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

Fountain of Youth

Fountain of youth? Elixir of life? I have found it! The secret to taking of at least 15 years of your life is a Deep Purple concert! For 2 hours on May 2nd, I was 18 again.

But 2 hours of Jumping Jacks, head banging and synchronised bowing has taken a toll on this weak and frangible body. All the pivot points of my body especially the neck and lower back are crying in agony. This charley horse is definitely worth it. For 25 years I have waited to witness the band which, along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have ushered in a brand of music that has become the chassis of today's rock music.

Deep Purple are supposed to be legends whereby mistakes that legends make are overlooked and instantly forgiven. But this is one legend that did not make any. They may be older and greyer but the music that they churned out that night was bordering on perfection. One might argue that they had 30 years of practice and they're right, because it showed. They performed with such a high level of professionalism that puts many of the new and younger hard rock bands to shame.

Steve Morse was no Ritchie Blackmore but more than filled the black boots of the latter. But if one is on a fault finding mission on the night, he would declare that Morse lacked an identity, a distinctive style and that he is too "nice" and "bad attitude deficient". His fret surfing skills are undeniably breathtaking and he is a virtuoso in his own right but his Garfield-like smile that he flashes every now and then does not conform to the true bad ass axeman portfolio. Not that it took the shine off a glorious night!

Lord, Glover, Paice and Gillan were just magnificent, to say the least. Lord's brief rendition of "Soldier of Fortune" was met with a euphonic chorus of Coverdale wannabes across the crowd. Glover's rasping solos provided a clue to Iron Maiden's Steve Harris' early influences. Paice defied his aging limbs and taciturn persona with a thunderous offering. And Gillan - sweet screaming Gillan. I tried to be his vocal speculum during selected numbers and am now saddled with helplessly incapacitated vocal chords that can only generate low frequency whispers. At the entrance we were handed free vials of lozenges (it's true!), and now we know why.

All things said, Deep Purple have proven their point. They are the pantheon of hard rock. Scanning the night's crowd, I noticed people half my age and double my age guiltlessly revelling in an exhibition of vintage minstrelsy, hurling away all inhibitions. Understandably so, because we all know that we were witnessing history. It might never present itself again, but then again...

TQ + Rgds,
Syed Faisal Algadrie

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