[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

Converting doubting Thomas

As I write this, I am still recovering from last night's concert. Anyone who dares to suggest that Deep Purple are not really a band anymore or past it, will have me to contend with!

It was with great trepidation that I bought this year's ticket, as last year's performance was rather uneven. And with the departure of Jon Lord I was expecting more of the same. Foolish me.

Dio came on first. He was, well... Dio. I'm not all that fond of him, really. I liked his work with Rainbow and Black Sabbath, but the rest of it's just not my thing. The bassist was too thumpy, he sounded like steel belted Doc Martens going through the mud [Did you think the same about his playing on Rainbow's Rising album? Just curious. Rasmus], and the guitarist did too much trick shit and not enough actual playing. Heaven And Hell was really good, but they cocked up Man On The Silver Mountain by playing it too fast.

Then the Scorpions. I'd never seen them before and I was impressed. Especially with the drummer. Excellent drum solo. The sound of his bass drum and floor toms was perfect. And four guitars together without any sloppiness, notes out of place, or embarassing 80s cheese solos. I even enjoyed Winds Of Change, and I hate that song. Inspired me to go out and buy some Scorpions albums.

So there I am, shaking in my wet, dirty old trainers. The Scorpions rocked. My drummer friend turned to me: "Do you think Purple can top that?" he asked, hopefully. "Even without Jon?" "Of course they can, dear boy." I said. "They're Deep Purple."

On the way to the can I heard rumours. The usual. Ritchie Blackmore was making a special appearamce. My friend (he's just 18) was all excited. "Yeah, right. If Blackmore walks out onto that stage, I'll eat my hat without ketchup," I said.

Now, Steve Morse is more than OK in my book, I think he's a great guitarist, and I've no problems at all with his work in general or his work with Purple. But if Blackmore had walked out onto that stage (or Jon Lord, another rumour), I would have cried, screamed, popped off and pissed myself in all colours of the rainbow. [Good thing nothing happened then, huh? :-) Rasmus]

As it turned out, it didn't matter. I ended up doing all of the above (save pissing meself), anyway. I pushed and shoved my way into a much better seat than the one I paid for. I could see the whole stage, well. The stage went dark, and there was the sound of a jet engine. They opened with Fireball, and by the end of the first song, my fears and trepidations were banished. If you live in the US and you are a Purple fan, you have to see this tour because boy, are they shit-hot, man!

I miss Jon (and Ritchie) as much as anyone, but any grousing about Don Airey or Steve Morse, and you'll get some little amount of GBH (Grievous Bodily Harm) on the ears from me! Both those guys can play their asses off, and some Deep Purple is better than no Deep Purple at all. Especially if it's really, really good.

They played a new song, an instrumental, Well-Dressed Guitar. It was beautiful, and convinced me to buy the new record when (if?) it comes out. Best songs were Knocking At Your Back Door, Perfect Strangers, Speed King and Highway Star. Paicey's drum solo was beyond belief. I have never seen or heard anyone play that fast with one hand. So was Don Airey's solo. The audience was especially chuffed at the Star Wars bit, which sounded like an entire orchestra was playing it. In fact, all the solos were amazing.

The encore (which consisted of Hush and Highway Star) was good, too. Ian announced Hush by saying "We're having an anniversary tonight... We recorded this song 100 years ago today." The audience laughed.

All in all, I was knocked right on my arse, and I came expecting to be disspointed and have to rationalise and make stupid excuses in this review (like I did in the last one), but there's no need for that today.

For all you fellow Mk2 enthusiasts who aren't going to concerts anymore because Ritchie and Jon aren't with the band anymore, it's OK. Really. You shouldn't deprive yourself of the experience of seeing Deep Purple because your favourite line-up isn't together anymore. They're still great, three out of five ain't bad and the other two are pretty damn good as well

The only thing that really bothered me was the t-shirt prices. I mean, 32 dollars for a t-shirt? What's so bloody special about them? Did somebody get IG to wipe all the sweat off of his body with the bloody things? (I know, I know, Eeeeeeeeeeeew! But some of us [me] are, ah, intrigued by that sort of thing, dear boys.) Mid-range ticket prices are 32 dollars, for fuck's sake. Sheesh!

But I digress. On the whole, I'd say this tour's a pretty good bet, for all three bands and especially for Purple. They ate everybody's lunch. Hell, buy a goddam t-shirt. In the immortal words of my boss, the late, great Keith Moon, "Fuck me, Dougal, it's only money!"

The Scorps fans were very receptive to Purple once they realised they were getting a good rock show. As for the audience, I think all the Purple fans knew that the Scorpions were going to be a tough act to follow, and we were all praying that our DP wouldn't let us dwon. They didn't. And the Scorpions fans didn't even seem to mind that Purple had won the day, they were enjoying themselves as well.

Most of the crowd were either arriving, buying beer, food, and shirts or queing up for the bathroom during Dio's performance.

Long live Deep Purple, whatever Mark we're on now. And go see the bloody show!

Wolf Morrison

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