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

Review of Brisbane concert

What rock band could play "Amazing Grace" and "Waltzing Matilda" and get away with it?
Deep Purple, that's who.
Jon Lord, renowned for indigenising his on-stage performances, played a funky version of "Waltzing Matilda" within a maniacal solo which bridged Bach, 50's rock n roll and jazz, and guitar virtuoso, Steve Morse, bled an incredible "Amazing Grace" harmonically into a mind-blowingly powerful solo at Deep Purple's Brisbane concert.
It was a remarkable performance overall by a band which, after 30 years, still has great musical depth and an incredible - almost mind-reading - sense of timing and co-ordination.
"Ted the Mechanic" was a somewhat odd choice as a starter, but got the audience buzzing after a pedestrian opening act, Foxc (www.foxc.com.au).
It was disappointing there were only two songs from the new album - "Watching the Sky" ("I look at the walls" - oooh, could be the soundtrack to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") and "Almost Human" (surely one of the best tracks on "Abandon" - apparently, according to Gillan, a drinking song) - but then again, you can't knock a concert chock-full of their greatest album tracks.
Highlight of the concert for me was "Highway Star", in the encore. It is amazing how well this stands up to any of the rock produced over the past 25 years - solos from all band members and a driving beat which had everyone on their feet and thrashing their heads with air guitars mirroring Steve Morse's glissandos.
Second highlight was the intro to "Smoke on the Water". Steve Morse went through the Electric Guitar Heavy Metal Handbook - riffs from Led Zepplin, Cream, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix and Lenny Kravitz all joined by some fast and furious hammering, reminiscent of a lunatic on speed playing with a radio tuner. You have to see it to believe it. I hope it is included on the live CD recorded in Melbourne.
Third highlight was "Perfect Strangers" - definitely an underrated classic.
This was one of the best heavy rock concerts I have seen. Don't miss it if it's space trucking its way to your town.
On a side note, boy, were they pissed off at the security men! They called them "school prefects" and said they hoped that when they returned they would be less bullying of the crowd, which, I might say, was pretty sedate.

Paul Osborne

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