My first DP experience was here in Melbourne in 1971. I was then an avid fan and I couldn't wait to see them. They played at the Festival Hall with two other bands, Free and Manfred Mann's Earth Band. To my mind, they were upstaged by the other bands. Boy, how things change!
The band now shows their maturity and experience. In '71 they were a bit disjointed and didn't have much stage presence. Thirty years down the track and they have developed into one of the most professional bands I've seen.
Last night they performed to a level not often seen these days. Each member of the band contributed in their own style. The underlying tone of the members was enjoyment. They seemed to really like what they were doing, where they were doing it, and why they were doing it. Steve Morse would surely have sore cheeks this morning as he smiled consistently through out the performance. Blackmore never had this attribute and for this reason, his no longer being in the band is probably justified.
Musically, one will probably not hear much better. Each member is a craftsman and they displayed their craft perfectly. Short, sharp solos were done with ease to showcase the musical talents of each member. The interaction between guitar and voice was memorable as was the exceptional drum solo. Jon Lord's keywork is always present with a type of bonding role that melds each instrument for tight, organised renditions of their songs and music.
I took my two sons, aged 15 and 14, to the show. They saw an advertisement on TV for the show and they commented on the age of the members. Until now they have had little if not no exposure to Deep Purple. Both are learning music, drums and guitar, and this was a good chance for them to see musicians who have survived in the business for more than 30 years and know what they are doing. When asked after the show what they thought of it, both said, "I didn't think it would be THAT good"!
The band dedicated their final number, "Highway Star", to the marshall tragically killed at last week's Grand Prix.
Deep Purple are truely one of the world's greatest. Last night's performance proves just that.