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State Theatre, Detroit, MI, USA
February 25, 2004

Silver Tongue
Woman From Tokyo
I Got Your Number
Strange Kind of Woman
Knocking At Your Back Door (Ian: "It's illegal in some states")
Contact Lost
The Well Dressed Guitar
House of Pain
Don Airey solo (medley solo, some Bach, Star Wars, etc.)
Perfect Strangers
Highway Star
Maybe I’m A Leo
Pictures of Home
Never Before
When A Blind Man Cries
Space Truckin’
Smoke on the Water

Speed King (Sweet Dream Baby, It's All Over Now, Lucille, High School Hop)

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 terrific.
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 was terrific.
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 on Lazy.
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 fanatic!
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 them.
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 Deep Purple!
Paul Steinmayer

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!
Purple Male

Thin Lizzy:
Waiting for an Alibi
Don't Believe a Word
Emerald (Sykes: "This one of Phil's favorites")
Cold Sweat
Bad Reputation
Still In Love With You
The Cowboy Song
The Boys Are Back in Town

Donor Section

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