[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

Feeling Randy on the Rhoads in Mansfield

Ian Gillan said several times during the night that it was a superb night and a superb crowd. I agree. I love this band... I love this music... I hope that it lives forever.

I've heard all of the Blackmore vs. Morse arguments and all of the Lord vs. Airey arguments.... Bottom line - last night I heard my favorite songs (some of them anyway) by extraordinarily talented musicians. I'm as big a Blackmore fan as there is, and my hat is off to Steve and Don. May they go on playing and bringing us this classic music (and hopefully some new music) for many more years.

Now to the show: Center stage, about 14 rows back - great seats. Steamy New England night - 90 degrees Fahrenheit and very humid at show time.

6:30 sharp they took the stage and despite the lack of an early arriving audience, they played and sang their hearts out. By the second song people were running to get to their seats to see an excellent show. RJD has not lost a note. His voice was powerful and his band excellent at capturing and reproducing the sounds of Rainbow (MOTSM and LLR&R), Sabbath (Children Of The Sea and Heaven And Hell), as well as his older material from the Viv Campbell days. High energy level, great showmanship and good music. He is still moving forward at his age - amazing. He played at least two new songs: Killing The Dragon and Push.

Dio also showed a sense of humor. After stating that he was about to do an old Rainbow song (MOTSM), he leaned forward as if listening to a question from the front row, laughed and joked saying, "Yes, we got permission to play these songs." They tore into an excellent medley of Man On The Silver Mountain and Long Live Rock'n'Roll to an amazing crowd response. He even commented on the number of people remembering and loving the old Rainbow material after all of these years. In fact, I saw at least three vintage Rainbow concert shirts in the crowd, including my wife's with the Long Live Rock'n'Roll album cover picture on the front.

Ronnie seemed thrilled to be playing and even more thrilled with the crowd response - and did they ever get one! I have never seen so much disappointment when an opening act was leaving the stage. They finished at 7:35 and everyone wanted more. Best opening act that I've ever seen, and I once saw SRV open a show! Ronnie pointed out a young boy, there with (I'm guessing) his father and got him a drumstick. He loves his crowd and he did a great job entertaining us.

Started at about 7:50. Very good show. I'm not a huge fan, but I appreciated their energy and harmonized dual guitar leads. Klaus can still belt out a tune. Fun band - they played soccer (sorry, football for you folks across the pond) with the crowd throughout their set with an enormous beach ball that repeatedly hit them or flew over their heads. Rather than crush it or leave it for stagehands to remove, as many rock 'stars' would do, they kept kicking it back to the crowd. Great crowd response. They were very well received. In fact, so well that many were looking tired - or otherwise impaired ;-) - by the time our boys from DP took to the stage.

Deep Purple:
1. Fireball
2. Woman From Tokyo
3. Ted The Mechanic
4. Lazy
5. Well-Dressed Guitar
6. Knocking At Your Back Door
7. Black Night
8. Perfect Strangers
9. Speed King
10. Smoke On The Water

11. Hush
12. Highway Star

They absolutely exploded into Fireball at about 9:30. Great opener. Teased us with the riff to Into The Fire at the end. Please play the whole song next time - at least a verse or two. Great start. Ian's introductions to songs are largely the same from night to night from reading the reviews. Nothing new there except he did not refer to Hush as being 100 years old. Once again, he promised a new album and Well Dressed Guitar will be on it. Not sure of the choice of this song for a mixed audience. Purple and Morse fans certainly appreciated it, but others looked lost with the unfamiliar instrumental. This may be due to the length of the show and the tiredness of the audience in the heat, but a lot of people sat down during this and during Don's solo. Some had trouble getting back up despite the amazing set list.

They seemed to be having monitor problems or something during the first two songs. Steve and Ian were talking to one another and the guy running the soundboard while pointing the right front of the stage (from their perspective), but it sounded great to me. Woman From Tokyo was well received as always. You could see the Scorpions fans were not familiar with Ted. Damn US radio and their apparent boycott of Purple since the mid to late 80s. [Call them and request more Purple! Rasmus] It must be hard for Steve to only get two of his songs in the set and to see them get a weaker response - just because people haven't heard the tunes.

Any fears about Don not being able to create the 'Purple Sound' were laid to rest by phenomenal performances of Lazy and Knocking At Your Back Door. It was pleasant to see Don smiling from ear to ear and interacting with the band. Quite a contrast from Lord who seemed surly and agitated a year ago when Purple played the same venue. I remember this because during Knocking At Your Back Door, Jon seemed quite miserable and shortly after the show I read somewhere on The Higwaystar that he does not enjoy playing KAYBD in concert. Well, the crowd loved it last night and from there on, the Purple, Dio and Scorpions fans alike (except for the ones I mentioned earlier who appeared to be beyond recovering) stayed on their feet for a parade of wonderful Purple classics - and the magical memories that they evoke.

A couple of interesting notes: One fan threw a Randy Rhodes shirt on stage during Hush. Ian Gillan put it on the stage near Steve. Steve looked it over front and back during Hush (while playing, nonetheless!). He then had a tech scramble to help him get it on and wore it for Highway Star, posing for the crowd from the corner of the stage that the shirt came from. He found the owner and returned it after the music was over. Also, while Steve was on his side of the stage returning the shirt, Gillan was on the other side apparently enamored with someone. He laughed his devilish little laugh into the mic, pointed to her and said "I'll see you in two minutes, darling!"

As always, I wanted more. I hope they give us at least one more album and a full headlining tour with seven or eight more songs in the set. Thanks to Deep Purple and the other acts for a truly memorable show. As long as they keep coming back, I will show up.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! And of course - Long Live Rock'n'Roll.

Neal McCann

Back to reviews