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International Forum, Tokyo, Japan
March 20, 2004

Silver Tongue
Woman From Tokyo
I Got Your Number
Strange Kind Of Woman
Knocking At Your Back Door
Contact Lost
Steve Morse guitar solo
Well-Dressed Guitar
Don Airey keybord solo
Perfect Strangers
Highway Star
Doing It Tonight
Pictures Of Home
When A Blind Man Cries
Space Truckin'
Smoke On The Water


It's nearly spring here in Tokyo, but it's cold and rainy today (it even snowed briefly in the afternoon). Inside the International Forum, however, it's hot with anticipation. Looking around me, I see the average age of the crowd (including myself) is rather high. But however old we are on the outside, tonight our minds are still the same as when we were kids. In fact our determination to enjoy a Deep Purple show, I believe, is stronger than back then.
The show kicks off more or less on time, with Silver Tongue from their new album, Bananas. I think this is the first time they've chosen a post-84 reunion piece as the opening number, and it's a proof that Deep Purple is no nostalgy band but a band in present progressive tense.
The quality of their performance is as high as usual, and Ian Gillan's voice, which is often a cause of fan's anxiety, is in a wonderful shape tonight. Since '93 they have always included in their shows one or two old numbers which had never been performed live previously, but this time they don't. Instead, the classic numbers are performed in closer style to the original versions than usual. The keyboard solo in Highway Star, for example, is more or less the same as the studio album version, making my mind do an instant time warp to twenty-odd years ago, when I was a school boy...
Numbers from Bananas are wonderful too: the title track, Bananas, needs no explanation; Doing It Tonight is a song that only Ian Gillan as he is now could have come up with, and it's a joy to hear it live. I must admit I do miss Jon (I've got used to Purple without Ritchie by now :-), but at the same time I find Don Airey is a very able musician and he more than fulfills the big task as Jon's replacement.
Space Truckin' is one of the last numbers in the main set. Here Ian Paice's drumming shows particular sharpness and excellence, showing us once again how important his syncopated drumming is in Deep Purple. For me Ian's is the absolute ideal hard rock drumming.
Hush was introduced by Ian Gillan as a song from 1968 (36 years ago!), and it makes me realise how grateful I am to be able to see this band live now, in 2004. I was in tears when I saw them again in 1985, something that I had always believed never would happen. This time I am touched and filled with another kind of emotion. Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin have long been legends, but not Deep Purple. I want them to remain in their present progressive form rather than become a legend. Whatever, this was a truly superb concert by a truly superb band.
Lastly, I strongly hope, too, that they will re-introduce Ian Paice's drum solo in the set. I think many Japanese fans feel the same way as I do.
Kazunori Takahashi

For some reason Deep Purple always seem to come to Japan in March these days, and I saw them at the same venue, around the same date in both 2000 and 2001.
The setlist was more or less the same a Osaka, including Perfect Strangers and Speed King, but they didn't do Black Night, which was a little disappointing for me.
The performence was exciting, showing us all the strength of this line-up. One thing which I find fascinating is that the numbers from Bananas have obviously evolved further through many live performances, they sound even more polished now than on the album.
The keyboard solo in Highway Star was faithful to the original studio version, unlike Jon's recent live versions, and it gave me a lot of nostalgic pleasure to hear it played that way. I hadn't heard Space Truckin' or Knocking At Your Back Door since the Japanese tour in 94, and it was wonderful to hear them again!
Gillan was barefoot as usual, his high-tone voice was fantastic, and Paicey's drumming was great as usual! Roger and Steve looked like they were really enjoying themselves onstage, and Don, whom I've seen live for the first time, gave us excellent Hammond sound.
Although we miss Ritchie and Jon, for as long as Deep Purple exist in the current line-up, I'd love to see them every year.
Thank you very much for a wonderful show tonight, please play Child in Time next time.
Manatsu Tsuchiya

The house lights go down, and the new (ex-Rainbow) keyboard player Don Airey's keyboard sounds off. Thus began the Deep Purple concert amidst huge applause from the audience.
Deep Purple's sound is full of speedy energy. The second number is Woman From Tokyo. For hard rock fans worldwide, ours must be the most well-known city in the world. The entire audience heats up. I see quite a few Westerners among us.
The overall sound is very clear, esp. Steve Morse's metalic blue guitar . The show continues with numbers that have long become rock classics. Ian Gillan, dressed all in white, still has a powerful voice, including the high tones. It's a pleasure to watch the golden rhythm section from the Mark 2 era, Ian Paice and Roger Glover, in their energetic forms. The band are in flourish, following the release of their latest album Bananas and a successful US tour. I hear they are going on to Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Beijing...
After the show: Jon Lord's leaving the band was a sad news to us, but this is a line-up with a big potential for the future. Steve Morse, who took on the difficult task of replacing Ritchie Blacmkore in 1994, has been part of this band for over 10 years in the mean time. I would love to see this band live again in a couple of years' time.
Takao Sasada

The first Japanese DP tour since the Concerto shows with the New Japan Philharmonic three years (how time flies!). The memories of Ronnie James Dio walking off stage and shaking hands with the fans (including myself!), while singing with gusto with DP's backing, come back vividly.
The show tonight is at the same venue, but Jon Lord, who had played the main role in the last shows, is no longer with the band. Some ask whether Deep Purple could be called Deep Purple without Ritchie and Jon, but the band has lost none of its brilliance, they proved to be still a top-class act. It was a great two-hour show consisting of numbers from the new album Bananas and many old classics.
Great Meister Ian Gillan's singing skill and his dynamic and colourful expression are absolutely first class, even if one cannot deny that his high-range is not what it used to be. He did look like he was straining himself during some of the old classics. While emitting an unspoken message "excuse me, you can't really sing a song like this when you're as old as me, but I know you want me to sing this, and I can hear you cheering and feel you sending me energy, so I'm going to do my best - I'm going to give you everything I can", his singing was so charged and punchy, it was enough to burst a blood vein! At the same time, while singing the classic numbers, he varied the style of some of the lines, and seemed to be enjoying himself. But it was during the new numbers that he seemed to be having real, big fun singing. I suppose that was because these songs were expressions of himself as he really is now, and I really enjoyed watching and hearing him.
After each song he came up with endless jokes and humourous chats, but they were often overlapped by Ian Paice's drum intro to the next number before he was finished with the chats - his back, turned to the audience, said "oh no, we're already going into the next one?!"
I'm not sure if I remember them all correctly, but among the best of his chats were: "Ian Paice is going to sing 'When A Blind Man Cries' next", "To conclude tonight's programme, I'm going to play a tambourine solo", "Thank you, I can feel you sending down great feelings, it means a lot to us. Thanks you." And while he was mumbling endlessly along the lines of "...the next one is a ballad, it's very quiet, very sad, very tragic and..." the cymbal counts cut in and the band went straight into Speed King.
Ian Gillan really amazes me. I mean, how many other 59-year-olds can sing Speed King? Watching him, I begin to think of him as my life master. I can imagine him, after singing onstage, drinking huge amounts while complaining to the others "why won't you let me finish my jokes for once?!", eating more than enough to make up for the energy he's used up onstage, then possibly having a massage before sleeping like a log.
Ian Paice is an incredible drummer. His drumming is relaxed while he's backing the others, but he clinches all the important points like no other drummer can - whether it's the cymbal or the snare drum he's hitting, he does it like a sharp knife. That he cuts in while Gillan's still not finished with his banter must be an unspoken friendly message "come on, don't waste your energy on useless jokes, let's get on!" As my friend, the bassist from my band, and I left the venue after the show, our first words were "isn't Ian Paice amazing?" I think we had exactly the same conversation three years ago.
And Roger Glover. He's such a star, even in his old age! He simply looks great, as he's always done. I feel Deep Purple will continue to exist for as long as Ian Paice and Roger Glover remain in the band. No, I'm not even imagining a scenario such as Ian Gillan leaving, David Coverdale joining in his place for a reunion of the Mark 3 line-up.
Don Airey kicked ass. He didn't just reproduce Jon Lord's sound, he seemed very happy to be part of Deep Purple and managed to express himself in this constallation.
As for Steve Morse, I can only say that he's a superb, top-class guitarist. The other members, as well as the former guitarist, are too strong characters for me to objectively talk about Steve. (I'm sorry, Steve, but you really are a wonderful guitarist.)
Every time I see Deep Purple live, I realise they are truly a first-class band. Having seen Iron Maiden recently, I've made an interesting discovery about these two bands: whereas Iron Maiden's music reflect their fight against their physical age (they may be getting physically weaker but they keep their youthful attitude in mind), Deep Purple accept their age and express themselves as they are, while continueing to fight - against themselves of the old days. I wonder which paths we should take with my band? I suppose we are still ok with the former. Life is a battle, in any case. We must fight on.
Nick Moroishi


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