Quite a treat
This was the 8th time I've seen DP live, going back to the 1985 Perfect Strangers Tour, but the first time I've seen them when they were not the headliner.
I would've liked to have seen Ted Nugent too, but traffic didn't allow for that. Thankfully, I got to the arena with about 10 minutes to spare before DP took the stage.
As others who wrote about this concert have commented, it was disappointing to see such apathy among the crowd for what turned out to be an excellent show. Then again, the crowd was not particularly enthusiastic even when Lynyrd Skynyrd, the headliner, played (more on that later).
As for Purple, they were as good as I remember them from the Abandon tour two years ago (i.e. = excellent!). Big Ian still rocks, and also looks great (looks like he's dropped a bit of weight). Roger, John, Little Ian, and Steve were as solid as ever, though there wasn't enough time for them to showcase their individual talents, as is often the case at a DP concert.
I particularly enjoyed the song selection. Other than "Perfect Strangers" and "Ted The Mechanic", the remaining nine songs were from their early days: "Woman From Tokyo", "Lazy", "No One Came", "Fools", "Pictures Of Home", "When A Blind Man Cries", "Smoke On The Water", "Hush", and "Highway Star".
The prelude to "Smoke" was particularly memorable: In a medley that they dubbed "Riff Raff," the band played instrumental bits of the Beatles, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and, most incredibly, Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven". I always wanted to hear the great DP play some Zeppelin, so it was quite a treat.
On the downside, the concert felt rushed, primarily because DP was not the headliner. It's difficult to see them when they're not the last act - it seems anything that would follow would be anticlimactic. Such was the case with Skynyrd. It was nice to see them (I've never seen them before), but the music was a bit disappointing. With all respect to their lead vocalist, Gillan is a tough - if not impossible - act to follow.
Nonetheless, a great show, one that I did not mind battling two-plus hours of traffic to get to.