[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]


This was Ian G's catch phrase for the entire set and it pretty much summed up the show. First let me say that this is an entirely professional tour package. The breaks between bands were of reasonable length, and each band put forth a highly quality show. Dio began promptly at 6:30 as has been the case for just about every show on the tour from what I have read and the man has the voice. I must admit, though he was good, the newer material was a little lost on me. I had the Holy Diver album but haven't really followed his career to a great extent. For me at least, the highlights of the show were the Rainbow and Black Sabbath songs and of course, the seminal Rainbow In The Dark. Interestingly, the band cut the solo from Man On The Silver Mountain. What a weird thing that was to me. I also wonder why a band doing an hour set feels the need to do a drum solo and a guitar solo. Not that it was bad, just seemed a bit, well, unncecssary. As opening bands go, however, they were goo! d.

Next up, The Scorpions. I had seen them before in the 80s heydey and thought they were ok. This show was solid from start to finish. The drummer (don't know how new he is to the band) added backing vocals and the rest of the band were singing backup as well. When I saw them in the 80s, it was Klaus alone. This added a tremendous dimension to what they were doing. In fact, at this time I was worried that Purple might not live up this. The crowd was on its feet dancing, singing along and generally having a great time. There was no mention by them of any current or future recording projects (at least that I heard). Wonder if their fans are reacting the same way as we are here at The Highway Star? But again with the drum solo... guess it is just a rock'n'roll tradition. This guy had a huge gong behind his kit and I don't remember him ever hitting it. Quite different from the days of Carl Palmer when he bashed it incessantly.

And now, what I paid my money to see. The house lights go down, the stage is lit dimly with Purple floodlights. There is the sound of a jet plane (but no video as has been mentioned in prior reviews). Then the unmistakable drum intro of Fireball. The sound is the Purple sound of old, a wall of power. They rip thru the song flawlessly, though it appears Gillan may be struggling just a bit. The crowd is on its feet for the most part, and this is not a radio friendly song. It appears that there are a number of Purple fans here. The end of the song has a few of the riffs from Into The Fire.

Next up, Woman From Tokyo. The crowd is now fully with the band. Gillan seems to be getting stronger and the song is performed to perfection. And then Ted, a true story except for his name and occupation. This song goes over surprisingly well. There is no point really in going into the setlist anymore as it really is just about the same as the prior shows.

At this show, it is obvious that Purple is unique in what they do. The diversity of their set is not lost on the crowd at this show. Though a scattered few people left before the Purple set, few if any left after they started playing. I was surprised at how Blackmore-ish Morse's guitar tone was. Don has proved a capable replacement for Jon. Paicey and Roger were there usual selves. Gillan seemed to get stronger as the night wore on. I was doing some math on the material presented and it goes as follows:

In Rock-1 song
Fireball-1 song
Machine Head-4 songs
Who Do We Think We Are-1 song
Perfect Strangers-2 songs
Purpendicular-1 song
Shades-1 song
Next album-1 song

Missing from the Gillan catalougue-HOBL, TBRO and Abandon. All things considered, this makes perfect sense as these are the least successful albums both with fans and commercially of the Gillan albums. A longer set could have included a number of two from these, but really I don't think they were missed. The setlist was perfectly paced and the solos were of reasonable length and quite impressive.

I attended this show with my 12-year-old stepson and he was totally blown away by Well-Dressed Guitar. He was also totally into Highway Star. I think Purple will have a new generation of fans with the new album (said to be recorded this winter). All in all, my two tickets for this show cost about 65 dollars and I got more than my money's worth. For those of you who don't think this is a valid Deep Purple line-up, I suggest that you listen to your Made In Japan and watch the old videos. I will continue to support Mark VIII.

Rick Groves

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