A reference point
This was as near to the perfect gig as you're going to get. It wasn't the best one of the tour - nothing will match the crackling energy and the atmosphere of Newcastle. But it was very good indeed.
The NEC is a barn, and even at the centre front row you're not exactly close to the band, so unless things go very well indeed you've got potential for a 'going through the motions' performance. Two things prevented this. Firstly, the sound was absolutely awesome. Thunderously loud, clear in every detail. Secondly, Ian Gillan. He's excellent every night, but tonight he worked the stage, the band, the crowd, and his voice with a mastery that was breathtaking to witness.
Playing was pretty much flawless. Definitive versions of most songs: this doesn't mean the most inventive, or most exciting version you've ever heard, but that isn't a negative. (That said, I think I have witnessed THE definitive Speed King this evening). What I mean is, what we heard tonight was a reference point. If this show was released as the next live album we'd be happy with it in the same way as we've treated Total Abandon for the last couple of years, and LATO before that.
I will never cease to be in awe of this band. 3 nights to go...
As to the rumoured filming of this show, Ian writes:
It looked like the NEC was set for the full video treatment. One camera mounted on a trolley running on rails across the entire width of the stage. 2nd and 3rd hand held cameras either side of stage.
Gig started, cameras started rolling. First time the trolley cam started to move across the front, IG waved it away. During the instrumental break in Fireball he bent down and spoke to the operators. Before Mary Long was a third of the way through, it had been demounted and taken away.
Meantime, the hand held guys are coming onto the sides of the stage to get close ups. Both are waved away, and IG then speaks to both in turn - the obvious message is "keep right off the stage". They try shooting from the wings through gaps in the equipment for a couple of nos, then give it up and walk off.
I don't know whether the intention was for a full filmed set, or just a promo thing from the first few nos. Either way, someone went to a shedload of trouble to set this gear up, for very little end result. Looking on the bright side, at least they stayed dry!
If it's not the one, it's the other... Ah well. Rasmus
Unauthorized copying, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as
the real thing (with apologies to Ani)
(c) 2005, The Highway Star