[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]


Having missed much of last year's show due to traffic backup going into the hall, I was determined to not let that happen again. I got sixth row seats, thinking this might be the last chance to see DP.

Having read other earlier reviews, I knew to be there by 6:30 if I wanted to catch Dio's set. I brought a long-time friend who'd never seen any of the bands on the bill. Dio didn't disappoint. Although I only know a handful of his songs, his energy was infectious, and although the crowd was just arriving when he started, those who were there were in his corner, and he and the band were obviously enjoying themselves. Songs included, Push, Rock N Roll, Man On the Silver Mountain, Long Live Rock N'Roll, Holy Diver, and Last In Line, which suitably ended the show, and has always been a favorite of mine.

Although it was nearly 90 degrees out, Dio and some of the other members were wearing what looked to be velvet outfits. I'm guessing they needed to be rehydrated during the drum and guitar solo spots which were nice, although not needed. I would have preferred a performance of Rainbow In The Dark, but it was a great set nonetheless.

Then after about a 20-minute changeover, Purple came on with Fireball, and I (and my friend) couldn't have been more pleased. The energy level was there from the start, and they had the crowd in the palm of their collective hand. From there, Woman From Tokyo, with the keyboard bridge which Don handled well.

A complete surprise was Knocking At Your Back Door, which I didn't realize they're still playing, but certainly good to hear and see. Also The Well-Dressed Guitar, which featured some interplay between Steve and Don...it's definitely a relationship they're going to have to build on, if the band is going to have a solid future of more than just playing the hits.

Other songs (in no particular order) Lazy, Perfect Strangers (always great lighting), Smoke, Black Night and Speed King with encores of Hush and Highway Star.

They really seemed to be enjoying themselves with Big Ian in barefeet all through the show, wearing something that looked like pajamas. Guess he wanted to beat the heat. Roger in his pirate outfit, and rarely without a smile. Little Ian was as always solid and a real pleasure to watch. My friend, who's a drummer, remarked how crisp his playing was. On the whole, one of the best shows I've ever been to, and of the five DP shows I've seen probably ranks second, behind the 1987 Blue Light tour, when I was in the fifth row at the old Market Square Arena.

While some say good musicainship is the mark of whatever incarnation of Purple, I would submit that it's the interplay of keyboard, guitar, drums, and bass that really makes or breaks it. Don and Steve are technically very adept, but in terms of feel, spontaneity, and knowing which way the other will go, that still needs some work. I'm a huge Lord fan, and during the show I tried to judge Don as independently as I could, and he passed, although I don't think his predecesor would've played the Star Wars Theme during his solo spot. It was effective, the crowd enjoyed it, but it was kind of cheap. Otherwise his playing was what I would expect for DP.

Big Ian was in great voice, and has that relationship with the audience that only a select few have. Finally, I found it somewhat ironic that although they had the Abandon set behind them they didn't play any songs from it. And only Ted from the classic Purpendicular. I'm sure it was time constraints to some extent. I, and I'm sure many others, miss the days of the two-hour shows. I hope those will happen again, and who knows, maybe if they come back to Hamilton County, I'll be right there with them.

Didn't stay for the Scorps. How could we? How can you follow the masters?

Wade Kiffmeyer

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