[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

Satch a surprise

Having braved the wilting heat in Las Vegas two months earlier to catch the opening gig of DP's U.S. tour, I sat down front at the Reno Hilton amphitheater wondering what two months on the road had done for Deep Purple. Would they prove to be the athlete, coming to form after several months of 'training'? Would they show the strain of being on the road for eight weeks?

Indeed, DP had come to form. This show, my fourth DP concert, was by far the best I'd seen.

The entire band was full of energy and the music, as always, was tight. It was a joy to have the band open with Fireball. Paicey's drum intro woke up the crowd and the rest of the world. Roger's solo was thumpin' awesome!

Big Ian's voice was in perfect form. He hit all the high notes and his duets with Steve were perfection. Even Speed King, a problem spot for Big Ian in the past, was flawless and full of style. I was so glad to hear Big Ian in top form. He screamed "Yeeeeow!" and crooned Elvis. Perfection...

Don played the ivories with great confidence. His solo contained many snippets of classical, baroque and modern music (including the Star Wars theme). I would like hear a more continuous solo of less little pieces and more depth. None-the-less, Don is very able and seems to be a good fit.

Steve Morse played like fire. His attention to rhythmic nuances (something that RB could be quite careless about) brought out the best in every song. His interpretations of Knocking At Your Back Door and (especially) Perfect Strangers were impressive.

But the big surprise of the night was introduced by Big Ian: "In 1993 and '94 we were privileged to play with a wonderful guitarist. He lives just up the road, so we invited him over for a jam. Ladies and gentlemen... Joe Satriani!"

Joe Satriani walked out on stage and he crowd erupted! For over 30 minutes we were treated to two of the greatest rock guitarists on the planet.

I can tell you, leaning against the stage watching Steve and Joe jam together was pure bliss. Joe and Steve started by trading amazing riffs. It was clear that even Steve was in awe (!) of some of the tricks that Joe put down on his fretboard. Joe then finished the set with the band. Awesome!

This night's version of Highway Star deserves a special note. Watching Steve and Joe hammer out a brilliant improv of Blackmore's famous (and brilliant) solo, I was struck by the thought of the fretboard talent that has graced this band past and present. This musical moment, I feel, was symbolic of DP's greatness. DP has given us over three decades of brilliant music with more to come. They are legends in their own time.

Thanks Ian, Roger, Steve, Ian, Don and Joe(!) for the best show I have ever seen.

Long Live Deep Purple!

Set list:
Woman From Tokyo
Ted The Mechanic
Knocking At Your Back Door
Space Truckin'
Perfect Strangers
Speed King
Satriani-Morse guitar jam*
Smoke On The Water (without riffs intro)*

Highway Star*

*with Joe Satriani

James D. Strange

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