[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

Fooling around in Phoenix

Fantastic show - shortened sets.

Ronnie James Dio/Jimmy Bain:
Songlist similar to Las Vegas, minus Rainbow In The Dark. Highlights were Children Of The Sea, Long Live Rock'n'roll, Man On The Silver Mountain, Heaven And Hell, plus Stand Up And Shout and Holy Diver sounded great. Doug Aldrich is a fine guitarist but lost his sound a few times and we were treated to a longer drum solo by Simon (who am I touring with now?) Wright, last seen in these parts with UFO.

Huge surprise was the inclusion of two Uli Jon Roth era songs, We'll Burn The Sky and In Trance which are excellent, non-formula songs composed by the very talented UJR. No Michael Schenker sightings this time (he usally plays something with them when they are in his (adopted) home town. Scorps are tight, Klaus hit every note, James Kottak (ex-Kindom Come) on drums adds a heavier sound to their hits, but his drum solo was long and as boring as it gets, but probably rests Klaus's vocal chords. Also played Coming Home, Bad Boys Running Wild, The Zoo, Coast to Coast, Tease Me Please Me, Dynamite, No One Like You, Black Out, Big City Nights, Still Loving You in approxiamately that order. Nothing relatively new, which was a relief for the many fans that haven't bought their latest few albums, such as myself.

Deep Purple:
I was worried about them following two Arizona favorite bands, but armed with talent to spare, confidence, ear to ear grins, and a great sound crew, they delivered an excellent set. Steve Morse is the best american born rock guitarist going (happy retirement Eddie Van Halen!), Don Airey's sound was crystal clear, probably up further in the mix than I've ever heard Jon Lord's keyboards, Ian DID sound better than the last 18 years, and Roger and Little Ian were wonderful as usual. Fools was OK, but there is many more songs that would probably fit in better in this heavy rocking tour. They didn't play Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming, otherwise the set list was the same (no major complaints).

I just saw Morse a couple of months ago on the Dixie Dregs tour, he was awesome that night, but the jazzier stuff just isn't my cup of tea, I prefer his playing with Purple and compared to the last few times I've seen this line-up, this was his most free, aggressive, but also fooling-around-playing I've witnessed. He took the band through two minutes of Honky Tonk Woman (taking the chorus vocals with Ian), a few bars of Little Wing and Voodoo Child, a note or two of Aint Talkin' 'Bout Love, a few bars of Crossroads, one minute of Mississippi Queen, which really rocked, a few seconds of Day Tripper, a few moments of Heartbreaker, leading into the solo section of Stairway To Heaven, before ripping into SOTW. The crowd really got into Highway Star, Perfect (Street Rangers) Strangers, SOTW and Hush.

Ian was barefoot and quite energetic, spends a lot of time over by Steve (Dio spent alot of time next to Jimmy Bain as a comparison). Steve hops up onto the keyboard riser alot to dual and admire Don Airey's work. As far as Don not being up to Lordy's abilities especially with the Hammond 'feel' sound, I doubt if Jon could play some of the runs on the Collesseum stuff that Don did with Gary Moore.

Dio and especially the Scorps will be pushing Deep Purple to play very well on this tour, don't miss it!

Tim K.

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