[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

Close encounter

My friends and I arrived just before 6:30, so we were just in time to see Dio start things off, a few minutes later. We were second row, right center. As soon as the intro music to Killing The Dragon started off, I could feel my knees shaking in anticipation. This would be my fourth time seeing RJD, so I knew what to expect. I must say though, this might have been the finest form I have ever seen him in. Dio and the band sounded great, and Ronnie was really having a great time. Smiling and pointing at fans the whole set.

The set list was the same as the previous shows, which is really a great set for the time the band was given. A great mix of old and new, that kept most of the crowd standing the whole time. Even the new songs seemed to go over really well. This was really great to see.

I am one of the many reviewers, that could have done without the Simon Wright drum solo. He is a solid drummer, but no one really seemed to enjoy the solo, and the time should have been spent on something else. Although, you can't fault Ronnie for being good to his band. I was highly impressed with Doug Aldrich at this show. I was not sure what to expect from him, but I think he is a great fit for Dio. Overall, a great performance, and a great choice to open the show and get the fans ready.

After Dio's set, I made a quick run to the usual set change destinations. I knew from previous reviews, that the set changes were fairly quick on this tour. I was not about to miss a single note from DP. I make it back to my seat, and before too long, the lights go off, and it is Deep Purple time.

This was my third time seeing Deep Purple, but never this close! My friend and I could see the band forming up off stage. Steve Morse must have heard us yelling for him, because he looked over and pointed at us, with a huge smile on his face. The band comes out and races into Fireball. The whole band is all smiles, so I knew we were going to get a great show.

They sounded really great, and tight, right from the start. My only complaint was I thought the vocals could have been slightly louder. Some of this might have been due to being very right center, right in front of Steve Morse. Which is a really good thing. I don't think there is a guitarist out there, that has more fun, and interacts with the fans better. Always smiling and singing along. Also, one of the finest guitarists in all of rock.

Woman From Tokyo was next, and this got most of the crowd really pumped. Lot's of clapping and singing. The set list was the same as the last shows, with the exception of dropping Hush, which to me, was not a big deal.

I thought Don did a great job on the keys. He might not be The Lord, but he knows how to play, and seems to have the Deep Purple spirit. This will only get better in time, as he has more time on stage with the band. I didn't feel cheated, and I don't think anyone else did either. He got a good response during his solo, and had us pretty entertained during Lazy. There was even pretty good interaction between Don and the rest of the band. I thought Steve and Don did a really good job trading off on Speed King. Again, this is something that will only get better in time.

Little Ian was as solid as ever behind the drums, and had a very entertaining drum solo that most of the crowd seemed to enjoy. Roger Glover was also in great form, and seems to be smiling a lot more these days.

Ian Gillan - I can't say enough about this guy. He sounded great, and was also having a great time. The guy never just stands there. He is always beating on the congas, or encouraging the other band members during solos. This may have been the best I have heard him sound in a while. He seemed to have a little something extra.

This is a band that really loves what they do, and they do it as well as anyone. Highlights for me were Black Night, Perfect Stranger, and Ted The Mechanic. Ted and the new Well Dressed Guitar song, really went over well with the fans. Something I don't think you would have seen last year with Skynyrd on the bill.

I can't understand any Deep Purple fan, being disappointed by them on this tour. A brilliant performance, and a band that clearly has a lot left to give us. Speaking of giving - I got one of the many guitar pics thrown by Steve Morse. He must have had four dozen!

I am a little sorry to say, we did not stay for the Scorpions. I respect them, but I am just not a fan. I probably should have stayed though. I just refuse to be one of those people that is close to the stage at a concert, that doesn't seem to care about the band playing. The five people in front of us were actually sitting during Dio and Deep Purple in the front row. Not only do I not understand why, but I find it rude. They could have at least switched seats with us if they were not going to pay attention.

Still, an amazing rock show, that should not be missed!

Michael Ruff

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