

It is unbelieveable how they put on a superb show like this considering the age of each member. Happy 34th anniversary Deep Purple. Thank you for coming to Thailand again. It was absolutely a show I will never forget. Until next time...

For those who were there... I know you can feel it... Deeper Than Ever. For those who were not there... You missed the best concert of a life time!

Wanchai Udayachalerm

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