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

Greetings to Jon and thanks to Don

Set list:
Woman From Tokyo
Ted The Mechanic
Mary Long
No One Came
The Well-Dressed Guitar
Perfect Strangers
When A Blind Man Cries
Guitar Parade (Hendrix / Status Quo / Beatles / ZZ Top / Cream / Led Zeppelin etc.) ->
Smoke On The water
Speed King (incl. Gulf Of Mexico / Now Or Never / High School Hop)

Black Night
Highway Star

It's a very hot day (33'C), the sun is shining and several people are standing in front of the entrance to the area of "Dresdener Filmnaechte" (a summer open air with cinema and concerts). At 6 pm we are a lot of people and according to the tickets, the doors should open now. But we have to wait for an additional 45 minutes before we could enter (one was reminded of the queues to buy bananas in former times - once every year). But after it all, we saw a very good concert this nice summer evening. So it was worth the wait...

The opener is a German band called aprilDAZE. They are playing kind of like R.E.M. and the voice of the lead singer especially enforces this feeling. It sounds good, a mix of melancholic and powerful songs. But a little bit too much melancholy in one block. However we kindly applaud and it is a pleased audience. By the way, they really supported DP (some words like "We are pround that DP invited us..." or "Have a good concert with DP"). Not every band is doing that...

And then exactly at 9pm THEY come on stage: Ian, Roger, Steve, Ian and Don (Airey). In the background there is a painted curtain with a cloudy sky (not created by Bill Gates) and a bubble that changes colour and feeling according to the light show. In addition, we have the wonderful baroque scenery of Dresden...

During the first track ("Woman From Tokyo") they seem to be not really "warm" yet. Gillan is not in his best form so far and also the sound/the mix is not the best. The organ is very low. Anyway - there is a very fine rhythm from the very beginning until the end - thanks Ian and Roger.

However it's just the beginning and after some minutes everything is fine. "Ted The Mechanic" brings some straight-on-power followed by "Mary Long". Gillan is in good condition and is talking (sometimes joking) between the songs. The whole band is in perfect form now. And you see, music is their life, their nature...

Just before "Lazy", bursting with the typically Purple organ sound, Gillan introduces Don Airey who is temporarily replacing Lord because Jon has had an operation on his knee. Don seems to have the spirit of Jon and has done his job in a very fine Lord-style. I was really impressed. Thanks. And all the songs come with brilliance and power. That's the right feeling...

Nearly all the songs of the evening are from the 70s - well known and loved by the fans. And also the later stuff ("Ted", "Perfect Strangers", "Well-Dressed Guitar", Morse Guitar solo) are from the best. For me it's a perfect selection, nearly all songs belong to my favorites.

During "No One Came" I especially enjoyed the bass.

Then "Fools" - a song that I like very much - and it's the second time for me to hear it live. Mostly fine, as I like it. But for me, the instrumental part in the middle has lost its tragic touch. As with last year in Berlin (with Lord), the organ sound here is too nice. I prefer the tragic, string-like sound (similiar to cello?).

Then a "Well-Dressed Guitar" lights up (with well-tempered organ, bass, and drums) - very fast and strong and, as Gillan said, a new arrangement.

A highlight for me in every DP concert is the classical and boogie woogie piano and organ solo. Don seems to be Lord's brother in mind: Mozart with boogie woogie, and the intro of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 etc., really fine, a highlight as I like it! As often usual during the last years, it's the intro to "Perfect Strangers". The song itself is a very fine one, but it seems to me they have played it too much over the last years. Good, but not really exciting - routine.

"When A Blind Man Cries" - a wonderful ballad and one of my special favorites.

Again a brilliant Morse takes us on a ride through the history of rock - riffs by Status Quo, Beatles, ZZ Top, Cream, Led Zeppelin lead us of course into Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water". "Smoke" and the following song, "Speed King", have, during the last few years, got some new spirit, some new blood - the same can be said for the encore tracks "Black Night", "Hush" and "Highway Star". There seems to be some variation and new power in these songs in nearly every DP concert during the last years. Really typical DP, but in a fresh way. Brilliant, powerful and driving drums, bass and guitar, fascinating organ and voice. Topped by some solos - brilliant. Especially "Speed King" offered each of the musicians the opportunity to show their brilliance during solos. And that's what I like very much. And all these solos were really exciting - superb! Gillan included in a humorous way some old songs like "Golf Of Mexico" (also Glover sang some lines), "Now Or Never" and "High School Hop". For me "Speed King" was the exciting peak of a brilliant evening!

They came back for an encore (by the way, the fans are singing "Black Night" too fast ;-) and to show how it goes). As mentioned before, the tracks of the encore also have the same fresh power and facinating sound. So, the evening ended in a perfect way...

By the way, the first rows were very close to the stage - so there's a close connection between the band and the fans. At the end, Gillan briefly signed autographs from the edge of the stage.

At last, something that irritated me: the technicans started to remove cables from the stage during the encore. "Nice" way to say, "The end is near..."

PS: Greetings to Jon, all the best for his health...

Bodo Hoffmann

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