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Beacon Theatre, New York City, NY, USA
March 1, 2004

In a word.... Remarkable!
Objectively, I can't say perfect or ideal, because I truly think that the Perfect Strangers tour of 1985 - when Ian was still belting out Child in Time and Ritchie was dominating stage right - remains my best experience of the world's greatest band (I wasn't old enough to enjoy them in their 70's heyday). Nonetheless, an incredible 19 years later, Deep Purple can still blow any other band off of the stage, in terms of musical virtuosity, passion, and sheer rock power.
Fittingly (perhaps) the non-Mark II members, Steve Morse and Don Airey, were sequestered to the right of center stage. While their contributions range from admirable to brilliant, one can't help but wonder what might have been had Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord been there, instead.
It is truly amazing and inspiring that the band - whose average age is approaching 60! - continues to rock with more than enough firepower to make those of us quickly approaching 40 believe that life does not even begin until 50! These guys seemed like they can rock into their 70's!
At the ripe young age of 58, Gillan is a true inspiration! He's got a whole lot of screams and savvy, bluesy, inflections left in him. He wisely saves enough of his celebrated lung capacity until the appropriate crescendo, a true testament to his lifelong maturity as the guardian of the best set of vocal chords in the history of rock and roll.
Disappointingly, they didn't do House of Pain. They capped off an evening that should have never ended with Speed King and Hush.
But even more important than the set list was the fact that those of us in the audience who range from mid-thirties to early fifties ought to realize that: Given this incredible performance by our musical heroes, were are just babies, merely beginning our wonderful adventure of life.
What a truly incredible, uplifting inspiration!

Wow. It's the day after and my ears are still ringing... The band sounded better than ever! Strong vocals - Ian's throat has to hurt! Great playlist.
Randy McNeil

The move from row five to the upper balcony at the Beacon provided a totally different perspective on the show, from both a visual and musical standpoint. I was able to concentrate more on the music and not be in awe of being so close.
The sold out Beacon crowd was really into this show, old songs and new, and the band was thriving off it. Knocking At Your Back Door was the song the crowd really went nuts for and it was one of the most energized versions I have ever heard over the years.
I think the crazy crowd validates the point that at least here in the U.S, , we are tired of the split bill "shed" tours. I understand why they are done, but an argument can be made that at this point in the bands history it must be more fun to play to a full house of devoted fans who will appreciate both the old and the new instead of a sometimes half empty shed where a third of the people are there to see another band and time is restricted. I know everyone I spoke with from around the world at the two shows this weekend was in total agreement. The difference in energy from the crowd is just incredible.
More about Don Airey. He was really masterful once again, It was amazing to watch him pay homage to the original versions of the older songs, while totally amazing everyone on songs such as Bananas and with his solos. He played the Machine Head solos note for note in most cases, but it came across as coming from a total respect for the material and for the fact that the Machine Head portion of the show was an event in itself. Steve Morse mastered this approach years ago and I think it is very satisfying for the fans.
I especially enjoyed watching Ian Paice from higher up, where his whole kit was visible. I was really able to appreciate what he was doing (I'll skip the drum solo rant this time).
Thanks again to the band, and again shouts out to all the great fans whom it was so much fun to meet.
Eric Eisenstein

Any chance of including Space Truckin' and Never Before on a more regular basis?
As a history teacher, I enjoyed the film playing behind them and, if possible, would love to get a portion of it to use in my classroom.
Afterwards, I got to meet the guys at the stage door as they left the Beacon. They proved once again how friendly and nice they are. Meeting the group did cost me a train going home causing me to sleep at a friend's - but it was well worth it to meet the guys again.
James O'Brien

The two shows in NYC rocked, as expected. The set list was great, but we were a little dissapointed to not see it change at all from night to night. Personally, I'd also like to see _|_ and Abandon represented.
I hope they continue to play theater venues such as this one, rather than those ampitheaters they've been playing on their summer tours. Granted, last summer's tour afforded the opportunity to see Dio, which was excellent, but I can live without having to sit though the like of the Scorpions and ELP in the future.
One final thing I would be remiss in not mentioning is that we weren't happy to see that Ritchie had been removed from the album cover picture on the Machine Head t-shirt sold at the show. Ritchie was a huge part of the band's history and a key contributor to the greatness of this album. If they don't want to acknowledge this, perhaps they shouldn't have made the shirt to begin with. Obviously there are hard feelings existing between them and him, and surely they feel that he's been petty about things in the past, but it was disappointing to not see them be the bigger people here.
Anyway, both shows were excellent and it was an absolute treat to see one of the greatest bands in the world ply its trade on successive nights.
Pat Messina

We had a great view and the acoustics were crisp, with nice transparent highs and gut wrenching body frapping lows.
Besides the fact I've waited years to listen to the lesser known material off of Machine Head and it was intense. Pictures of Home, Never Before and Maybe I'm a Leo...
Ian Gillan was in great form and had us laughing between songs - and yes, he can scream!
Don Airey had the audience mesmerized, kicking in some great classical licks and a little snippet of New York, New York.
The band came out for a few encores and Hush really brought back some memories and reminded me how long this band and its music has been in my life.
They were shaking hands and flicking guitar picks, drum sticks and other souvenirs into the audience.
As we all poured out into the street after the show I heard a fan say to a friend that he couldn't wait till the band came around again and frankly, I can't wait either. Deep Purple - yes, we've all gone Bananas.
Jim Hoffman, Astoria NY


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