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

Back to...
Ireland & UK 2002 reviews  

Better with age

It's been a long wait but finally DP have arrived in Ireland. This is an event I've been waiting for a long time and I managed to go with a few people who are probably sick and fed up of me shouting the merits of this band over the past 20 years or so. The first obstacle that had to be overcome was the fact that none of them knew that Ritchie had left and I had to explain to them that they shouldn't go expecting Made In Japan. I had seen the boys on the Abandon Tour four years ago at Wembley Arena so I had an idea what to expect.

Let me just nail my colours to the mast before I go any further. I'm a Ritchie fan through and through, but I found myself having to explain to my pals exactly who Steve Morse was. Easiest solution: Buy a program so they can see for themselves. "I bet Blackmore's a lot better" came the response. Even though I'm a dyed in the wool Mk2 fan I quickly raised Steve's profile in their eyes before a note was played so that by the time the Purps arrived on-stage they were more or less onside.

We got to The Point Depot pretty early. Even so there were quite a few people there and the car park was full. Despite the lack of promotion around the city for this gig there was a pretty good turnout for 7.15pm. The lobby began to gradually fill up over the next hour or so and it looked like a full house was going to greet the boys on their first trip here. At around 8.15 we got to our seats and managed to catch the last 20 minutes of the support act. The Planets are a very young outfit but they are very good musicians all and I counted 8 of them in all - 4 males and 4 females and my God what females! But I digress! Their music was a rock/classical/Spanish mix - very entertaining and a nice introduction to the procedings. Looking around I could see a lot of empty seats but I put this down to the bars outside ringing up plenty of pre-Purple sales.

9pm came quickly and the lights dimmed to a huge roar. I looked around - a full house! Out from the wings walked the band and off we went. Woman From Tokyo kicked us off nicely. My buddies appreciated the band starting with something they knew well. As soon as this song had finished the people were up off their seats to give the band a huge Irish welcome. Ian seemed pretty taken aback by the reception. "My God you are amazing! Thank you so much for a fantastic welcome. This is our first time in Ireland and its been far too long." Another huge roar. Ian responded with typical humour. "Please, please, we only have a short time left, we've only got a couple of hours".

Ted The Mechanic kept up the tempo with me keeping an eye on my mates to my right. They loved this one even if they'd never before (pun intended) heard it. And then the first surprise of the evening Mary Long played brilliantly by Steve and winding down at the end to near silence before Paicey hit the crash to end it. Jon took the start of the next song without any introduction and the familiar opening to "Lazy" began to take shape. Uh oh...someone seems to have made a mess of this. Well yes, Steve got totally lost for the first few minutes, seeming a bit unfamiliar with the track, but he soon made up for it. Now if it had been Ritchie and someone had done that... well we all know what would probably have happened. As it was, the band had a good laugh at the cock-up and then played the song out perfectly. This is the main difference been pre and post Blackmore DP, the fact that the boys genuinely seem to get on together and you can tell they're really having fun.

The high point of the concert was definitely the next song. "Right, let's see what we have left" quipped Ian before the house erupted. People suddenly leapt off their seats as a familiar keyboard riff rang around the venue. "Sweet child in time, you'll see the line" the crowd sang the entire song and I'm surprised Ian could hear himself over it. This actually brought a tear to my eye and no-one sat down again until the song ended. This version was a definite improvement over the versions done from 1984-1993 mainly because they've slowed the tempo down for the guitar solo. I always felt it was way too fast during Ritchies reunion years so this was much better. I must also point out that Ian is being helped out on the higher scream by both Jon and Steve, but hey... who the hell cares? Certainly not the crowd tonight. After the song, Purple got a standing ovation from the crowd to which Ian replied "Thank you so much, it's been 10 years since we played that song and I'm really glad we did it again tonight". So am I Ian.

And so on to the first of the new songs which Ian called WD40before introducing it properly as The Well Dressed Guitar. Basically a showpiece for Steve to have some fun, the track is instrumental all the way. Good fast-paced fun.

No One Camebrought us back into familiar territory. I always liked this track and it even seems to have lost something without the Kick Horns, still a great track.

Things slowed down a bit for The Aviator and I noticed a few confused faces during this track. I got the impession it wasn't going down all that well, probably through most of crowd being unfamiliar with it. I'll be honest myself and say that I don't like this song either. It's a bit too off the Purple mark for me, but that's just my opinion.

Jon played another little ditty on his Hammond before the band ripped into Perfect Strangers. This was another high point of the evening, although Steve seemed a bit too intent on putting a lot of screaming effects and tremolo dives into the song rather than playing the riff straight. Always a good light show during this song too. Another one where everyone left their seats.

Time for another new track which Ian gave us all the distinct pleasure of telling us that it was the first time anyone would hear it. One up for the Irish then. Entitled Up The Wall, this is an excellent track with plenty of typical Purple moments in there and a nice slow-down piece from Steve in the middle. This will be a good inclusion on the next album.

Then another surprise (for me anyway) in the form of Fools. An excellent version too with some brilliant work from Jon and Steve. Time to slow things down again for When A Blind Man Cries one of my favourite DP songs. This version sounded very much like the one on Live At The Olympia except Jon took the first solo on the Hammond with Steve taking the end solo. This is where I have to admit to having a problem with Steve Morse. I feel that rather than play to emotion of the track Steve plays the solo WAY too fast, going for technical excellence rather than feel. Maybe I'm just an old fashioned Ritchie fan but I do believe there's a time for playing fast and this song definitely is not it. Okay moan over...back to the gig.

This was the point in the show where the band really started to have some fun. Steve started off with some riffing before he suddenly began Free's All Right Now with the band joining in. A quick wave from Steve and they stopped dead. More riffing and then suddenly they started playing Sweet Home Alabama. Another wave from Steve and again they stopped. More riffing and they were into the solo part of Stairway To Heaven. One more bit of riffing and then...Smoke On The Water. The crowd loved it and yet again took over the vocals. The song ended to yet another standing ovation.

The final track was Speed King. Another excellent version, in the middle of which they went off on various tangents by sneaking in a few of Ian's Elvis impersonations. Rog's solo followed and hot of the heals of that came Paicey's moment before the show finished in a loud crescendo. The crowd were clamouring for more and the boys duly obliged, but surprised the crowd with a very unexpected, but not unwelcome rendition of Hush. And a great version it was too if a little shorter than normal. I knew what was coming next and the familiar build up on Paicey's snare raised the roof as Highway Star closed procedings for the night. The crowd were on their feet at the end and you would never guess that this was actually DP's first ever Irish show. The band seemed like old friends to everyone and if this gives the band an incentive to come back this way again then it will be worth it.

So after all that had my pals been convinced? Well from Limp Bizkit loving guys like them a comment such as "Too much keyboards" can be considered a compliment...I think. Yes rest assured, Jon is back on top form...the maestro seems to get better with age...as do Deep Purple as a unit. Overall then, a great show (I doubt they'll cock Lazy up again) with one or two surprises and plenty for everyone. Musically the band are in top form with Ian's voice sounding as good as I've ever heard it. You people in the U.K. are in for a treat when they come your way!

Dave Morrissey

Back to reviews


Donor Section

[ en-gb ] [ en-us ] [ de ] [ ja ] [ it ] [ pl ]


Subscribe to:
The Highway Star Update!

Participate in:
Purple discussions

Join the:
Mailing lists

Purple Tours
Tour Dates
Tour Reviews

Purple Music
Upcoming Releases

Sound Archives
MIDI Archives
Movie Archives

Other Sections
Frequently Asked Q's
Image Gallery
Purple Contributions
Special Features
Bios/Family Tree
Joanna's Gossip
Who To Blame



Unauthorized copying, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as the real thing (with apologies to Ani)
(c) 2005, The Highway Star

|||| _|_ This site is EMI approved