[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

No Paso strangers

Dio started the evening at about 6:40pm and played for about one hour. Last time I saw Dio was sometime in 1988 and so I was definitely starving for a live Dio concert. I was very impressed with the band, great attitude excellent musicians. They had a cool drum solo, great light show specially during Heaven And Hell. I think the keyboard player had a very low mix, could hardly hear him. I only wish Dio could have had more time to play, the set was way too short. For those of you wondering, Dio has not lost his touch, his voice is still superb.

Deep Purple
Last time Purple was in El Paso was in January 28, 1985 during the Perfect Strangers tour. So the long awaited moment has come... 8:10pm lights go out and the band comes out to the beat of Highway Star, which I think is the best opening song for DP. Great reaction from the crowd of about 8,000+.

Next they played Ted The Mechanic which got a good reaction although I don't think this song is as recognized here in the states. Of course Woman From Tokyo had the crowd off their seats, just warming them up for what's about to come. Organ intro to Lazy and seems everyone was singing along, the audience was really getting into Deep Purple. In fact Gillan mentioned he could feel all the great vibes coming from all of us.

They next played the new instrumental called The Well Dressed Guitar which was the first time I heard it. That song really jams, cool fast rhythm, it had a lot of people on their feet dancing. The only time the audience seemed a bit quiet was during Fools but not everyone knows of its existence. I'm glad they played Fools - it's actually a hard rock song except for the middle section.

Don Airey played a short solo with a medley of the star wars theme, then the crowd ruptured when they heard the Perfect Strangers intro. The audience was singing and dancing to the beat and quite a light show during the second verse.

Speed King literally rocked the house, the sound couldn't have been any louder and the crowd any wilder. Steve and Don exchanged riffs back and forth but no drum solo. The encore performance was Hush, and by now the crowd was ten times crazier than before but they proved they could go even crazier, and that was during all the riff raff from Steve Morse and all throughout the last song, Smoke On The Water.

Of all six Deep Purple concerts I've been to in the past six years (Mexico, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, San Antonio) this had the largest and wildest crowd. El Paso doesn't compare in size to the cities above but it sure has the best audience any band would want to play for.

The band sounded great, I miss Jon Lord up there but Don Airey kicked ass. His sound is different than Lord's but it has the quality to be with Deep Purple. Gillan's voice could not have been better - all the screams and high notes to perfection. Roger Glover on stage right with his bass guitar dancing around. By the way, great solo during Speed King. Ian Paice doesn't have a bandana tied to his head anymore like the past six years, he now has longer hair (did he dye his hair?) tied in a pony tail. What a great drumming machine he is.

We had backstage passes - or actually side stage passes. Steve Morse came out to autograph some pictures I had of him and myself we took last year in Dallas. What a great gentleman he is, he took time to autograph tickets from a huge crowd who made themselves toward him regardless of security concerns. We chatted for a little and when I asked him about Jon Lord's retirement he told me they had known for years of his plans to retire. Interesting.

Deep Purple - the greatest band in the world - I hope to see you guys again soon.

By the way I went back in for some Scorpions who closed the show but had no more energy. I left halfway to the set, came back later after the show ended. We met and took pictures with the Scorps as they were leaving the venue. Cool guys.

Set list:
Highway Star
Ted The Mechanic
Woman From Tokyo
Well Dressed Guitar
Pefect Strangers
Speed King

Smoke On The Water - great closing song.

Ozzie Carr

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