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Reviews, Europe 2003

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Lisebergshallen, Gothenburg, Sweden
November 27, 2003

Truely, a lovely gig.
I had been warned by friends who'd seen DP i Stockholm, that Ian's voice was bad, and that Steve was overdoing his soloing. When it comes to Ian's voice, he had had a cold in Stockholm, but sounded really great in Gothenburg. He's got no chance of doing those 70's screams (he lost that more than 20 years ago), but apart from that, Ian really sang strongly and emotionally.
About Steve - I really enjoyed his playing. OK, at times he was really all over the place and over the top. But hey, when was Deep Purple ever about being humble? "Contact Lost" - so beautiful.
Good opening with "Highway Star" and "Strange Kind of Woman".
All "Bananas" songs were absolutely fantastic live (especially the masterful "Silver Tongue"), and among other highlights was "Knocking at Your Back Door".
Complaints? Yeah. Where were the unexcpected oldies? No "I'm alone", no "Mary Long". Just the standards.
Other complaints? No, not really.
By the way, Uriah Heep did a fantastic job as a vibrant support act, but I was surprised they didn't play one single song by the current line-up.
Heroes this evening: Trevor Bolder and Ian Gillan!
Hope to see both these bands soon again - why not on Sweden Rock Festival in June?
Daniel Reichberg

Absolutely fantastic! Thereís no other way to describe the concert DP gave in Lisebergshallen in Gothenburg, though it started by giving us in the first row a good scare.
"My God, Whatís wrong with Gillan?" Those were the words that went through my brain ≠ and a lot of us in the front, I found out later ≠ when he appeared on the stage. He did not look very well, like he was ill. And he had to struggle at times to get through the opening song, "Highway Star". My friend told me afterwards that he thought Gillan would collapse right there on stage. I donít know what was wrong with him ≠ and to be quite honest it was more the way he looked than how he sang. And already in the next song, "Strange Kind of Woman", he was right back on track and soon he looked like the magic energetic entertainer were used to again. My guess is that he was ill with something, and taken a drug just before the concert in order to make it through the evening. If so, thatís true professionalism!
Because he and the rest of the band gave a riveting, inspired performance that I wonít forget in a long time. Gillan was in top form, generously spreading new "Gillanesques" between songs and in top form. The best one of his banter was the intro to "Bananas", in which he gave a lengthy introduction to song explaining it was really about cinematographers. This entertaining nonsense would have made Douglas Adams green with envy...
He also introduced a new spectator sport ≠ the "Air organ" which we naturally all took to our hearts and merrily performed!
Then what about the music? Here are a few impressions:
A long time ago I sent my review of the album Bananas to The Highway Star. So far they have choosed not to publish it. In this I said three things: Most of the songs are very good, but the sound on the record is downright awful. I wondered if we were going to have to wait for a Glover remix, and looked forward to hear them being performed live (with better sound). Since than I have read (on THS) that Jon Lord also thinks the sound is bad, that Glover is planning a remix (although I know it was meant as a joke) and that Bradford is going to check up what happened at the Dutch record plant! Now - at last -I have heard some of my favourite songs from the new album with good sound. Because thatís what we got in Gothenburg!
It was a long time ago I heard so many new songs in a Purple performance, and I think thatís just great. "Bananas" is one of best DP songs ever, and the performance was flawless. Iím absolutely amazed by the guitar ≠ Hammond duel (it caused a lot of "Air-organs" in the audience) and Paiceís drumming to this.
Another highlight of the evening was "Doing it tonight" (which I also predicted in my review that wasnít published that it would be). The beat caused one of the younger members in the audience to rush onto the stage and climb one of the loudspeaker stacks and dance! It took the guards some time to get him down, and it was a silly thing to do in the first place because the stack wobbled dangerously during his dancing and could have caused a serious accident. But it made me remember the seventies concerts...
Morse was absolutely wonderful. He has to be one of the top guitarists in the world! "The Well Dressed Guitar" has never sounded better and was played in a furious tempo. Why, why, why isnít that released on a proper record, since it was recorded during Bananas sessions? (I really donít want Rotterdam Ahoy and canít afford Soundboard Series). He also played a lovely extended "Contact Lost" and made a furious intro to "Space Trucking" that was absolutely great. That was one of the best live moments from DP I've heard ever. And I've been to the concerts since the early seventies...
This was the first time Iíve been to a DP concert without Jon Lord, so I went with a sense of both dread and anticipation. Don fills in great though, and is a masterful keyboard wizard. He uses the synthesizer a lot more than Lord, and Iíve got mixed feelings about that. On one side I realise that the band needs to change its sound a bit when a member is replaced ≠ they did so when Morse entered, and only gained in strength from that. I know Iím going to annoy a lot of people, but this canít be helped. Losing Blackmore was good riddance! Loosing Lord was not. He was by his dignifying presence alone an important factor for the band's soul. And his playing was always impeccable ≠ a master performer. But Iíve got to hand it to Don. It must be very hard to fills Jonís shoes, and I think he does so with both integrity and skill. The only thing I wonít forgive him was using the synth in the "Perfect Strangers" solo. But I really liked his piano/synth solo. He did stuff there that was his and unique in his way, but at the same time true to the sprit of Jon. The "Air-organs" from us was there to prove this!
All in all this concert gives me good hope for the future. Deep Purple is still rocking, still one of the greatest live acts there is in the world for this kind of music, they are in a very creative and interesting phase in their career and they still look like theyíre having one hell of a good time up there on stage! And as long this is the case - lucky us in the audience!
Per Lundblad

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