[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

Like old wine...

After reading some mixed reviews on this forum about this tour, I was a little nervous about this show. The last time I saw either Deep Purple or Scorpions was at the Texas Jam in Dallas, summer of 1985, maybe the last time they played together before now. Both were excellent then, so I was anxious to see how time had treated them.

Dio opened up promptly at 7:00pm, and Ronnie's voice hasn't failed him in all these years. His hour-long set included several new numbers, plus Heaven And Hell from Black Sabbath and Long Live Rock'n'Roll and Man On The Silver Mountain from Rainbow, along with his own Holy Diver and Last In Line. Very crisp, tight and energetic set. Doug Aldrich sounded nasty on guitar, and the PA was cranked and sounding very nice. Back on his home ground, Ronnie even thanked his 'homies'.

Scorpions were next, and provided their usual energized set. Nothing newer than Wind Of Change as far as I can recall, but they still delivered the goods. Rudolf Schenker came out after the drum solo wearing the head bandages from the Blackout album cover during the regular set finale of Blackout.

Then, after less than a 30 minute wait, the boys appeared. Deep Purple hit the ground running with Fireball, and absolutely roared for the next 80 minutes. Gone were any trepidations about Deep Purple getting 'too old to rock'n'roll.' Ian Gillan was in fine form, with his usual hilarity between songs. The man can still sing and scream with the best.

Don Airey's keyboard solo during Fireball didn't sound as heavy as Jon Lord, so I was a little concerned that he was down in the mix maybe, but after a few tunes I realized it was just his take on the song. No, he's not Jon Lord, but y'know, Steve Morse isn't Ritchie either. And I've grown to appreciate his contributions immensely. I feel the same way about Don Airey now.

The new tune Well Dressed Guitar, while short and sweet, showed some sparkling interplay between Morse and Airey. Speaking of Steve Morse, is there anything this man can't play? I was floored. From soulful bends to ripping muted scale runs and all points in between, Steve Morse just flat out burned!

The rhythm section of Paice and Glover was uniformly excellent, tight as ever. Paice's one-handed drum rolls during his solo spot in Speed King were amazing. Glover kept the band firmly based with his bass and 'conducting' activities. The band intro'd Smoke On The Water with a bit of Pinball Wizard as a tribute to John Entwhistle, one classic rocker leading to another.

What didn't I like? Well, they didn't play long enough and the set list was a bit predictable. I would have liked to heard Steve Morse's take on Child In Time, for instance. Or other gems like Mary Long or Pictures Of Home. But I'm really picking nits here, Purple were awesome - this was one of best sounding concerts I've ever been to, and they looked like they were having a lot of fun up there. Actually, I guess "superb" is a vast understatement...

Don Cashimere

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