: John Labatt Centre
: London, Ontario
Where to start? I live near Toronto and had hoped to see DP at Massey Hall. But all the decent tickets were gone in no time at all, so I was left accepting I\’d not see my favourite band. I had wanted to take my entire family so the kids (three 14 year olds) could see what a great rock band was all about. But it seems that is not to be.
But as it happens I did have to drive my 14 year old daughter to London, Ontario for a three day hockey tournament. Its cold and a snow storm is coming in. And on the radio we heard DP was playing in town that night. So I call and get a pair of tickets – seventh row floor, centre aisle. I’m amazed at my luck and worried about attendance. What happens if DP plays to a half empty hall? They’re pros, but who wants to play to a half empty hall?
Well, I needn’t have worried. Despite the snow and cold, the place was reasonably full (around 1,200). There was a lot of grey hair in the audience, but also a fair number of younger adults. There were very few kids.
The opening act was “Monster Truck”, taking the stage at 7:30. They were fun and enthusiastic, and the guitarist was effusive about opening for DP. My daughter and I agreed that they were good, exceptionally tight and entertaining.
Around 8:30, DP took the stage, opening with Highway Star. And from the opening it was clear they were ON. Recent posts have suggested Gillan has struggled at times but tonight, despite wearing a walking cast on his right foot, he was in great form. (Though late in the show his voice did exhibit some strain.) And the other members of the band repeatedly hit their marks. Their playing was amazing.
I didn’t memorize the set list order (sorry), but I was really pleased to hear old chestnuts like “When A Blind Man Cries”, “No One Came” and “Never Before”. They also played the stuff you’d expect – The Mule, Strange Kind of Woman, Lazy, Hard Lovin’ Man, Perfect Strangers, Smoke, Space Truckin’, Hush, Woman From Tokyo, Black Night, and Rapture of the Night. Each of them also took a solo.
And as to my daughter. She was amazed. It was the first time she’d seen a band where everyone is an exceptional talent. No better way than a DP show to have a real music experience.
One odd moment. After the first few songs, Gillan mentioned they would be working on a new album. I must admit the body language exhibited stage right suggested a lack of keenness. Perhaps it was the lighting. Or the cold Canadian winter.
What a great evening, and even better I could share it with my daughter.