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

Concert Review, Perth Dome, Western Australia, April 16th 1999

Deep Purple's performance tonight was a lesson to the detractors. It was a perfect example of a professional band doing what they do best. Entertaining!!!!

When they last played Perth 14 years ago on their reunion tour, the onstage atmosphere was clearly tense. 1999 was a different story altogether. The dynamics have changed dramatically. The presence of guitarist Steve Morse has brought with him a freshness and enthusiasm so previously lacking. Without knocking Ritchie Blackmore, whose style is so recognisable, Steve has given the classic songs a real lift while kicking arse on the newer material.

The overall comraderie and interplay between the band was a pleasure to witness. They shared each others space (something that was taboo in the past), joked and encouraged each other through the whole gig.

Not many people would have been disappointed by the set list either. All of the classics were there including "Black night", "Fireball", "Smoke on the water", "Perfect Strangers" etc. plus a fair smattering from the last two recordings. Even the solo spots from each member were concise and never boring. It was evident that each is still a master of their chosen instrument. The biggest surprise being Ian Gillan's voice still going strong.

The large crowd clearly loved witnessing a happy band having fun. From the mock head banging to the famous riffs of Hendrix, Zeppelin and Van Halen thrown in for good measure. The after gig comments I heard while leaving the venue were of total surprise at the sheer quality of the performance. Especially for Steve Morse who many had never heard of. This was a band at it's best. Come back soon!!!!

The last comment must go to my friend who sarcastically said to me as we left, "Who did Steve Morse replace? Ritchie who???"

Lex Peters
in Australia

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