A Splendid Time Is Guaranteed For All
Deep Purple came on stage on a rainy day at ten to seven. However the rain was soon forgotten as they began the set with a splendid version of "Woman From Tokyo". Ian Gillan's voice was in great shape and he sang really well.
The next song was the newest in the set but already a classic, "Ted The Mechanic". After that the surprises in the set-list began to show: "Mary Long" which is a great song with great rhythm-guiar work by Steve and another great vocal by Ian Gillan. Then gems like "No One Came" and "Fools" were played (after another playful version of "Lazy".)
Deep Purple has made a lot of great songs during the years and it was a wonderful surprise that they had picked these out of the hat - songs not heard that often but still great songs.
After that they went into "Perfect Strangers" and "When A Blind Man Cries". The latter was very beautiful with a very 'felt' solo by Steve. At some point in all this Ian Gillan introduced a new song by Steve. He explained Steve had begun writing it on the bus and then he wrote a bit more in the dressing room - "And he's gonna finish it tomorrow, so we're just going to do the best we can".
Steve clearly indicated that Ian was just rambling about so we'll just have to hope that all Ian's lies won't make his Pinocchio-nose grow and hit the others in the eye... The piece was called "The Well-Dressed Guitarist" with a nod to Steves very colourfull sleeveless t-shirt and it was built around a classical theme. I counldn't put my finger on it but I think there was a bit of "Wilhelm Tell" in it ....
Steve of course also had his solo spot and played a lot of great riffs - the greatest part was where he played an excellent version of the solo in "Stairway To Heaven". He ended up with the riff to "Smoke On The Water" an although it's a classic it was funnily enough a bit uninteresting compared to the other great songs in the set - it was probably just a bit too predictable.
They finished off the set with "Speed King" leaving space for solos by all members - and even gave Ian Gillan a chance to launch into a version of the Buddy Holly classic "Rave On".
They played three encores: "Black Night", "Hush" and "Highway Star" where Steve played the excellent solo note by note.
It was great to see Deep Purple live at 5-ěren as they were clearly enjoying themselves and having a good time. It was difficult to tell if it was Roger or Steve who smiled the most - and it takes a lot to smile more and look more happy than Steve. Steve's a fine guitarist and Roger's bass playing was very inspired.
Paice did - as usual - a splendid job on the drums and it's no wonder Sir Paul (who?) chose him for his "Run Devil Run" album. Sadly Jon Lord had to miss out and he was indeed missed. However, Don Airey is an excellent keyboard player and did a fine job to replace Jon. It seemed he was treated like a full blown member of the band by the others and it all worked very well. When it came to the solo spot between Steve and him, Steve threw him out at the deep end and did not show any consideration for the fact that Don hadn't been in the band for very long. Don, however, took up the challenge and wouldn't let Steve get away with his solos and followed him tightly. A great moment of great fun.
And I guess fun is the main reason why Deep Purple keep on rocking. At one point Roger stood on the raised platform between the drums and the organ. Then Gillan - with an innocent expression on his face - wheeled over the bongo-drums in front of him so Roger couldn't step down and was trapped where he stood. He finally had to JUMP over the bongos while playing to get down on the stage and back to his original position.
It was a very enjoyable concert and alhough they've been stars for thirty years they're still very much 'down to earth' [Ah, nice touch, Jens! :-) Rasmus] - an attitude that suits them. They're waving and geeting the audience and expessing their gratitude for the love they receive from he fans.
Nothing like Manfred Mann's Earth Band who played before them: They came on stage, said 'Hello', played their numbers and went off.
I'm 39 now and people are telling me that next year I'll be '40, fat and finished'. However, after seeing Deep Purple I don't fear that at all. If you can make such good music and have so much fun on stage at the age of 56 then 40 is nothing to worry about.