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Cognoscenti longed for Mary

Killing The Dragon
Egypt (incl. Children Of The Sea)
drum solo
Stand Up And Shout
Rock And Roll
Man On The Silver Mountain (incl. guitar solo, Long Live Rock'n'Roll)
Holy Diver
Heaven And Hell
Rainbow In The Dark

Dio started promptly at 6:30 and finished at 7:30. The sun was up for his entire set, so any atmospheric lighting effects were lost. He looks not a day older than when I say him on the Holy Diver tour, but bassist Jimmy Bain is the very picture of dissolution.

New song Killing The Dragon was an effective opening number, with a sound reminiscent of the Campbell-era glory days and thematically consistent with his entire career from Rainbow onwards. Egypt was introduced as ďa song from The Last In Line, this one,Ē and everyone cheered because they expected the title track from that album; I was a bit disappointed to hear it was Egypt, instead. Fortunately, new guitarslinger Doug Aldrich dominates on this live version, casting the familiar riff in a newly-sinister light, eclipsing the glossy 80s synth feel of the original. Children Of The Sea is interpolated abruptly after a few minutes, to great applause, then itís back to Egypt, finally wrapping up with the end of Children Of The Sea.

Next up is a new song, Push, which was pretty pedestrian but featured a new handshape thrown by Dio during the chorus - pushing away from himself. An overlong and totally wasteful Simon Wright drum solo follows, eating up minutes that could have been devoted to actual music.

The crowd got back into it for Stand Up And Shout, and seemed to tolerate new tune Rock And Roll quite well - itís a cracker, with a riff derived from Zeppelinís Kashmir (friendly advice to Ronnie: drop the preachy intro about post-September 11 Ďcensorshipí of rock and roll.

Man On The Silver Mountain, as always, is played far too fast, but the crowd goes bananas, especially with the inclusion of a tempo-proper excerpt of Long Live Rock'n'Roll. Much as we admired new axeman Doug Aldrich, we would have preferred another Dio classic (Shame On The Night, Neon Knights, Stargazer were all shouted as requests) over his otherwise-excellent guitar solo showcase.

All was forgiven when Dio introduced Holy Diver, and the excellent run-through of that essential number was followed by a thrilling Heaven And Hell, though somewhat truncated - Ronnie chose to omit the Ďangelí portion of his middle-section Ďangel/devilí discourse, so it was straight to Hell for everyone! A quick dash behind the cabinets, and they were immediately back out for a rendition of Dioís signature Rainbow In The Dark. Again, the entire act took place in broad daylight, but Dio brought down the house and the entire audience, hillside and all, rose in worship of the great man.

Woman From Tokyo
Ted The Mechanic
Well Dressed Guitar
Mary Long
Black Night (incl. Hit The Road Jack, Rock And Roll Part II)
keyboard solo (incl. Star Wars themes)
Perfect Strangers
Speed King (incl. Itís Now Or Never, High School Hop, guitar/keyboard duel, bass solo)
Smoke On The Water (incl. Heartbreaker, Mississippi Queen, La Grange, Wonít Get Fooled Again, Voodoo Chile, I Feel Fine, Strawberry Fields Forever, Free Ride, Moby Dick)
Highway Star

After the blistering performance of Dio, Deep Purple came and seemed tame by comparison for much of their set. It wasnít until Perfect Strangers that the band really caught their stride, although a singular version of Mary Long had the cognoscenti exchanging delighted glances.

Don Airey turned in a fine performance, Leslie speaker cabinet and all, but heís still no Jon Lord - although my ignorant friends were none the wiser. My friends were perceptive enough to note that, half the time, Deep Purple was playing songs by bands other than Deep Purple, giving the set somewhat the feel of a revue. While I think him hilarious, said uninitiated buddies found Gillanís antics and stagecraft most off-putting.

Clearly visible in the wings on either side of the band were groups of females, ranging from skanks to gorgeous blondes, dancing and singing along, proving a major (yet irresistible) distraction for the entire performance. New song Well Dressed Guitar sounded like classical scale exercises for Don and Steve.

Other than Mary Long, which was worth the price of admission alone, Deep Purpleís set was almost a carbon copy of the set I caught last summer, when they did the shed circuit with Lynyrd Skynyrd. I personally am tired of the switch-the-radio-dial intro to Smoke On The Water.

Sorry to say, but Dio blew Purple off of the stage. A major overhaul of the setlist is in order (my out-of-the-box suggestion: throw in some Mk 3 songs, now that Glover will be associated with them). It was passing strange to see Deep Purple with only one original member onstage...

We didnít stay for the Scorpions. We would have liked to have heard The Zoo and Breakout, but couldnít bear the thought of Big City Nights, Rock You Like A Hurricane, Winds of Change, etc.

David Montgomery

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