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German reviews 2002

Sell-by date fast approaching

It was the 8th time I saw a Deep Purple concert - and it was the first time, I left with mixed feelings.

I arrived on time, because when I bought the ticket, they told me, the gates would open at 5pm. Actually they opended at 5.45, one hour later The Planets started their short half-hour-show. They were pretty good, but most seats were still empty. I don´t know about the capacity of the amphiteater in Gelsenkirchen, I think, it may have room for about 8000 people.

At 7.45 Dio started his one-hour-show. There were a lot of Dio fans in the audience, the gig was very well received, people also liked - unlike what some of the US-reviews said - the drums- and guitarsolo.

By the time Deep Purple entered the stage around 9.30pm the amphitheater seemed to be sold out.

So, what can I say about the gig. They were good, really good. As always they seemed to have a lot of fun on stage, as much fun, as the audience had. Highlights were When A Blind Man Cries and Highway Star - the best versions I heard for a long time. Big Ian was in good form, maybe not in his best. Steve, Little Ian and Rog were splendid as ever. During Speed King Rog gave us the longest solo I ever witnessed from him.

From the beginning of the show there were a lot of flashlights around - but not all of them came from cameras. And as soon as Space Truckin' started, a thunderstorm broke out. Within seconds - even before you could open your umbrella, if you had one - you were wet to the skin. It wasn´t raining cats and dogs, it was raining elephants und rhinos. I thought people might run away, but nearly everyone stayed, it even seemed like the rain would raise the atmosphere. Big Ian told us, we were crazy.

Space Truckin' was followed by Don´s solo - and he started it off with I´m Singing In The Rain, he ran this into Beethoven´s Ninth (I think), snippets of the German National Anthem and others. Although for me the solo was too short (as most of them this day, except Roger´s and Little Ian´s), it was very impressive and showed that Don is the right man to follow Jon. He also left his own fingerprints in songs like Lazy and Hush. The band tried hard to feature Don this evening - and it worked.

So, all in all it was a great, an outstanding concert.

BUT: I fear Deep Purple are going to become the best Oldie-Band on the planet. Only one song from Purpendicular, none from Abandon. In comparison to last year´s concerts they dropped No One Came and Fools (what a shame), instead we got Fireball, Knocking At Your Back Door and Space Truckin'. So there were a only very few changes in the setlist. Maybe they didn´t have enough time to rehearse the newer songs with Don, but in the past I could be sure to get some surprises in the show.

It´s high time to record the new album and change the setlist completely. On the other hand, maybe they are just doing what a great part of their audiences wants. Because before the encores someone behind us told his mate: "I miss a lot of songs. They haven´t played Highway Star, Strange Kind Of Woman and Black Night." But I missed Watching The Sky, 69, Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming and Rosa´s Cantina...

Even my wife, who isn´t a big DP-fan said: "It was good for me, to hear songs I am familiar with. But they should also have played newer ones, they are becoming an oldie-band."

Second complaint: The set lasted only 100 minutes. In Europe we are used to at least two hour shows. Did they stay too long in the States? The next gigs will show. Maybe they wanted us to get home early, so that we could avoid a flu. Because, although the rain began to fade after ten minutes, as soon as we reached our car, we took off our drowned clothes and drove home naked.

All in all: DP is still one of the best rock bands around, maybe even the best one. But - please give us new stuff!

The set list:
Woman From Tokyo
Mary Long
Ted The Mechanic
When A Blind Man Cries
The Well Dressed Guitar
Knocking At Your Back Door
Space Truckin'
Perfect Strangers
Speed King
Smoke On The Water


Black Night
Highway Star

(Maybe not exact the right order, cause the notes I made also drowned.)

Friedhelm Wenning

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