Ian and friends daunted?
It was so extremely amazing to hear that Deep Purple were going to perform at the Sporting Club in Monaco, Monte Carlo, that I thought on my feet about getting there.
How can an historical and in some respects 'tough' rock band match with the good-looking audience's bon-ton, probably more accustomed to the soft atmosphere of swing and entertainment kind of music? How can my inner soul of a Deep Purple fan deal with the ceremonial code ('tenue de la ville') to be strictly observed?
These and other thoughts were quickly dispersed when, exactly on time, the first notes of "Woman From Tokyo" introduced the band through a rotating stage. I noticed at once that Don Airey was standing in for Jon Lord (but wasn't Jon to have been back since the Bonn concert on the 19th as per The Highway Star News???) [Apparently his knee didn't recover as quickly as he thought. Rasmus], and this seemed to me like a sort of omen. In fact the concert went on in an unsteady fashion. Some songs, like "Fools" and "Lazy", were performed at the band's best, but in general the show was lacking something. I can't tell you exactly what was missing, maybe the usual amusing duets between Jon and Steve (by the way: Don Airey's solo at the beginning of "Perfect Strangers" was a noticeable demonstration of skill at playing keyboards, but rather off topic), or simply Ian and friends were a bit daunted - at least in the beginning - by the environment.
However they all played with their unrivalled sound for about one hour. Gillan is the living denial of the legend of Samson: he can have his hair cut without losing his strength at all (at least his voice!) and Paice is like some brands of wine: he gets better with age.
As far as the audience is concerned, very few guys were still wearing jackets after mid concert, and the ladies hung down their silk fans and clapped and waved their hands in the air. And I think an optimum result never occurred in the Salle de l' Etoile.