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German reviews 2002

Shredded to bits

Nice summer scenery: a beautiful evening, a perfect little open air venue in Hamburg's Stadtpark with acapacity of about 3.500 people.

Luckily, I skipped The Planets and entered the area when Deep Purple hit the stage with German punctuality at 20.00 pm, right on time, opening with Fireball in a pretty untight and somewhat noisy version.

I've seen countlesss Purple gigs by now and must admit that this one was the weakest ever! No inspiration, the band was never as tight as they used to be before, even two years ago and last year with the Orchestra they were a milestone of virtuosty meets feeling, joy and swing. What happened?

The obvious reason is Don Airey, as opposed to Jon Lord he tends to be a more percussive and dissonant, off-harmonic player, so when Lord always found his way back to memorable melodies, Don simply shreds away. Which makes him the second band member with that approach towards the songs: Morse and his unique over the top style was always a good counterpart to Lord, maybe the perfect combination, but now the entire structure is out of the balance. It's not so much the overkill of virtuosity, Steve used to be far worse in that case, but the entire band feeling was like it falls apart on stage.

The second reason is the lack of new songs, it was almost like bringing the lowest common denominator on stage, in this case a bunch of oldies, even the great songs from the Purpendicular phase were missed almost completely. Highlights, nevertheless, were Lazy and When A Blind Man Cries, low points were Black Night, Highway Star, SOTW, Woman From Tokyo - fragments of great songs, executed live on stage.

One final question: why this tour?

Dirk Stornebel

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