[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

Able cousin takes over from fave uncle

First of all, let me start by saying (bragging?) that I don't know how many times I've seen Purple. 20 times? 30 times? I started in late 1970 by seeing the In Rock tour in Coventry, England and have gone from there. In the early/mid 70s if there were multiple nights in or around the Detroit area them I'd go to all of 'em. With 30 years hindsight I'm really glad I took advantage of this as I witnessed some legendary shows.

Not only have I been tolerant of the multiple line-up changes in DP, I've actually been enthusiastic about them as I thought they were the catalyst for some great music. Who can doubt that the addition of Ian and Roger was the turning point for the band, and their contributions to albums like In Rock and Machine Head were crucial. The Hughes/Coverdale era produced one of the finest ever Purple albums in Burn. Tommy Bolin helped craft an underrated classic with Come Taste The Band and recently Steve has proved the continued viability of the group with Abandon. (In Rock for the 21st century methinks.)

But Deep Purple without Jon Lord. Hell, a Deep Purple without Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore. Deep Purple with only Ian Paice (a fucking great drummer but a non-singer, non-front person, mainly non-composer) from the original Tetragrammaton band. A Deep Purple with only Ian Paice left over from the mighty Mk 3 lineup. I went to tonight's show with, for the first time, a great degree of uncertainty and apprehension. Was it really Deep Purple I was about to see?

The show kicked off at 6pm sharp with Dio. Seeing Ronnie dressed in black, singing about witches, dragons and rainbows and flashing the devils sign while bathed in the late afternoon California sunlight was a bit surreal and a tad amusing. All told though, he was great and his adopted hometown gave him and the band a rapturous welcome.

I'd heard about the quick changeover time so I got a quick soda and headed back to my seat for Deep Purple. (About 10 rows back dead center.) At 7:30, without much fanfare, I see Don appear behind his keyboards, Little Ian sit down behind his kit and the rest of the guys come out from the wings and within seconds we're into Fireball.

Better writers and reviewers than I have given you the detailed minutiae of the set so I won't attempt to reiterate that. Here's what they played as well as a few comments:

Set list:
Woman From Tokyo (The usual "not about Tokyo and not about a woman either" line.)
Ted The Mechanic
Well Dressed Guitar (Struck me as more suited to a Steve solo album than the next Purple opus.)
Knocking At Your Back Door
Space Truckin' (After some noodling about the opening chords were heavy, sharp and precise enough to induce heart palpitations in some of the more senior members of the audience!)
Perfect Strangers (Still epic. The crowd goes ballistic when the lights are turned on them for the "a thousand warriors I have known" lyric.)
Speed King (incl. It's Now Or Never)(Yep, Paicey's one handed snare roll is damn impressive.)
Smoke On The Water (w/All Day And All Of The Night)(Considering that this was the 3,243rd time they've played this it was rendered with unusual gusto and aggression.)[Have you kept count? ;^) Rasmus]

Encore: (No "Hush" due to time restrictions.)
Highway Star (Awesome drag racer revving noises from Steve.)

Several of the past reviews have stated that the audience was somewhat subdued for Purple in favor of Ze Scorpions. Not in Los Angeles, kids. Everyone (everyone!) was into this big time. The group were rightfully treated like the returning heroes they are. When the lights were turned on after the short one song encore, there was more than a small amount of displeasure in the audience. Everyone (everyone!) would have been very happy if the guys could have doubled the set length.

Don's playing was masterful. Recent reports of him not fitting in or looking uncomfortable are, to me, dubious. I think most of us hardcores are just thrown by the sight of those Hammond riffs not emanating from a big teddy bear looking, pony tail wearing, sunglasses sporting guy who's been there for almost 35 years. Jon's contribution to DP went far beyond his playing abilities. Through all the previously mentioned line-up changes his very presence assured you "don't worry, you're in the right place. Settle in 'cause this is gonna be good." Now our favorite uncle ain't there no more. But a long lost second cousin that we've never known that well is, and he may become family.

So, did I see Deep Purple tonight? I honestly don't know. It did occur to me that whenever the band previously switched personnel we had a studio album to listen to first before witnessing the band live. And those albums (In Rock, Burn, CTTB, Abandon) were milestones for the group. The jury in my house is out until the next studio album with Don is released. I'd like to think that this too will be another milestone.

David K. Tedds

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