Elevator music; My first but definitely not last
The set list:
The support acts were two German bands called 7 11 and aprilDAZE. Not too bad, but I was better warmed up when the first Led Zeppelin album was played over the PA during the break between aprilDAZE and Deep Purple.
Being a fan for 20 years, this was my first concert, and I loved it. The band was in fine shape, smiling all the time and really enjoying themselves, giving the impression of a band which does not have to prove anything anymore, who can just relax and give their audience a wonderful time. One of the wives/girlfriends was dancing along all the time in a booth at the left side of the stage.
They looked as always, Roger in his hippie pirate outfit, Ian Paice wearing his pirate cloth too, Steve with sleeveless T-shirt and Indian jewelry. Ian Gillan's look was new to me though, barefoot and wearing sunglasses for the first three songs, changing shirts twice. I stood maybe seven metres away from the stage and could see everything. The sound was very good, maybe the organ was a bit subdued, except for the solos. Don Airey is probably the best replacement for Jon Lord. He fitted in well and played extensive introductions to "Perfect Strangers" and "Lazy". He also played the first solo in "When A Blind Man Cries". Ian Paice and Roger Glover did not miss a beat. Steve Morse needn't be talked about, he was just awesome. Ian Gillan was in an especially fine und funny mood, telling short and funny - and sometimes senseless - stories about nearly every song. Two songs were introduced as a "song called Jeffrey", "Fools" was introduced as a song about "an elevator which leads to Istanbul, and if you press the wrong button, you end up in Phoenix". He sang very soulfully, especially in "When A Blind Man Cries", although he had a slight cough.
The audience was loving every note they played. It was really a superb concert. Of course I missed some songs ("Fireball", "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming") but with such a huge repertoire of great songs you have to leave out some highlights.
It was my first concert, but definitely not my last.