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Asia 2002 reviews  

My first rock concert - MAGIC!

It was the 9th of May 2002 and my first ever rock concert! I came with my uncle and his old pal. The show was scheduled to start at 8pm and we were there at 7:30 or so. It was already dark and a little crowded so we picked a spot about 35 metres from the stage, which was somewhere in the middle of the gently sloping grass field. There was a slight drizzle and thank God, the rain clouds blew away from the field. When we got there there were song songs from other bands (Smashing Pumpkins and Santana) being broadcasted and it was very comical when a couple of guys started dancing! Should've seen it. For jest, my uncle said:" OK, time for the marijuana joints!" I laughed at that! At about 8:35pm, the band hit the stage and all of us stood up screaming with power in the air!

The first song was Woman From Tokyo if I'm not wrong, but the adrenaline that flowed through my veins was undeniable. After that song, Ian Gillan spoke to the crowd introducing the next song: Ted The Mechanic. After the song Ian was saying: "Who's Ted The Mechanic?" and the crowd responded by saying:" I am!" and raising their hands. After that was Mary Long. We laughed at Ian Gillan's introduction of the song. Steve Morse played brilliantly and later I’ll give a member-by-member review.

After Mary Long, Don Airey began his keyboard solo and it started out like some kind of orchestra and then built up into the Hammond and then another song, Lazy. I liked the keyboard solo!

A few more songs down the line, the band introduced a new song: The Well Dressed Guitar. "So I wanna hear what you think about it and maybe we’ll put it on the nxext album," said Ian Gillan. The song then lauched off into some kind of symphonic rock display of sheer musicianship. Steve’s fingers were all over every inch of the fretboard! As a fan of symphonic/progressive power metal (prevalent in Europe) and classical music, this song rocked me and I definitely hope it is on the new album. Two thumbs up for Steve Morse and Don Airey!!!

After that totally instrumental number, Ian asked:" Should we put it on the next album?" and all of us said "Yes!" and Ian replied:" OK, we’ll think about it," which made us all laugh (again). The highlight for me was the riffs of other bands which were played before Smoke On The Water. The first riff was Back In Black by AC/DC I think. Then Steve waved his hand up and down then played a short lead, and this was followed by the riff on the intro of Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses! They played a few more riffs (I remember one by Dire Straits I think) and then a the solo from Stairway To Heaven by Led Zeppelin! I expected a Diamond Head riff or Black Sabbath's Iron Man riff but heck, I guess that is too unfamiliar. Then Steve waved his hands up and down once more, then he played another lead. After this lead, the band played the most recognizable riff in rock and roll history: Smoke On The Water!!!

The crowd was deafening when that song soared to the heavens! We sang along with Ian Gillan and I think it made him rather happy as he told us how a rock concert was a "two-way affair" and encouraged us. Anyway, I am a metalhead I admit and although I seldom headbang, I did the most obvious headbanging of my life during that song!

After that I think Ian Paice and Roger Glover played a drum/bass solo and after a while Roger Glover left Ian Paice alone to play a drum solo. It was a very good solo if you ask me. Although not the best solo I have heard, it was not boring at all, like how many feel about drum solos. After the drum solo, the rest of the band came back on stage and played Speed King if I'm not wrong. Again the crowd sang along on the chorus and I was caught up in the rapturous feeling. Heavenly!

After that, the band departed from the stage and everyone started chanting: "We want more!" and after only about a minute or less, the band reappeared to a chorus of cheers. Ian then praised the crowd again for their wonderful spirit. The band continued to play Hush, Black Night and Highway Star, my personal favourite (which some of us demanded earlier in the night).

All the encores were played with precision and we sang along as usual. Personally, if they had not played Highway Star, I think Deep Purple ought to spend a night in prison! Ha-ha, just kidding! After the first encore, all of us filed out to my dismay. I had an exam the next morning and only one encore?!?! Ha-ha… no. The entire night was worth failing that exam for! Anyway, I made up for it by studying earlier in the week… And the paper was all right.

Due to my ecstasy, the concert was a little blurry… But at least I’ve learned from my mistakes! The concert was pretty good and the only thing bad was the fans smoking and I was quite angry at this. But there were many people especially those nearer to the front who held aloft lighters and punched their fists to the air. Some people were dancing and jumping up and down and since it was open air, I almost couldn't see, but thanks to my vertical superiority to some other members of the audience (ha-ha!), I could see well enough. I even saw some ladies sitting on their husbands' shoulders and some guy was brandishing a Union Jack.

My uncle said the best songs were When A Blind Man Cries and Hush, but I have my favourites. The songs I especially liked were The Well Dressed Guitar, Smoke On The Water (together with the riffs of other bands) and of course, Highway Star. I felt my heart racing at the speed of light on these songs! The Well Dressed Guitar was a little different from the rest of the songs, and I have said I like symphonic metal and classical music, and I think Deep Purple is the band that started this whole symphonic rock thing, and I was so blessed that they decided to play this song!

Now it’s time for the member-by-member review:

Ian Gillan: The prodigious front man won my respect that night. He’s at least 3.5 times my age but he still gave his all and won a lot of favour from the fans in return. I mean, he’s still giving his all for the fans even after so many years! He was roaming on the stage like a true front man. Although he was not singing as high as on the albums, he did a great job. My only complaint is that during the "I love her! I need her!" part on Highway Star, I could only hear squeaks, but only once or twice when those parts were played if my memory serves me right. I remember Roger and Steve headbanging ebulliently, which greatly thrilled me!

Ian Paice: The man on the drums was perfect that night! I could not discern any mistakes so I’ll assume there were none. He rocked us like a hurricane and I was definitely blown away! The drum solo was excellent and he seemed to be in top form. The crowd really enjoyed it when he feigned boredom and simplicity when he leaned back and played the drum solo. After the concert he threw the sticks to the crowd, much to their delight!

Don Airey: The keyboards, too, were excellent. His playing was white-hot! I loved his keyboard orchestra solo.

Roger Glover: Stupendous! He kept throwing picks (I think) to the crowd and his playing was marvelous. He was responsible for the powerful sound which rocked (physically) the place to the ground! His highlight was probably when he held the bass perpendicular to his neck and slapped the bass strings which caused the audience to roar in approval.

Steve Morse: Words cannot describe his preeminent and extraordinary playing on the guitar! If there was one man to be deemed responsible for the thumping success of the show, it would have to be Steve’s. I say that without a shadow of a doubt. The sound he produced was solid and magnificent indeed. He threw solos throughout the concert like it was a breeze! And all the solos added to the music; they were not merely for showing off. I was in heaven! Bravo!

Written by: Luke Chen

Woman From Tokyo
Ted The Mechanic
Mary Long
Lazy (orchestral keyboard solo before this song)
The Aviator
No One Came
Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
The Well-Dressed Guitar
Perfect Strangers
When A Blind Man Cries
Smoke On The Water (with riffs from other bands)
Speed King

Black Night
Highway Star

P.S.: My uncle said that about 5 years ago, Deep Purple came to Singapore and sadly, Ritchie Blackmore did not appear on stage due to him being pissed off at something... So he said that concert was not so good. [That would have been July 3, 1991 - Rasmus]

Luke Chen

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