Ian Gillan looked fantastic
My second date on the tour, and much better seats, weather, and venue. Nugent came out and did a vastly different set than in Chicago, and had the locals eating out his hand. It almost seems as if he's been hired as a cheerleader to get the audience primed, and he does his job VERY well, and this coming from a non Nugent fan. The flaming arrow closed the show, and the roadies converged on the stage with lightning efficiency to dismantle the stage even before Nuge's guitar stopped feeding back. About 20 minutes later, Purple hit the stage and broke into "Woman From Tokyo". It was still light outside, and people were still streaming in and milling around the pavilion. It wasn't until about halfway through the set that Purple started to get everyone's undivided attention.
Before I go any further, I just wanted to make comment on the number of young people at this show. Teenagers to early 20's bracket. And not just the ones with their parents, either. It's amazing to me the appeal of the music of not just Purple, but the other acts, to the younger generation. It's sad that this generation is so devoid of good bands, but great that Purple and others are still being discovered. In 20 years time, these people will be telling their children that they got to see Deep Purple live to great envy (LOL)! The setlist was the general, with "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming" and "No One Came" in the set tonight. No "Knocking...." or "Pictures Of Home". "Fools" seemed to be lost on the audience until it was over, when the crowd came to life and gave a standing ovation so I guess they WERE listening after all. Jon did an amazing solo in "When A Blind Man Cries", and again a great reaction for Jon after the solo. Ditto for Steve.
What really brought the audience in was Steve's classic radio shtick, which included: "I Can't Explain", "Whole Lotta Love", "Sweet Home Alabama", and several others I can't recall off the top. [Someone else can - see below. Rasmus] Of course, "Smoke" brought the place down, as did "Hush" and "Highway Star". Purple could have played another hour at this point and no one would have minded.
Ian Gillan looked fantastic and his voice has not been this strong in years. He almost broke once during the end of the set, and that was after he had been powering along all night. A couple of his screams got an ovation in their own right ("Woman From Tokyo" comes to mind). I think everyone was pleased that he still "has it". Fabulous job.
Skynyrd didn't do too much for me as I've never been a big fan. Ricky Medlock from Blackfoot is now a member, and I was looking real forward to seeing and hearing him. I got half. Three guitarists are just too much, and so Medlock was left to mug with the audience and run from side to side of the stage most of the set, presumably because the other members of Skynyrd are too fat to move themselves. He's a great player on his own, but at least he has a steady job, and that's something. I hope he puts a solo act together someday so I can see him REALLY stretch out, because he's a good one.
Set list was:
Merchandise now included last year's "Concerto" programs and t-shirts, as well as left overs from the Australian dates and videos (including a fully autographed "Total Abandon" video for $30). The Australian shirts were only $20 and were sold out by the end of the night. The Bootleg Box was $5 higher than at the Chicago show at $80. None of the new CD's/DVD's were evident, sadly.
The real drawback with the band now is that they are a "classic rock band". The absence of new material drives this home. There's little spontaneity with the band anymore, and it's just a bit too slick for my tastes. Some say it's the shortness of the set, but the "Made In Japan" shows were only 80 minutes, so that's not it. Purple's audience today only wants to hear the hits and that's their prerogative, but it's a bit of a letdown knowing that the oldies are just going to be recycled until the day comes when they do hang it up, which I don't feel will happen in the foreseeable future (barring something catastrophic). Even the forthcoming DVD is still the same old. There's no rush to go back into the studio because live releases are much cheaper to produce and have more of a profit ratio than a proper studio LP. I don't begrudge Purple for doing that. Even at their age they are capable of outplaying the new bands coming out and there's still a young audience that are getting to see Purple in the flesh playing a top notch set. There's just not much need for me to trek out and see them or buy the new releases as it's the same thing I've already got.
That being said, I've got second row for tomorrow night in Columbus, and I'm looking forward to seeing Purple up close, one last time!
The forgotten riff in the solo medley was "Mr. Tambourine Man" (Byrds Version). I couldn't improve upon Chris' review if I tried. DP was awesome!