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

Incredible standard

My friends and I were driving down to Mosbach and frankly speaking we were not expecting very much: it was raining cats and dogs, G(o)od Lord was not playing, the set was the same as we had heard every night and it was hardly 1hr 15 minutes long (see the previous concerts' gig lists), Steve was playing Led Zep, Skynyrd and Hendrix riffs, and they were playing the 10-millionth version of "Smoke On The Water" and the 9-millionth version of "Black Night".

And what did we get: The sky closed its gates in time and it was warm, and there were approximately 7000 Purple freaks in a good mood listening to more than 2 hours of hard rocking music. 7000 is a lot as we are in the middle of the holiday season right now, contrary to the northern states of Germany. Not a single dull moment. Excellent versions of "Perfect Strangers", "When A Blind Man Cries" and "Lazy". The version of "Fools" was that good that the sky nearly started crying (Heaven forbid). Okay, Don Airey is not Jon Lord but he is the best replacement possible.

"Speed King" was absolutely thrilling. Even "Black Night" and "Smoke On The Water" were far above standard. These guys get better every time I see them. For an open air gig the sound was gorgeous (thumbs up for the man at the mixer deck). The drumming of Ian Paice was absolutely brilliant. Thank God the times when he put his drums on auto pilot (1987-1991) are over and hopefully forgotten. The standard of this show was really incredible. Due to the absence of Jon Lord there was no alteration in the gig list, but it's a shame that there are no songs (at least one would do it) from "The Battle Rages On", "Abandon" or "The House Of Blue Light".

Can't wait to see them again.

Ralph Kaukel

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