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

The sun rose at Sunrise

Well this was a show that will be in my memory for as long as I live. This experience actually began at the Pompano Beach Amphitheatre Show back in 12/7/97 when me and my wife were lucky enough to go back stage and hang with the band and even get pictures with each one individually, (except Jon Lord due to running out of film). That story you can read in the review for that date. Anyway, on with this review.

When the tour list was posted in The Highway Star, and at D.P.A.S., there was no listing for any dates in Florida. I was crushed. I've seen them three times since the MK 7 line-up and couldn't wait for them to return, but they weren't coming to Florida. So what did I do? I found a date that coincided with a date that I could get off from work, and decided to purchase tickets for the Columbus, Ohio show on June 30th. Three days later it was announced that they were going to squeeze in a show at Sunrise Theatre, in Florida, where I had seen them, back in 1995 and it was to be taped for a DVD. Well guess what? I was the first in line at Ticket Master and got center section seats, 3rd row back for that show. I made a banner from a white sheet which had the new logo at the top and it said "MK VII is the DEEPEST PURPLE of ALL" and held it up for them to see throughout the show.

I'll leave out the set list as it's already been printed here. All I can say is, this band is without a doubt, playing the best they have ever played. I've been a fan since 71 and have seen every incarnation of the band live, except the JLT tour, and I have never seen such enthusiasm and fine musicianship as they are performing now. From the first chord of the opening tune to last note of the "Highway Star", they play as if they are out for the first time in their career. Balls to the wall, no holds barred. Ian Gillan has never sounded so good. If you listen to the LP's that each of the songs come from, it's as though he has gone back and listened to them himself all over again, and is emulating himself to a tee. With all the spirit and drive that was present when they first performed them and more. His vocals have been given a new level and anyone who goes to see them will have to agree. Everyone else in the band is playing to the same level, but I really just wanted to emphasize Gillan's remarkable singing. If you listen to "Nobody's Perfect" or any live material from the 80s and early 90s, you can't help but notice that there is a fire lit under this band that has been missing for a long time. The interaction between the band is phenomenal.

Let if be known that this present Purple is without a doubt the Final Purple. Therefore bringing me to the question: "Why did you guys drop all of the songs from "Abandon"?" You have all of this new material that is fresh and full of that old Deep Purple Spirit, yet have dropped it from the live shows. This is a major mistake. Why would you go through the effort of filming a new DVD from a 2001 concert and leave out your most recent material? There are a bundle of shows out there with old material. You guys need to step into the present and future with your new stuff. You are a force to be reckoned with, and it's time you step out of your past and give some credit to your present material. It's too good to ignore!!! That's what this show was missing. The sound, energy, and performance was incredible. The icing was missing. Don't abandon "Abandon". OK, enough ridicule.

To continue with my backstage saga, after the show, we were able to go back and mingle with the band and I was able to get my pictures signed by the band and even finally got my picture taken with JON LORD. When I told Ian Gillan (who at the time was actually singing some excerpts from his outing with Pavarotti for us) that we were going to fly out to Ohio, he took our names so as to get us backstage after that gig. Roger gave us his email and advised me to remind him two days before the show via email. Hopefully I can get my Jon Lord picture developed, enlarged and ready for the OHIO Show and possibly go back and hang with boys again. This would be too much to ask for. All in all, this was an incredible show and if you haven't seen them lately, you are missing the concert of all concerts from the band of all bands.

Tracy Heyder

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