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In the pubs beforehand there was a real buzz of anticipation for this show - more than I can ever remember. It was also quite clear that many had read the reviews both at The Highway Star and DPAS.
Deep Purple hit the stage at just after 8.30pm with a blistering version of Fireball. The set list was the same as previously reported. Ian's voice was superb all night, I had promised some friends that this concert would knock spots off of Brighton because of this and we were not dissapointed.
Early on Ian mentioned that this was the venue for the first performance of Highway Star, and later he spoke about the fond memories he has of Pompey, particularly when he brought his own band down and he couldn't sing so the crowd stood in for him!
I myself thought that the milkman (Dairey) delivered, I've never seen him before but he seems to be a ready replacement for Jon. Sure he is different and paws at the keyboards like a puppy walking on ice, but he is the business. I swear he smiles more than Steve. He played a particularly good solo in Lazy and IG made a point of thanking him.
As others have mentioned the sound is beefed up, unfortunately the local council seem to cap the volume too low for my likeing. The mix seemed good and I even picked up the congas now and then! At various stages in the show IG sang two or three Elvis snippets, including It's Now Or Never and Fever, the latter whilst sat at the congas.
Having said that about DA, Jon Lord was superb when he came on and showed that he will be missed. Speed King featured some great interchange between him and Steve. It was also good to see The Stinking Hippy get a solo spot during this and you could really feel the bass attacking the body.
The intro to Smoke was shortened and featured apparently Fields Of Gold(?) and Strawberry Fields. Hush, Black Night and Highway Star were the encores. I know that there has been criticism of the set list, but too be honest Highway Star was so awesome as a closing number that they could have spent the previous hour and three quarters playing the non greatest hits of Abba and you would have gone home happy.
What a night, if you haven't seen them yet and haven't got a ticket for what's left all I can say is - Suckers!
Unauthorized copying, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as
the real thing (with apologies to Ani)
(c) 2005, The Highway Star