[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

Music over sports

This was my second time around with Deep Purple. My late winter/early springs are usually spent checking The Highway Star for that magical announcement - U.S. tour dates! Always hoping for a stop in Detroit.

As the date grew closer and the Red Wings advanced through the N.H.L. playoffs, I realized I may have to miss a game. The Big One, the clincher, the one where our Captain lifts the Cup for the third time in six years. I chose Purple.

I would leave my hand-held T.V. at home and head for The Knob, D.T.E. Energy Music Theatre. Traffic was heavy with Wings fans flooding into downtown. I was struck by the contrast of music idols of my childhood and the present. The lead story on local news radio last year was home town hip-hopper Eminem going to court over some weapons charge. This year Eminem angered muslim fundamentalists by portraying Osama Bin Shady in a music video. I was heading off to see my heroes, musicians with talent and class.

I arrived five minutes before Dio's set started. After grabbing a pop I headed down to the trenches. Last year I was in Row E center, this year I had gotten lucky with Row A! The crowd was sparse, with most everyone sporting Red Wing colors, Harley Davidson colors, or old concert t-shirts and me in a loud blue hawiian shirt.

Dio's set was blistering with an excellent mixture of old and new. I had seen Dio with Black Sabbath five times and well versed in all of his material from the first Elf album through his solo years. What a joy to see Dio's career highlights all in one set. Ronnie's voice was powerful as always and his band gelled into a top notch metal band. This is gonna be a great night.

Deep Purple. The stage lights went out with plenty of room down front to move around. Roger on the left, Mr. Paice behind his kit, Don just to the right, and Steve ready for the onslaught. And yes, the man whom I named my son after, Ian Gillan dressed in white. You know the set list from other reviews. The band breathed new life into the classics with a twist here and a new riff there. Well Dressed Guitar was a display of how old pros can blow away the current slew of tattooed, pierced, and half shaved grungies. I can't wait for the new studio release.

The last time I saw Don Airey on stage was dressed in a black gothic robe in a castle window over Ozzy Osbourne's stage in May of 1982. Don did a great job of filling a very difficult position. This band is on the upswing as opposed to the melt down of when Steve Morse joined. Watch the Come Hell Or High Water DVD next to the Total Abandon DVD to see the difference in the band. Don played a wonderful classical filled keyboard solo. That more than made up for a clumsy transition into Knocking At Your Back Door earlier in the show. The look on his face was priceless. It was a smile of the cat that ate the canary. It seemed that Don is still searching for what will work and what won't. It is exciting to see the process live.

Half way into the second chorus of Hush as the crowd and I sang along, I realized the only member present at the recording in 1968 and tonight was Ian Paice. I wished I could have seen all the different line-ups. I'm glad to have seen the latest version, MK IX?

I made it home in time to see the final five minutes of the Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup winning game. It was only Thursday night, this is gonna be a great weekend!

Sean McCrystal

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