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Roger the Angel

Just woke up following the Deep Purple concert at the E-Center in Salt Lake City last night. I'm no music critic, but an old Deep Purple fan from way back. I played in a band in high school and we did many DP tunes that were always favorites. I was treated to the concert by my 18-year-old son, also a Deep Purple fan, as a Father's Day gift. I have not followed DP on a regular basis since the early 70s, so I was unaware of their history since then. I prefer to enjoy my old albums at home and remember them as they were; as I loved them.

First off, let me say, without hesitation, Dio sucked. Who are these guys? I know I'm just an old fart, but that was just plain noise. And their lead singer...?!? I was not impressed. Sadly, I think the mixing left a lot to be desired, but the music was bland and un-interesting. They could have 20 or 30 minutes, instead of the hour they hogged, and let DP play a few more songs. My son totally concurs.

Also, I should add, there were apparently far more fans there to see the Scorpions, which is sad, in my view. They played the final set, which, after four numbers, was no more my cup of tea than it was when they were popular. My son turned to me and said, "Well, we saw what we came to see. Let's go home." And we did.

I must admit, I was a little apprehensive when Deep Purple took the stage. Having not followed them for years, nor having any idea who was even still in the band, I wondered if it would be some mere shadow of the band I knew. Roger Glover struck me as someone's grandpa, a throwback from the Hell's Angels. Ian Paice didn't look a day older than the old Machine Head album cover. However, to see Ian Gillan, (who I believe was leaps and bounds beyond David Coverdale), stroll out onstage, I figured I had died and gone to heaven. Even in his baggy pants and Hawiian shirt, looking an awful lot like an old Beach Boy, you couldn't miss the distinctive voice. (Remember here that I am 46 and was a mere teen when these guys influenced my rock and roll days in the early 70s).

It was obvious that Don and Steve weren't originals, but hey, three out of five ain't too bad 30 years later! (I really wish Jon Lord had played the keyboards, though.) (Sorry, I sound like I'm complaining too much!)

The band started out with a song I was unfamiliar with. But it was very distinctively Deep Purple. They played an hour and 15 minutes, injecting two or three numbers unfamiliar to me. However, great classics, (in my book), like Woman From Tokyo, Highway Star, Hush and many others flowed like I was back in High School. My son was as excited as I was as each number began. At one point, Steve started out playing a solo and broke into a number of different tunes, from different bands, each of which he stopped following a couple of measures. After about three 'mis-starts' my son turned to me and said, "They're gonna play Smoke On The Water!" - and they did.......

Steve did an excellent job following the lead lines I have grown so close to. Don was very accomplished on the keyboards, but no Jon Lord. He was a little erratic in some areas, but reasonably faithful to the originals. Gillan, whose voice I have always coveted, is obviously older, and doesn't have quite the unbelieveable range he once had, but still thrilled us with his guitar mimicking riffs and screaming lyrics.

Glover was not a show stealer, but always solid and effective in providing the foundation to the music. My son, who plays bass, was very awed by his playing so much of his stuff with a guitar pick. Ian Paice made it whole with his drums, as he always has had the ability to do.

Sorry, I realize this may not be what you wanted in a review. [Why not? A review is your impression of the show... Rasmus] It has been more me quibbling about my own memories of Deep Purple and the opportunity to see them again after all these years. But it was worth the time and money spent to revert back and enjoy some real solid classic rock and roll, from a time when talent and ability meant something.

I will be scanning the album rack for those missing titles in my Deep Purple collection the next time I hit the music store. What a great night.

Brad Barber

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