[% META title = 'Tour Reviews' %]

Don's the one

Kudos to the Purps for enlisting the amazing Don Airey to replace the retiring Jon Lord. Though a Purple without Lord or Paice may have seemed inconceivable to me a few months ago, I now know that the band, always stellar regardless of the membership, can continue to thrive for many moons to come.

This is not to downplay the significance of Jon Lord's or Ian Paice's contributions to the history of the band, and indeed, rock music itself, but Purple has always had the resilience to continue when key members leave the fold. Their choices are nearly always good ones and Airey is the consumate musician, the perfect blend of cool and class. Being a former member of Blackmore's Rainbow, Ozzy's Blizzard of Ozz, and having worked with Black Sabbath, Don is the perfect choice for Deep Purple. He fit right in both musically and in terms of personality, and I look forward, with great anticipation, to hearing new recordings of Mark VIII.

After a mind-numbingly good performance by Dio and an electrifying bit of rock from the Scorpions, the audience was good and ready for Purple's unique brand of hard rock. (Come to think of it, no less than four former members of Rainbow rocked at Jones Beach that night. Ronnie James Dio, Jimmy Bain, Roger Glover, and Don Airey all worked alongside Ritchie Blackmore in Rainbow at some point.)[As did Purple's current keyboard tech Mickey Lee Soule. Rasmus]

Before hitting the stage, Purple showed a brief film in which a plane bearing the group's name touched down on a green field. I think that the plane was filmed in 1976, and actually contained Tommy Bolin, David Coverdale and the rest of Mark IV. Can anyone confirm? [Unless they filmed the plane they used earlier this year in Russia, then it was probably from the band's 1974 US tour. Rasmus]

Fireball was first, and it was a scorcher. Roger Glover's bass shook the ampitheater during his solo. The band treated us to a bit of Into The Fire at the end, and then gave us Woman From Tokyo. The complete list is below.

Ian Gillan was in fine form, clad in white and barefoot. He kept his words to the audience short, as the band's time was limited. I'm still dying for a lengthier performance from the band, but I'll not complain one bit. Steve Morse was blazing as always, and he gave the audience a bit of Gary Glitter's Rock And Roll, Part Two during Black Night, demonstrating a bit of humor as well as technical prowess and musicality.

It was great to see Steve share a microphone with Gillan for Hush. Don Airey's earth-shattering solo included bits of John Willams' Star Wars, New York New York, Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue, and Holst's Mars, the Bringer of War, which is similar to Rainbow's Eyes Of The World.

Ian Paice was as Ian Paice always is, sometimes frenetic, laid back other times, and musically and technically perfect all the time. Gillan's comment about it being the hundredth anniversary of the writing of Hush was killer, and they finished with Highway Star, as they have been doing for quite some time.

All in all, though I missed Fools, Pictures Of Home, No One Came, and some of the other rarities that they gave us last year, I think the energy and overall vibe of this gig was the best ever. This was my fourth experience with the Purps since I first caught them at Giants' Stadium in 1988.

Long live the Purple.

Woman From Tokyo
Ted The Mechanic
Well-dressed Guitar
Knocking At Your Back Door
Black Night
Don Airey's solo
Perfect Strangers
Speed King
Ian Paice's solo
Smoke On The Water
Highway Star

Charlie Koci

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