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Flying to Belgorod

The fact that DP were coming to Belgorod was quite surprising. I live in Voronezh (approx. 250 km from Belgorod), and my city is almost twice as big. At first nobody believed it would happen. But it DID!!! And, as soon as we had the tour dates for Belgorod, I went there to buy the tickets (almost a month before the concert).

Finally the long-expected day had come and we set off early in the morning (my young wife, who is also a DP fan, went with me). The journey to Belgorod by bus took almost seven hours. When we were entering the town, we passed by the airport, where we saw a white jet plane with red letters: DEEP PURPLE. We were about to scream because we finally began to realize it wasn't a dream. I must say it was the first DP live show in my life and I had been waiting for this moment for many years. DP have always been the essential part of my being. Of course I had seen a lot of DP shows on the video, but visiting a live gig had remained only a dream.

The first thing we did after having arrived was going to the airport to take some pictures of the magical plane that had brought our heroes.

Then we went to the Cosmos Ice Arena where the show was going to take place. There we spent three hours waiting at the backdoor for the musicians to arrive. The worst things were huge masses of policemen and security guys and the cold wind mixed with rain.

But we waited patiently till there came a red car and Mr. Don Airey came out!!! We were stunned for it was the first time we saw a star standing at a distance not further than three metres! Then the car went away. It returned in 1,5 hours time with the rest of DP. We greeted Roger Glover, Steve Morse with his guitar, Ian Paice, and - Ian Gillan. We still could not believe it was happening and that we saw it with our own eyes.

Then it was show time. We were lucky enough to get very close to the stage - as close as the security guys would let us. There's no need to give the setlist because it was exactly the same as in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But there was a special thing about this very show. Unlike Moscow and St. Petersburg Arenas with many thousands of people in, Cosmos Ice Arena was only for 5000 people. So it was a bit like a club version of a traditional DP show.

As for the highlights - the whole show could be definitely called a highlight - the highlight of my life. But there were, too, a few of particular things.

First of all, as I said, we were very close to the stage (about 10 metres from Roger), so we could see and hear everything. I agree with those who said the new line-up were in their top form: full of energy, cheerful smiles on their faces, sparkles in their eyes.

The audience went crazy from the very beginning (Woman From Tokyo). The glorious Deep Purple were on stage! Ian sang Child In Time perfectly (helped by Steve's guitar) and in Fools.

It was great that Fools and Mary Long were in the setlist for I had never seen or heard live versions of these great songs. Steve was incomparable in the new classical instrumental The Well dressed Guitar. An excellent bass solo by Roger in Speed King. Don Airey was just great and we gave him a nice welcome indeed! I enjoyed his solos in Fools and Perfect Strangers. He didn't perform Podmoskovnye Vechera as Jon had always done, but we got Kalinka and the Russian national anthem instead.

The public was going crazier and crazier, singing along to Smoke On The Water.

Ian Paice`s drum solo was brilliant as always. And two more highlights from Roger Glover. 1. I was lucky enough to get one of the picks that he threw down during the show!!! 2. During the last song (Highway Star) Roger came down from the stage and I managed to shake his hand!!! During the concert he noticed me waving my new DP baseball cap and gave me a smile. So, if you remember me, Roger, I would like to thank you very very much. You were great, excellent, marvellous, superb! It is a pity I was not able to say it to you personally.

When it was all over we waited for the musicians to come out and managed to get autographs from Steve, Don and Roger (twice!).

We went to the bus station and set off back to Voronezh after midnight. Our heads were filled with impressions and our bags with t-shirts, scarves, posters, pictures etc.

I would like to thank you guys, for coming here and for this great show. I cannot find suitable words or phrases to express my gratitude; I am still full of emotions. I am sure thousands of Russian DP fans would say just the same.

Thank you so much and come again soon!!! You were fantastic!!!

Oleg A. Andreev

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