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The Highway Star

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UK reviews 2002 (rescheduled)

In love

set list;
Woman From Tokyo
Mary Long
Ted The Mechanic
Well Dressed Guitar
When A Blind Man Cries
Space Truckin'
Don Airey's solo
Perfect Strangers*
Speed King*
Smoke On The Water*

Black Night
Highway Star*

* featuring Jon Lord

The last time the Purple played Hammy O Mr Gillan's voice did a disapearing act so it was good to return and hear the voice screaming once again. Also tonight was the first night of Jon Lord's farewell. So many of us were left wondering if Lord would play the entire concert or just the encores or whatever, but as the show progressed our questions were answered.

Bang on 9.00pm the band rip into opener Fireball with a little teaser of Into The Fire tucked onto the end. Don Airey is behind the keyboards at this stage and remains so for the first half of the set. The set list is similar to the one last year but then Space Truckin' makes a welcome return. However the band decline to play new song Up The Wall which is a shame as I would've liked to here it a second time (maybe the bootleggers were waiting too).

When A blind Man Cries featured a nice delicate intro from Steve Morse - the new Purple are transforming this song into their own.

Don Airey had the chance to show us what he can do with an interesting solo which even featured some cockney knees up snippets, then with a touch of Paul Daniels magic and a flash of light, who is that at the helm playing the intro to Perfect Strangers? None other than the lord of the Hammond himself - Mr Jon Lord. This got one of the biggest cheers of the night and a simple but perfect introduction.

Jon Lord only played keyboards on two songs by himself staying for Speed King which once again featured an excellent solo from Paicey. Don and Jon played together on Smoke On The Water and were even shaking each other's hands halfway through, a great sight to be seen.

All six band members come out for encores of Hush, then it's Roger Glover's turn for the bass solo which breaks into Black Night for which Jon Lord sidesteps before returning for the mutha' Highway Star.

A great evening and a great farewell for Mr Lord and a good introduction for British fans to see Don Airey fitting in nicely.

I love this band.

Mark Taylor

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