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

Who needs the Olympics, we had DEEP PURPLE

On the 21st April 1999, 14,000 fans at the Sydney Entertainment Centre were treated to 2 hours of Classic Hard Rock. When Deep Purple took to the stage it was straight up onto the feet to witness a band who even after 30 years and many comings and goings are still the top of their class.

The band were all smiles from the minute they came on stage and throughout the show. The sound though loud (which you expect at a D.P. gig) was mixed perfectly and was crystal clear.

Those fans that thought the Man in Black was Deep Purple, were all blown away by the virtuosity and brilliant playing of Steve Morse. His leads and solos brought new vitality to the old numbers plus it was good to put a face to the sounds we've been listening to on the last albums. His duels with Ian and Jon were so good it was hard to realise who was leading who. So life does go on beyond the darkness.

It seemed strange at first seeing Jon Lord up the back beside Paicey, but it he still showed he is "the Maestro", playing delicate fills and powerhouse thumping leads on the old Hammond. The human dynamo, Paicey, is like a good bottle of wine, he just gets better with age. He never missed a beat all night and his solos were as strong as ever.

Roger Glover minus the white Panama hat, but with a more grungy bandanna, was solid throughout, prowling around the stage, and his solos would have surely worked the screws loose at the old venue. A real surprise was him singing backup vocals with Steve on a few numbers. Could we see Roger taking lead on an upcoming track?

Ian Gillan, what more can you say. You can lose your hair, but you'll never lose your voice. He worked the crowd well and was most appreciative of the vibes that they were receiving back from the audience. Though he can't reach the really high screams of days gone by, his voice is still as powerful as ever, and his little ditties introducing the songs bring a smile to your face. He pranced the stage with high knee lifts and filled in on the congas and tambourine during the solos.

The set was the same as it has been on this leg of the tour.

Ian Gillans costume changes. From his ringmaster's coat during "Ted', then to a vest for SKOW to finally a t-shirt for "Bludsucker" and the rest of the show.

Steve's solos and playing every riff ever recorded before "Smoke On The Water".

Roger singing.

Jon playing "Waltzing Matilda".

The band being in Australia and Sydney again.

It had to end.

Can't wait for the new live CD and video of the Australian Tour.

Hope to see them back down under on the next World Tour, which hopefully will not take 15 years.

Bruce Butcher

[ reviews | the highway star ]