[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

Watching the... rainbow

With several former members of Rainbow performing during the Deep Purple/Scorpions/Dio triple-bill, it was inevitable that fans would be treated to a couple of old Rainbow tunes, both during the Dio set. How appropriate, then, that during the rain-drenched set by the Scorpions (none of whom were in Rainbow, oddly enough), the clouds parted and a real live Rainbow dominated the skies over the Post-Gazette Pavilion. One end of the Rainbow seemed to end at a beverage stand, and the other appeared to land directly behind the stage - right at the feet of one Mr. Dio, perhaps?

Dio, the band, combined the freshness of new guitarist Doug Aldrich with the veteran expertise of the rest of the band. Ronnie, like Ozzy Osbourne, is a former Black Sabbath singer who has great success finding the best musicians available and putting on formidable performances, both live and in the studio; the main difference is that Dio has a better singer! His great friendship with the other bands on the bill must have allowed him to perform almost as long a set as the co-headliners. No Rainbow In the Dark, sadly.

Dio set list:
1) Killing The Dragon
2) Egypt (the Chains Are On)/Children Of The Sea
3) Scream
4) Simon Wright drum solo (inc. O Fortuna from Carmina Burana)
5) Stand Up And Shout
6) Rock And Roll
7) Man On The Silver Mountain/Doug Aldrich guitar solo/Long Live Rock'n'Roll
8) Holy Diver
9) Heaven And Hell
10) The Last In Line

The Scorpions put on a decent show, but like Deep Purple, relied on older material to carry the show since there is no new album to promote. It was like being in high school all over again because the Scorps sounded just like they did in 1984, when they were the hottest thing going. The cloudburst, followed by the big Rainbow, was a great distraction but the set was fun to listen to nevertheless.

The Scorpions played:
1) Coming Home/Bad Boys Running Wild
2) The Zoo
3) We'll Burn The Sky (?)
4) Tease Me, Please Me
5) Coast To Coast
6) Winds of Change
7) No One Like You
8) Matthias Jabs solo
9) Big City Nights
10) Dynamite/drum solo
11) Blackout
12) Still Loving You
13) Rock You Like A Hurricane

Finally, the People's Band. Why the People's Band? Because I am convinced that Deep Purple has been paying close attention to the reviews that fans take time to compose for The Highway Star. Earlier reviews bemoaned the inclusion of the infamous riff-raff leading into Smoke On the Water. The riff-raff was gone at this show. Reviewers expressed a preference for Highway Star at the end of the show rather than at the beginning; and there it was, last in the set.

Deep Purple caters to its fans. People like to hear the older material, and it gets played. Hearing Fireball as the opener took me back to the Purpendicular tour of 1996, sounding every bit as good as it did then, and really as it did thirty years ago. Even the newer older material from the mid-1980s, like old stalwart Perfect Strangers, gets the crowd going. And what can I say about Knocking At Your Back Door? That song got me through my senior year in high school, and at least two years of college. I, for one, really do appreciate everything that this band does for us. There's no album to promote at the present time, but the guys go all over the world and work hard to keep themselves as well as us happy.

Seeing Don Airey on stage will take a bit of getting used to, but I can't helping think of an interview from the 1984-85 reunion era where Jon Lord recalled how Ritchie Blackmore tried for years to find a organist who sounded like Lord, but couldn't. How, Blackmore wondered, do you get that sound from an organ? "Well," replied Jon Lord, "for a start, you've got to be me. That doesn't necessarily make me better, it just makes me me." This is how I look at Don Airey with Deep Purple: He is a brand new player in this game, and it's no use comparing him to his predecessor. He is good at what he does, and his credentials are impeccable.

Ian Gillan bounded about in his bare feet, made all the more comfortable by the carpet laid out on stage before the show. The man was in good voice and worked well with the crowd. At one point, Gillan bumped into the neck of Roger Glover's bass, or maybe Roger was trying to poke him with it; IG approached RG in a mock-threatening manner. If this had happened nine years ago, but with a different musician's stringed instrument, that would have been the end of the show. One other thing about Ian Gillan: The pavilion's monitors closed in on his face twice when he was smiling with bug-like eyes, and my friend noticed a resemblance to comedian Buddy Hackett. I can't say that I shared that impression.

The night's DP performance included:
1) Fireball
2) Woman From Tokyo
3) Ted The Mechanic
4) Lazy
5) The Well-Dressed Guitar
6) Knocking At Your Back Door
7) Black Night
8) Don Airey solo
9) Perfect Strangers
10) Speed King/bass solo/drum solo
11) Smoke On The Water
12) Hush
13) Highway Star

And next time around, more new songs, please!

Dave Ohliger

Back to reviews