[ d e e p P u r . p l e )

The Highway Star

Deep Purple - São Paulo, Brazil... March 18, 19, 20, 1997
[ d e e p P u r . p l e ) The Highway Star

São Paulo, Brazil.....March 18, 19, 20, 1997

My wife and I flew down to São Paulo, Brazil from Chicago, Illinois on March 16 to see the 3 sold out shows at the Olympia Theater. I will try and detail some of the highlights from our trip.

We left Miami at 11:05 in the morning and arrived into São Paulo at 9:40 that evening. A long flight, but with only a 2 hour time change from Miami, no jet lag to speak of. We knew the band would arrive at the hotel on Monday at 4:00 pm so we took off exploring this enormous city. When we left the hotel at 9:00 am there were at least 20 fans already hovering around awaiting their arrival, by 4:00 pm there were at least 60.

Upon the bands arrival into the hotel, Ian Gillan immediately went up to his room, as he looked like death warmed over from the terrible case of the flue he had. While Ian slept, most of the other bandmates were gracious enough to sign autographs, mug for photos and leisurely check into their rooms. Being that it was St. Patrick's Day, Ian Paice, Bruce Payne (DP's manager), Colin Hart (DP tour manager), Rick Taylor (DP accountant), my wife and I took off to Finnegan's Pub for some green beer. After that, we seemed to walk forever in search of a place to eat. After dropping aprox. $375.00 into the local economy, we headed back to the hotel for a few more cold ones and a visit with Jon Lord in the Bar. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting Jon, a pity. He is truly a wonderful gentleman. Immediately upon seeing my wife, he stands, extends his hand and offers her congratulations/best wishes on our recent marriage. What a guy! We sat and talked with him till closing. (2:30)

On Tuesday morning I was off to the São Paulo Country Club for a round of golf with Bruce and Rick. Really a beautiful course and club.

On the evening of the first show, the electricity around the hotel was quite evident. There were at least 100 fans milling about in search of autographs and photo ops. We rode to the show with Colin Hart in one of the 4 vans the band had access to.
Once we got to the venue, it was quite a sight. The fans were pumped and ready, and very loud. VERY LOUD!!! Later to find out that they got much louder! Once backstage, Big Ian come in and mentioned that he was feeling better, but he was barely audible. You could tell he was still under the whether, but...when the show began...he was the Ian of old!! He couldn't speak between songs very well, but his singing was great.

Now, about these Brazilian fans! They were awesome. From the first note of Hush, till the closing notes of Highway Star....these folks were non stop. I watched most of the show from the balcony where Pat (lighting man) was set up. All 5000 fans below looked like they were on Pogo Sticks jumping up and down throughout each and every song. What energy!!! I was tired from just watching them!!!!

The shows were pretty similar to the shows in the USA. Jon's solo after SOTW was especially good during the first show, as was several of Steve's solos throughout the evening. Each evening steve's intro to SOTW was different, he took riffs from many different classics (Sweet Home Alabama, Led Zep Songs, AC/DC,etc..) and made a melody of them until he blasted into Smoke on the Water.

On the second evening, MWFT was the best I had ever heard it. Also good that evening was Speed King and WABMC. During Perfect Strangers, Ian Gillan wanted some Brazilian dancers to come out and do some dance (karate style) - nice effort, just didn't seem to fit in, and definately distracting from the great song. (I'll blame the fever) After show 2, we ate dinner with Steve Morse who informed me he will be visiting Chicago on May 2, with the SM Band.

On Thursday, it was back to the golf course with Bruce, Rick and Charlie (crew manager) and my wife Shannon (she was by the pool) for another round of golf ---Deep Purple Invitational, which was won by Charlie with a 90, followed by yours truly w/93, than Bruce 99, and Rick 109--??? (Rick had a very inventive scoring system)

For the last show, I traveled to the show with Roger Glover and Sara, a reporter who did several interviews with Roger over the course of three days. She was really a doll. Got to know her rather well over the course of time and enjoyed talking to her. For the final show, somehow, i think they fit in an extra 1000 people, it was way too crowded, and hot as hell. This by far was the loudest I ever heard fans at a concert. The show was great from start to finish, and MTV was there to film parts of the concert and also record the audio for another reason?? Really a lot of energy in this show from fans and band alike. Towards the end of the show, we had pre-arranged to head back to the hotel in the first van back whick was literally 10 seconds after the final notes of Highway Star. We headed back to the hotel with an exhausted Jon Lord who wanted to avoid the backstage mayhem. We traveled the 20 minutes to the hotel in about 10, but when we arrived there were 40-50 fans already there to hound the band. I snuck Jon in a side door and into a waiting elevator and he was off. During the ride, Jon had mentioned he did a 1 1/2 interview with Keyboard Magazine (Brazilian Edition) which will be out next month with Jon featured on the cover. He said the reporter did an excellent job with the line of questioning and he extended the interview from the planned 30 minutes to the 1 1/2 hours!

As you can tell, I had a great visit to a great country. Brazil, I will return! After spending 25 years in Panama, your country reminded me a lot about Panama. I met a lot of very nice people in São Paulo who went out of their way to make me feel welcome, and for that, I thank you.

Also, a very special thank you to Colin Hart for arranging a lot of this trip for Shannon and I. Your hospitality was truly appreciated! We will return the favor one day---somehow!

Carlton & Shannon Morris

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