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

Review of Shah Alam show

The concert at Shah Alam Stadium, about 25 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur, marked the band's debut in the country, and with a crowd of about 30,000 people, is probably the largest concert the current line-up of the band have played.

Shah Alam Stadium is usually used for football (and athletics), and the stage was placed in the middle of the pitch, on the long axis, with the majority of the seats in the two tiered stand opposite. More comfortable (and expensive) seats were placed in front of the stage on the pitch itself. Despite these seats costing about half the average monthly salery in the country, they were all full, and as soon as the lights went down, the whole crowd went wild.

The set list was a little more varied than most of the shows on this leg of the tours (and different from the copies that a number of journalists had got hold of, which led to some frantic re-writing on their part!).

Ted the Mechanic
Strange kind of woman
Pictures of Home
extended jam
Almost Human
Woman from Tokyo
Into the Fire
Sometimes I feel like Screaming
Watching the Sky
Steves solo
Communication Breakdown, Voodoo Chile, Iron Man, Start me Up, You Really got me (quite lengthy versions of each)
Smoke on the Water
Jon's solo
Perfect Strangers
Speed King, inc High School Hop

Black Night
Highway Star

The band must have played for a little over two hours, and considering the conditions (heat and humidity for a start) the band played excellently in front of what seemed to be a very responsive crowd.

For me, the highlight had to be during Jon's solo. The song "Soldier of Fortune" is very big in the area (I was even forced to sing it in a Kareoke bar some friends took us to), and as with Korea in '95, Jon started to do a classical piano version of the first verse and chorus. The crowd quickly picked up on this, and soon 30,000 people were singing along. It sent a shiver down my spine (not often spomething I get in public!).

Our seats were in the press enclosure up by the mixing desk, so the sound was very clear - even Jon could be heard for the most part! Steve put in some nice touches during his solo - including a bit of "Fanfare for the Common Man", though I felt the jam in "Pictures of Home" was more of a second solo spot for Steve than a proper band jam. Jon's solo for "Almost Human" was excellent - how does he manage to go so far away from the tune, but with a quick nod to the rest of the band, bring everything back to the riff?

The only criticism I can find of the show (and it is a very personal one) would be the lack of further tracks from ABandOn. That said, if it meant that one of the above songs had to be dropped, I doubt I could have chosen which one! Again, that said, the set did make perfect sense - I guess that this was the first time that at least 99% of the audience had seen the band, and they got what they wanted.

Doug MacBeath

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