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

DP 2001: alive and kicking

Support acts: Baal (Denmark) and Manfred Mann's Earth Band.

Deep Purple: Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Steve Morse and Don Airey.

It was typical danish summer – all day rain. Nevertheless about 10.000 people found their way to open air venue 5-ุren in Copenhagen to see Deep Purple.

Manfred Mann's Earth Band had been warming up the crowd with classics such as "Blinded By The Light", "Davy's On The Road Again" and "The Mighty Quinn" giving a great performance. The voices were warmed up and everybody were in good spirits when Deep Purple hit the stage at 6.30 p.m.

The show was the same as at Skanderborg Festivalen three days ago (reviewed elsewhere here) starting with "Woman From Tokyo" and climaxing with "Highway Star" as the third encore.

The first half an hour or so were not very exciting. Not that they played badly, because they didn't – but the songs... "Mary Long", "Fools" and "No One Came" are great song but not obvious live material. They didn't include them in the live shows in the 70s and in the 80s – so why now? I don't know, but I can't see the point playing these songs on behalf of "Space Truckin'", "Strange Kind Of Woman" and "Child In Time" (It was a performance loaded with nostalgia anyway).

If Deep Purple want new songs to their live show, they should write some new stuff worth playing live.

But then Gillan announced "Perfect Strangers" and the last one hour and a half was a party with great music from a great band which – obviously – had a good time themselves.

Espcially the bluesy version of "When A Blind Man Cries" and "Speed King" were outstanding. "Speed King" with each musician given free space to solo and improvise.

Then Steve Morse did his "Riff Raff" over "Back In Black", "Sweet Home Alabama", "Layla" and "Purple Haze" before turning to "Smoke On The Water" and the crowd went bezerk.

The encores were "Black Night" and "Hush" (in which Ian Paice were the only one involved originally) and – as mentioned before - "Highway Star". Gillan thanked the crowd and we would still have been there now if Deep Purple had continued playing.

It's hard though not to compare the performance with the six Purple shows I have seen before. I must admit that I missed Ritchie Blackmore's unpredictable guitar playing, but Steve Morse made up for that with his enthusiasm and energy. It's obvious that Deep Purple is a happier (and more democratic!) band without Mr. B (and he without them).

All in all a really good performance from Deep Purple which proved that the band 2001 is still alive and kicking.

Ian Gillan is a great performer and a great showman and still a great singer. But his voice (and his screaming) has changed since the golden days in the 70s. Earlier his voice sounded more releaxed in a way and it seems to have lost a bit of power. In parts of "Mary Long", "No One Came" and "Hush" it sounded like he had problems reaching the higher tones.

He's got a great sence of humor and has a great dialogue with the crowd and with all due respect to David Coverdale and Joe Lynn Turner Gillan is THE Purple singer (as if anybody didn't know).

Roger Glover is one of the best bass players in the business and his playing comes much more to its right when he is playing live. He's more audible and agressive which suits him a lot.

Ian Paice is still the best drummer in the world, which he fully proved at 5-ุren. His solo during "Speed King" will keep his imitators busy for the next couple of years.

We missed Jon Lord of corse but former Rainbow man (among others) Don Airey did a terrific job replacing him, sounding and playing much like him.

Over the years I've often seen the danish press saying that Steve Morse is no worthy replacement for Ritchie Blackmore – bullshit. Morse have not taken the world's easiest job replacing Ritchie. Blackmore is a legend, one of the best and his way of playing and his sound is certainly his own. It was the first time I saw Steve Morse and I was very impressed. He is in his own way a very good guitarist doing a great job. His playing is very different from Blackmore's - more flat out and typically heavy, but he played with passion and affection and his duelling with Airey during "Speed King" and his blues solo in "When A Blind Man Cries" were outstanding.

And now I have seen Deep Purple with a smiling guitarist!!

Niels Kristensen

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