Reviews, Europe 2003
Fairhall #5 (or Pavillion #5), Zagreb, Croatia
December 06, 2003
Strange Kind of Woman
Knocking At Your Back Door
House Of Pain
Doing It Tonight
I Got Your Number
The Well Dressed Guitar
Keyboard Solo (including Ala Turca)
Smoke On The Water
I am a long time Purple fan, but this was my first Deep Purple gig ever, so it was a very special occasion for me. It turned out to be the best concert I have ever seen in my life. I have a lot of their shows on video and dvd (with and without Richie), and still they managed to top everything I have ever seen or heard, most recently inculding Iron Maiden and the Stones. In one word amazing. The band is on fire.
The show started at 8.00 AM with Hard Time, a Croatian hard'n'heavy group, somewhere between AC/DC and Motorhead. They were quite good, and played until 8.30. My only complaint was that the sound was very muddy, propably because of the hall.
After them the tehnicians got the stage ready for Deep Purple. I noticed that Ian has a nice purple rug on stage to keep things warm and soft for his feet J They started at 9.05 with Highway Star, which got the crowd so excited that it was almost a chellenge to stay alive when 5 or 6 thousand people started singing and jumping to the song! After that came SKOW, and Ian Gillan started telling a funny story made up of song names, which he kept going through almost the entire setlist. There was a really funny part in which he was saying that they were living in this cave and there was a knock on the back door which they didnt have. Of course KOBD followed. Hilarious stuff.
There has never been such a charismatic and entertaining frontman as Big Ian. And his voice was just INCREDIBLE! It seems that he just keeps getting better and better with age. I almost started crying when he started singing, it was goosebumps stuff. Incredible. He is still the best singer in the world, and at the age of 58 his voice is so much better than of any other singer in the planet, young or old. And the rest of the band were just as great as him. Steve is a guitar geniuos, he makes everything look so easy, and just has this beautiful sound. His solos are well thought out (unlike some other banjo players, nomina sunt odiosa), and his presence is so powerful (he was smiling a lot, of course J) Roger was keeping everyone together and played with such precision and ease that it was a joy to watch him (especially since I'm a bass player too). Ian Paice is and will forever be the best drummer in rock. That says it all. He drums like he is a 16 year old with all the experience in the world.
For many of my friends the high point of the show was Don's keyboard solo. He looked like a mad scientist behind his organ. He was really inspired and ready to have a good time. It makes no sense trying to describe it, just go and see it for yourself live.
Other great moments for me were KOBD, Space Trucking with everyone singing (Ian also said how he enjoyed that), Perfect Strangers, and the sad Contact Lost. It was very touching. Doing it Tonight lifted the mood after it, but it still left a strong impact on me, hearing it live. It was so emotional. Thank you Steve.
The encores were Hush and Black Night, and I think Ian was ready to start singing Fever or Hit the Road Jack after Hush, but the crowd started the melody of Black Night so we didn't get to hear him sing those tunes, but he didn't seem to mind. I also think the band enyojed the crowd's reaction to the whole concert and I felt they were trying extra hard because of that.
Having a good time is just what Deep Purple are doing. I could really feel great vibrations coming from the band, and it is so great to see how much they like each others playing and company. This was not an »autopilot« concert like Maiden and The Rolling Stones. Deep Purple knows how to treat its audience and music, and thats why I love them! They are not relics of the past and the new songs were treated just as good as the old ones. There are not many artists who can acomplish that. Please come back to Croatia soon!
p.s. Does anybody know what was the black thingy Ian Gillan had on his cheek somewhere in the middle of the set? He only had it on for about half a minute.
Well, YES!!!, I was there!!! ;-) It was great, 20-25000 people, great show, old guys still have it. ;-) During old classics, all the people were singing lyrics and melody together, so you hardly could hear the band, that was something I never saw before, wow.
Once more, I have to tell you that was really really great show that night. Frankly, I was little scared that Fair-hall will be half-emtpy, or the old-guys will look old and tired. Luckily, all that was completely wrong, and everything was perfect, just perfect! ;-)