From "Burn" to "Abandon"
Kudos to all of the previous reviewers who have already described this show so well. As my friend and I filed into the Meadows Music Centre in Hartford surrounded by bikers and their aging biker babes, the role of Deep Purple as the filling in a "White Trash sandwich" (as mentioned in an earlier review) seemed accurate indeed. As others have noted, DP played with verve, had fun, and won the Skynyrd crowd over as they went on.
My personal faves were "Lazy" with Ian G. on harp (this could be the greatest Purple song ever, you know), and "Highway Star" with Roger and Steve doing their syncopated diving head-nods and the other Ian setting a furious Paice (ha-ha) on the drums. "Ted" sounded great, very funky, and went over well. (BTW, does anyone know why they've never played "Somebody Stole My Guitar"? It's my absolute favorite from "Purpendicular" and I think it has, or should have had, "hit" written all over it.) [They have played it. It was included at the first few "Purpendicular" shows in the UK in February 1996. The bootleg "Feel Like Screaming" from Reading Feb 16 is one place to hear it. Rasmus]
"Fools," which initially seemed an odd choice and was probably unfamiliar to many, was delivered strongly and connected with the crowd because the power of its main riff cannot be denied. Steve's intro to "Smoke..." was a total hoot. He did a CSN from their first album, a ZZ Top riff, a Beatles riff, my friend caught a "House Of The Rising Sun," the whole band joined in on a Hendrix tune and they must have done a good 30-40 seconds of "Stairway To Heaven." It's a wonderful schtick, and a great way to pay tongue-in-cheek homage to one of the most enduring opening rock riffs ever.
Also as noted in other reviews, both "Perfect Strangers" and "Knocking" got the biggest crowd reaction when they were recognized, which raises the question, "What's wrong with these people?" These songs may have been commercially necessary, but they do not in any way compare to the golden age of 1971-73. BTW, the staccato lighting effects at the start of "Knocking" would have been better had it been darker at the time. Which in a roundabout way takes me to my overall feeling.
The show was fun and I had a great time, but... it wasn't a Deep Purple show, it was a Lynyrd Skynyrd show, and DP was just an appetizer, a divertissement. Skynyrd had the better sound system (or it seemed that way; maybe it was just having three times as many guitarists), the atmosphere advantage in starting when it was dark, and a full house of their own devoted fans. So while DP was just fine, the atmosphere was kind of like, "Well, this doesn't really count." No offence to DP, and no offence to Lynyrd Skynyrd. I stayed for Skynyrd and the atmosphere was electric, with most people standing the entire show. Again, good for them - they put on a good show, but I guess I felt a little short-changed in not feeling that energy, that passion, when my guys were on stage.
My only previous DP show was the "Burn" tour at Madison Square Garden in 1974 when I was 17; let's just say that while some of my recollections are a little hazy, that show was disappointing in that it was DP MkIII. So while I was delighted to hear Ian G. and Roger last night, I look forward to seeing the guys as headliners next year. I know we're not going back to MSG, but I'll take them headlining in the intimacy of the sweaty Beacon Theater anytime. (Maybe they'll play "Somebody Stole My Guitar.")
PS Thanks Roger, for autographing my "In Concert 1970/72" LP jacket before the show.
PPS The website is great. E-E-E-E-E-O-W-W-W!!!!!!!!!!!! [Of course we will publish your review! ;^) Rasmus]