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German reviews 2002

Hoarse truckin'

As I live in Gelsenkirchen I took the opportunity to see Purple a second time in the wonderful amphitheater, the stage of which is built right into the Rhein-Herne-Kanal. As you see on http://www.amphitheater-gelsenkirchen.de/bilder.htm, the water flows around the stage, but luckily this time they decided to cover it (unlike in 1999, see http://deep-purple.com/reviews/99-2.html), so you could see the band really close. This turned out really good (for me), as I didn't get very wet when the heavy rain started, complete with all thunder and lightning a hard rock fan could demand.

Although most people behind had a hard time enduring the long rain, it seemed to me the thunderstorm added to the great atmosphere of the concert, especially when Don Airy began to imitate it in the intro of the next song. This was after a short discussion backstage, where the band apparently decided to continue the concert. Most visitors decided to stay also, and rewarded by a very good concert. It seemed nearly sold out, so there might have been about 4000 people forced to stand up from the stairs - but who would sit down at a Purple concert anyway, except in, maybe, Royal Albert Hall? [Ask the Americans - they sit down at everything. Rasmus] And so it was perhaps one of the greatest light shows a band ever had ;-)

Luckily I knew Dio would start around 7pm, so I arrived shortly afterwards. As the girl I was with also knew this I don't fully understand Klaus Selbach's complaint, if he really arrived at 6pm. There must have been some kind of pop-classics mix band named The Planets, but as I was told (and from what I saw in the local TV news the other day) it really wasn't worthwhile. Dio was okay, but I came to see Purple. And we saw them already when they arrived in a car, as we came in through the backstage area.

As the girl was more interested in Dio than I was, I went to get some beer, which turned out a bit tiresome. When I returned I was told she had been backstage again - and introduced to the band! Of which she knew not one by name! Well, excuse her, she's just 22 years old (I'm 37).

I didn't wear a watch, but they started to play just about in time as announced. And drove us wild with an inspired, professional performance. The crowd replied, singing and shouting like crazy, I won't be the only one who is hoarse today - and the band really seemed to enjoy the atmosphere, which was clearly improved by the possibility to come so close. The contact was so good that it even seemed like Don Airey pointed at me, smiling, when they did Hush later on and I improvised some high-pitched notes with my voice loudly, as if he was to say 'Hey man! You're a real musician, too!' ;-)

I am, indeed, and as a keyboard player I admit, I never could compare with Don. On the other hand, he also knows he's not Jon Lord. But just in a few solos I missed some inspiration. Now and then it seemed he tried to overdo pace and technical brilliance, as if he wanted to compensate for not being Jon. On the whole, he did a great job with the band and without, when showing off his very own skills alone.

I was a very little bit sad Steve didn't do this - in 1999 he did. But of course he played superb as ever and had his solos in the songs. They played a new, fast instrumental song called The Well-Dressed Guitar, I liked it. Superb question-answer solo of Don and Steve (in another song). Steve tried the same with Ian Gillan, but Ian mocked him up by singing things Steve couldn't repeat on the guitar. He raised his shoulders, but it was fun. Must have been Speed King where Steve rocked side by side with Roger's bass guitar towards the crowd, first on his side of the stage, then on Roger's. They had a really good time, and so did we.

Paicey and Roger had their solos as well, but this report gets too long now. I can't remember all songs, but I was very happy to hear Ted The Mechanic and Somebody Stole My Guitar [Are you sure? Rasmus] - I like these. Others I recall are Woman From Tokyo, Space Truckin' , Lazy (great intro), of course Smoke On The Water (fits well here), Perfect Strangers, Black Night, Speed King, and Highway Star. A rather conventional set much like their first gig here, but it rocked.

Don Airey appeared again afterwards for autographs, but I resisted begging him to ruin my nice backstage badge. After all, I know I was there. Roger appeared, too, but he was talking to some fans who also managed to get backstage. They took photos with Roger, and I didn't want to disturb - he's such a friendly gentleman :-)

Clemens Reifenrath, Gelsenkirchen, Germany

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