Asia 2002 reviews
Indonesia: National DP Day
This is the first DP concert in Jakarta since 1975, i.e. in 27 years. Obviously not all the old fans from back then are still around, and the band have gained other, new fans in the meantime, but the Indonesian DP fans have been eagerly awaiting for their return to Jakarta for all these years, and even I, a foreign visitor, can feel the anticipation strongly in the air.
As soon as the band arrives in the city on the morning of the 29th, the day before the show, they give a big press conference. As the members walk into the room, they are welcomed with an overwhelming storm of endless flash lights. Despite an occasional nonplus caused by questions such as Where is Jon Lord? Where is Ritchie Blackmore?, the press conference runs pretty smoothly.
The afternoon is spent recovering from the long flights and jetlags, and in the evening the band meets the local promoters over a dinner at a cafe-cum-music-venue on the outskirts of the town. They return to the hotel around 10pm, going straight back to their rooms to get some rest and recharge their batteries for tomorrow's concert.
On the day of the show, Airey is at the venue before anyone else, at 4pm - there had been problems with the keyboard, which had now returned from repair. Don needed to re-programme it - rather hard work - but he soldiered on, with headphones to check the sound, and was finished about an hour and a half. Paicey and Glover turn up around 5:30pm, followed by Morse a little later.
Just listening to them tuning up and playing small bits from the setlist gives me goose pimples. Paicey is there with a video camera and starts filming Airey close-up - who answers with a fervent play. For a while, Paicey just listens to Airey/Morse/Glover playing, while clapping the rhythm with his hands. Then Gillan appears. "Are you still having problems with the keyboard?" he asks, concerned, but it seems to be OK now, so the group go through the soundcheck/rehearsal. Morse plays his guitar, paying attention to the feedback which seems to concern him. Airey looks as if he's having pure fun. Gillan walks to the left and right of the stage and around the other members, checking the sound carefully. Glover and Paicey seem relaxed (as usual?). After an hour-long rehearsal, Airey remains onstage alone for a long time, checking the keyboard as well as going through his parts.
I venture outside the venue at this point. The merchandise stand is nearly all set up. Near the entrance around 20 young, good-looking ladies dressed in tight, red suits are waiting. They will be handing out specially made DP bags of goodies, with cigarettes/lighters (from the sponsors), DP stickers, DP postcards, and so on, to people coming in. The doors open punctually at 7:30pm, as announced, though the start of the show is delayed by half an hour and the group come onstage at 8:30pm. I hope the setlist below is correct. For the first DP concert after 27 years, most fans seemed to want to hear the old classics once more rather than new material, so I felt this selection was very appropriate for the occasion.
1. Woman From Tokyo
14. Black Night
As guitar, bass and keyboard join Paicey's drum intro to Woman From Tokyo, loud cheering erupts from the audience, who start singing the melody along. When Gillan walks onstage, the entire venue explodes with huge energy. Gillan comments, "Are you sure you're OK being so wild from the first number? We have over two hours to go, you know..." But the fan's energy and enthusiasm level does not drop once, from the beginning to the end of the show. Quite the contrary, its power increases as the show progresses, and the show concludes in a total combustion during the long-awaited Highway Star. The most amazing thing is that everyone knows the lyrics by heart and sings along in one big chorus. This is what convinced me of just how eagerly the fans here have been waiting for DP to return to their town.
Here are my impressions of impressions of each of the band members onstage, instead of a comprehensive review of the set.
Ian Gillan: Barefoot again tonight. Thanks the audience - "You're fantastic!" - repeatedly after the first number. His voice is in very good condition, and he is in full control of it. Watching him, the name "Mr. Deep Purple" came into my mind: Deep Purple is Deep Purple when Ian Gillan sings in it.
Steve Morse: Beautiful solo during When A Blind Man Cries. His guitar parade went down very well too.
Roger Glover: His sophisticated performance is riveting, just seeing his genial, calm and confident presence is so assuring and is important in setting of the mood of the evening. And of course his playing - especially the longer bass solo - was brilliant.
Ian Paice: Although his drum solo was dynamite, what's even more noteworthy, I feel, is the fact that he manages to keep up a very tight, great drumming in his own very characteristic style, so that you can listen to the drums and recognise it's Paicey. There cannot be many drummers like that. I came to rediscover tonight what a great player he is.
Don Airey: His solo formed the biggest highlight of the evening. Among "A La Turca" and other usual quotes, he played the Indonesian national anthem - and what an arrangement. The audience seemed to be in total awe.
When the show is over, some fans stay inside the arena, chatting amongst themselves, others prepare to go home. I make my way over to the merchandising stand to buy some t-shirts but am told they are all sold out! What a shame. I collect a few special DP bags that other fans have left behind empty. These will have to do as souvenirs of this concert. I look around and find that Don, who has already changed into his off-stage garb, has come back to the stage and is chatting to some old friends he hasn't seen for a long time. Other fans spot him too, dash over to him to shake hands with him.
Later, at the after-show party, Don, Steve and Roger are seen chatting to their friends, drinks in hands, all looking happy. Outside, many fans are still there as the DP tour bus leaves the venue just past midnight.
It was almost a national event - and this was doubly confirmed the next day, as I found that every newspaper had DP as the headline, with a photo. Many thanks to the members and the crew, as well as everyone else who worked on making this show happen.
Translated by Akiko Hada
Unauthorized copying, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as
the real thing (with apologies to Ani)
(c) 2005, The Highway Star