[ d e e p P u r . p l e ) The Highway Star

Only one complaint: Too short!!

From the first few beats of "Woman From Tokyo" to the final cymbal crash of "Highway Star", Deep Purple proved that they still enjoy their stuff, and that age is meaningless to having a great time. From the audience, these guys look like theyíre still 20-year olds - their energy is incredible!! They strutted through about 15 songs with big smiles all around - they know how to have fun! I especially noted Jon (is he really 60 in June?) Lord bopping away around in his keyboards, looking like he will never want to retire.

I wasnít a Deep Purple fan and hadnít really listened to their music much. This was the first time Iíve seen them and I enjoyed it immensely. I went with the preconception of expecting to see a 70s rock band regurgitating their classics and throwing in the occasional new stuff. Instead, I was thoroughly entertained by five extremely talented musicians who work and blend together so well that they still keep their music fresh after all these years.

The band used some great lighting effects, though sparingly. It was nice to see the band clearly and not have to try to spot them amongst blackouts and smoke machines and other effects. One effect they used very well was a strobe light in "No One Came" with Ian swinging his mic stand as he walked along the front of the stage.

Ian Gillan was a showman throughout, filling the gaps between songs with little explanations - sometimes he couldnít remember the right album or the reason for writing the song. His sense of humour and fun filtered through the whole show.

Steve Morseís fingers never left his hands [It's a trick he's practised for years!! ;^) Ed.] - thatís about all I could follow from his speed licks. During his solo spot, he looked like every bedroom 'rock star' wannabe (but much better of course) - playing through famous licks and chord progression before finally hitting that favourite one - which, obviously, had to be "Smoke On The Water".

The additions to the core band were three back up singers and a three-piece brass section. They were very subtle in their effect, taking nothing away from the rest of the band. And they were not on too much - just enough to add a little variety here and there.

Any complaints? Only one: Too short!!

When are they touring Australia again?

Russell McNair


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