North America reviews
State Theatre, Detroit, MI, USA
February 25, 2004
Woman From Tokyo
I Got Your Number
Strange Kind of Woman
Knocking At Your Back Door (Ian: "It's illegal in some states")
The Well Dressed Guitar
House of Pain
Don Airey solo (medley solo, some Bach, Star Wars, etc.)
Maybe Im A Leo
Pictures of Home
When A Blind Man Cries
Smoke on the Water
Speed King (Sweet Dream Baby, It's All Over Now, Lucille, High
Even though I've been a long-time Deep Purple fan, I have often
looked at the tour reviews on The Highway Star and thought many of the star-strucks
fans were guilty of unadulterated gushing. Well, I was wrong.
The show I just back from at the State Theatre in downtown Detroit, Michigan,
was one for the ages. Many of the fans were deeply moved during Ian Gillan's
magnificent vocalization of When A Blind Man Cries, accompanied by the Machine
Head-era slide-screen projection.
The setting was superb: a 1925-built theatre that holds 2,800. Most of the seats
are at the mezzanine and balcony levels. It's next door to the Fox Theatre,
and across the street from Comerica Park (home of the Detroit Tigers) and Ford
Field (Detroit Lions).
Thin Lizzy came out with a solid opening set. And the sound and accoustics
were outstanding; those who criticized the sound as being too loud or distorted
at previous concerts should note that it may have simply been poor accoustics
in the particular place they were in, and not the fault of the sound engineer.
Because the sound was scintillating in Motown.
John Sykes (nee Whitesnake, Blue Murder) sounded a lot like the late Philip
Lynott on vocals, and split the lead-guitar duties with Scott Gorham. Gorham,
of course, was the primary lead guitarist for Lizzy in the '70's. They were
Sykes referred to drummer Michael Lee as "happening to be one of the greatest
drummers on the planet. You may have seen him play before with Page and Plant."
For my money, the best young drummer in the world is Zach Starkey, who did Keith
Moon's memory proud two years ago with The Who tour.
One of the most rocking-out songs Lizzy did was Cold Sweat, which Sykes said
he had co-written with Lynott (much to my surprise). So, Lizzy took an axe and
However, Deep Purple turned in an even more brilliant set, and this is
no fan-gushing. Everyone around me was saying how blown away they were by the
Purple People. Glover only came over to Morse's side of the stage once, but
was mugging for the crowd and having a great time. Airey smiled from time to
time, but was pretty much into his playing. Paice was Paice. Gillan's voice
was so-so at first, and then got stronger and stronger to the point where he
did a higher-pitched and better version of Speed King than on the In Rock album.
Folks, I'm not making this up.
The crowd went ape over the Bananas set, but were jumping up and down like jumping
beans on a hot stove during Machine Head.
Gillan kept cracking jokes about his first wife [She couldn't have been backstage
then! Rasmus], and constantly mugging for the crowd and shaking hands. I
was in the third row from the front, stage left, and this one guy behind me
had some Purple-autographed album with flashing lights (a real collector's Perfect
Strangers) and came right up to Gillan and was shoving it at him during Woman
from Tokyo. The stage was only four feet high.The guy was an idiot. Ian finally
took it from him and set it on an amplifier. Gillan gave it back to him at the
end of the show.
Amazingly, there was no security at all between the stage and Gillan, and I
got the feeling that Gillan wanted it that way, and perhaps even ordered it
that way. I was at Pine Knob in '98 when he wacked a bouncer repeatedly on the
skull with his microphone because the bouncer was bad-assing a fan around. Gillan
also was showing some hand movements during a couple songs that resembled some
Southern Chinese kung-fu maneuvers, which (seriously) makes me wonder if he's
been studying the martial arts. (I have for 12 years).
Anyway, at the end of the show, all the Purps came up to the edge of the stage
were shaking hands. I handed Ian my business card. He's just so friendly, and
down-to-earth. And that can be said for everyone in the band.
This show will be talked about for years to come, I'm sure. What made this show
special was the energy of the crowd and the band. It was more electric than
any of the ten or so Purple shows I've seen over the years.
If anyone thinks Ian Paice can't keep pace like he did 25 years ago, I'm here
to tell you this man's hands moved at the speed of light on the Pictures of
Home drum solo. Morse did a dynamic slow-motion ending to the guitar solo on
Smoke, one that Ritchie Blackmore would've appreciated. Likewise, Airey held
up the Jon Lord mantle magnificently with the piano lead into the organ intro
Jim Gemmell, Michigan
I've been a fan of Deep Purple since the mid seventies. When
I first heard Made in Europe blazing from a buddy's speakers, I was an instant
Thin Lizzy went on promptly at 7:30 , beginning with "Jail Break".
As had been reported in previous reviews, their sound mix was horrible. Micheal
Lee's drum were far too loud for the size of the State Theater (about 2500 seats)
and his kick drums were so loud, you couldn't hear any other drums when he used
John Sykes was OK on the vocals, but he obviously was upset that no one was
really into the performance. It might have been because we couldn't hear the
guitars with the drums so incredibly blaring.
They played for 45 minutes, and then gave our ears a break!
Deep Purple took the stage at 8:45, and it was much much better as far
as the sound goes. The mix was perfect for the size of the place and the different
instruments were correctly balanced among each other.
The show was incredible! From the first notes of Silver Tongue to the last pound
of the drums on Hush, it was sheer bliss to witness the greatest band ever.
A minor screwup (which I believe was intentional for the sake of the entertainment
value) occured at the start of Bananas. Ian Paice missed a cue and had the timing
all wrong, and they had to fumble through a few bars of screwing around until
he got it. Had Ian Gillan not cracked a joke before the tune, about the odd
time signature, I would have been bummed for Paicy.
There was a problem with Don's equipment after Bananas also, and a tech was
behind him through most of Knocking At Your Back Door, trying to repair it.
Ian Gillan suffered no problems at all with his voice. He was obviously happy
to be there. He joked (as he usually does) with references to his first wife
for songs like I Got Your Number and Strange Kind Of Woman. He even mentioned
his getting arrested after the 1998 show for bonking a guy on the head with
the mic (while bonking himself in the same manner). This was the best his singing
has sounded in the last three shows I have seen.
Steve Morse needs no praise. He was, as he has consistantly been, the perfect
guitarist for Deep Purple! He never ceases to amaze me with his skill, cunning,
and ability to make it fun! It makes for a much better performance when the
musicians want to be there.
Don Airey has really come into his own in Deep Purple. He was great, and it
helped us to move past Jon Lord's departure. His keyboard solo was fantastic,
and he had fun doing it. You could tell by the smile on his face! I especially
like the facial expressions during his keyboard solo (hilarious).
All in all, this show was the best I have seen yet out of Deep Purple. The new
CD is great, and shows the promise of many more years of great music to come.
If you miss the show this time around, you really have missed the quintessential
Sadly, much of the crowd seemed to enjoy the old songs better
than the Bananas songs, but, in my humble opinion, the new material is just
as strong as the old!
My only request, probably the same as any long time Purple fan, is that the
band include some songs from Purpendicular, and maybe one or two from Abandon.
Two great albums that seem to have been lost in the shuffle.
That said, the band sounded great, very tight, Don Airey seems to be fitting
in like a glove. I hope we will not have to wait five years for the next album.
Also, thanks to Glover, Gillan, Morse and Airey for the after show chat and
autographs. Where was Ian Paice? Oh well, four out of five is not bad!
Waiting for an Alibi
Don't Believe a Word
Emerald (Sykes: "This one of Phil's favorites")
Still In Love With You
The Cowboy Song
The Boys Are Back in Town