[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

Atlanta talks Tiki

Since the show started so early, I found myself changing into shorts and a ubiquitous black concert t-shirt in my cubicle at work. The show was at the Generic Corporate Name Amphitheater, formerly known as Lakewood, and it was a rather humid vaguely overcast night, so I knew it was going to be warm. When we pulled into the parking lot, Debbie and I noticed that the tailgaters were a fairly eclectic bunch. Old rockers, young rockers, people like us who had just bailed from work, kids with parents, the requisite hot babes in leather... the whole surly lot, to be sure. Talked to a couple of guys parked next to us downing some beers, and one of them had been in Tennessee the night before. He had nothing but glowing reports, so any worries I might have had after reading the reviews from Dallas and San Antonio subsided.

While waiting in a short line for our will call tix, a scalper oozed by and was trying to sell a lawn seat for "30 bucks... 20? 10? Okay, here you go man, it's free," and gave it to the guy behind us. Lakewood (sorry I mean, Generic Corporate Shed) is a nice enough place, and we had decent seats, center stage in the front section but ALL the way in the back. There was something odd going on with the pre-show house music... there seemed to be a bit of a Hawaiian theme going on. Plus it looked like some of the crew were sporting bright floral print shirts and those flowers on strings around the neck thingies... lei, Debbie tells me, what do I know?. Hmmm.

Dio came on at 6:30 sharp, no lolly gagging around on this tour it seems. Kind of strange to see Our Dear Little Friend on stage in the daylight! Cool band, Doug is a fun metal guitarist and has all the licks in place. Jimmy is solid on bass as usual, Wright is effective on drums and a uhm, who was that blond guy on the keys? No idea if it was Scott Warren or not. [It probably was... Rasmus] Nice big backdrop of the KTD cover. Die "Phil", DIE! Heh.

According to what I scribbled down, he opened with Killing The Dragon, which got the crowd to their feet down on the floor. Good sized crowd for a Wednesday night at 6:30. Dio clued us in that it was Hawaiian Night tonight (on June 19? Whatever!) and that anyone with a Hawaiian shirt on could come backstage for a Hawaiian themed party. I had weird visions of Ronnie putting on a tiki mask and wandering around shouting "I am Talking Tiki!" but mercifully the Elf introduced Egypt, which did indeed interpolate Children Of The Sea. The crowd was digging it.

Stand Up And Shout followed, and we bleated like the sheep we are. Then Simon's drum solo I think, somewhere in there, but I was already looking forward to Paice and was under-impressed. Another new one, Rock And Roll, and I know they played Push as well because of the new hand motion, which cracked Debbie up, but I don't remember when. MOTSM next and Dio mentions that he and Jimmy had both played in Rainbow. I think it's played too fast as well, but still cool... just short.

Doug's solo, and of course he's quite the metal shredder. Long Live Rock'n'Roll, and then back into MOTSM, and then alternating lines of both songs. Well, the crowd was still into it. Holy Diver, Heaven And Hell (truncated), and then a quick burn of Rainbow In The Dark. I would have listened to more but that was it.

A slight wait while they changed the stage set, which was obviously a well oiled procedure. I was already sweaty from some obnoxious air guitar and head banging but ready to see Deep Purple after... 18 years. Long time ago! I was sure hoping they opened with Fireball and they did, yeah! Ian was all in sleeveless white and sandals that quickly got kicked off.

Paice didn't have his hippie kerchief on and I had make sure it was him. Ian was in great voice, though it looked hot on stage and we could see him coughing a bit. Next was Woman From Tokyo, nice, Steve really does play beautifully but of course different from Ritchie. No matter! Ted was next, played with a ton of energy, and the crowd was giving them a good response. A little solo bit from Don (who looks a little like Ritchie?) and then Lazy which rocked along nicely. Ian looked puzzled to find his lunch wrapper in his pocket.

Damn, they were in good form tonight, loose but locked into the groove. Lots of smiles on stage, which was great to see. A happy band indeed. Well Dressed Guitar was next, preceded by the promise of recording in the winter. I like it, it's still a work in progress maybe? Then it was KAYBD. A nice selection and Atlanta seems to have a good bit of DP fans. There were some people sitting around us who looked puzzled at my obvious enthusiasm but fuck them.

I thought I recognized a bit of Yes before Black Night... was it Roundabout? Something like that, but it morphed in BN, with a smoking solo from Steve, and then some Gary Glitter! Odd, but it worked, just the "Hey!" part of Rock and Roll Part 2. Don's solo was cool, I like him, but Lord Is God, okay? Started with Bach's D minor Toccata and Fugue and then I lost track, helicopter noises, throbbing bass, nice piano work.

Perfect Strangers next and it's still light outside so the light show is muted, but who cares? The band is pulsing. A little snippet of Happy Trails and into "Speed King, and Big Ian is in fine fettle. What a howl! Roger's bass solo worked into the middle section and I thought I heard the melody from WFT at the beginning and the last bit from the Fireball solo? Then Ian's drum solo, I love it, the man can just play circles around most rock drummers. Gillan and Steve chirped and cackled at each other, and back into the lovely climax of SK.

They kept the medley down to a snippet of Sweet Home Alabama, and a bit of Money For Nothing, and slid into SOTW. Like many people I've grown a bit weary of it, but it's still a good song and the non-DP fanatics really ate it up. Steve and Rog were goofing around a bit - during SK with some head banging and playing on each others guitars in SOTW. IG was drenched in sweat.

A short wait for the encore and out they came. Don had changed into a Hawaiian shirt and lei! Guess he wants to party with Ronnie James Talking Tiki! Hush first, which was cool since I hadn't seen that one live yet. Then Highway Star to close out the night, and Gillan was still in great voice I thought. It sounded better than some of the DVDs. I thought Ian was doing Ronnie Dio's steering wheel hand motion, perhaps taking the piss out of RJD a bit? Maybe, maybe not.

At the end, Ian gave a great thanks to the crowd, and the band was all smiles and looked like they'd had a good time too. We were out of there before the Scorps. No disrepect intended and they got my money anyway, but I have to be at work in my cubicle of death in the morning.

A great show! I even got a little choked up at the end, thinking that if I let another 18 years go by, I might not get another chance! Go see the show my friends... to hell with the local critics who gave this show short shrift. Deep Purple Mk8 fucking rocks!

Sebastian Gregory

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