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Furious applause – Brussels

I arrived at 19:10 at the sold out venue. First things first: getting me a new T-shirt. They are quite nice, I’ve seen a lot worse Deep Purple T-shirts (with dragons, etc.) The long sleeve I bought is a real nice one, it is one of the most beautiful ones I have in my Deep Purple-collection of 25 (not counting Rainbow and Blackmore’s Night). The special tye-dye shirt is great as well.

This was the first time in my Deep Purple gigs career of 20+ concerts that I was not wearing one of my t-shirts or my special patched (Deep Purple and Rainbow) jeans jacket, first time that I was at a gig without Johan (he had to work)[You mean the Johan? Regards! 🙂 – Rasmus], and the first time that I was sitting down in chairs (except for the Concerto tour).

Normally I am standing in front of the stage among the wriggling crowd. Am I showing my age? Most of the people sitting around me were the same age or even older, except for some young couples snogging. The standing area front stage was 9/10 filled. It was rather cold in the hall, but I reckoned that this would change soon enough.

Why do people whistle when the hall-lights go down? Right of the strike of 20:00 drums started beating, a nice warm bass-sound. But the singer… He walked on stage, acting like he was the main act. I did not know who they are and don’t care to know neither. The drummer was not bad, and the guitar player knew his stuff, but I did not like the songs. During the first one, there were some strange explosion like sounds through the PA.

I was sitting there looking quite amused by the silliness showed by the band. By the time they did the second song, I already was having a headache. I felt quite ashamed that a part of the band came from Bruges (as the singer told us). Luckily I had to sit through this for only half an hour. And yet they received quite a descent applause. Maybe the audience was showing their grattitude that it was over?

At 20:45 the standing area was packed, after all we were with 8.000 (Gent in 1994: only 3-4.000. On the other hand: Genk 1985 – my first Deep Purple concert – that hall was filled with 13.000 fans).

At 20:57 another quick pee-break. You could hear a lot of noise in the hallway, but it was just noise, nothing recognizable. But suddenly one could hear huge cheering, and I was too late to see the start of PICTURES OF HOME. I wondered how Roger would look without his bandana, bald?

Left and right of the stage were some big video screens, the left one just did not hide Paice. It also was the first time that I saw his drum kit filmed from up above, I did not know he had that amount of stuff. (I do have almost all their videos and DVDs, but simply had not found the time to watch them properly).

Pity that the video had not the right picture size: seen on that screen, Steve had a very short guitar. But it was a great addition, seeing him pulling and stretching those strings, and seeing Don fiddling around with his fingers and even his footwork. At the end of the song he was interpolating something á la Jon Lord, can’t remember what exactly though.

Nice touch to play a not known song THINGS I NEVER SAID and though hardly no one ever heard it, this drew quite a good response from the audience. Pity it is not on the album, if this happened a few years ago, I would have bought the Japanese one as well, but it looks like I am a bit mellowed in my ‘collecteur’ madness. The Hammond is quite high up in the mix, good to hear it properly again.

Gillan: ”Good to be back here, love the warm welcome. We did not do it.” WRONG MAN. Roger was having a great time. I first heard this song in Düsseldorf and hoped it stayed in their live show, so it did, a marvellous rock song.

“I was in a bar once, he told me his story over a few beers. What was he called? Eduard? Commonly known as Ted”. TED THE MECHANIC. Good to hear that one again.

LIVING WRECK. What a start! This IS Deep Purple, the Deep Purple I am fan of. After Steve’s –too short- solo, Gillan was a bit late with his singing. Yet I was slightly disappointed, maybe my hopes were set too high after reading the earlier reviews?

RAPTURE OF THE DEEP had a powerful 70’s intro. This really has Perfect Strangers-potential. Gillan no longer bangs on the bongos, but is using a skinless-tambourine. Was I the only one between the sitting people (around me) who was singing and moving around on the music? This song was applauded real loud.

Gillan told us stuff about “beautiful bodies, caterpillars turning into butterflies…” BEFORE TIME BEGAN. The first minutes of the song I was thinking that they could loose this one live, the audience stood there à la what-is-this? But during the second part of this song: WOW! Strange, I heard this song quite a few times already, and still it has to grow on me more? At the moment again I am listening to it, and it sounds quite different on the CD.

The next spoken remarks of Big Ian had too much reverb on his voice. Can’t remember what he said. But the songs were CONTACT LOST and WELL DRESSED GUITAR. these are becoming classics. From where I was sitting I had a great view of the clapping hands.

These songs went straight into LAZY. I missed the good old Hammond intro. For a loooooooooooong time this was one of my favourite live songs, but this time… hmmmm… were they going through the motions? I don’t know, pity. But the crowd went into overdrive.

“Thaank you, and now… the most eclectable of all entertainers… Don Airey” Said in a tombstone-voice. His intro was Klaus Shulze-Tangerine Dream-like. Delicious! The crowd was clapping along on his piano tunes, he was doing stuff we were used to hear from Jon; and Star Wars – which was, according to reviewers, missed at previous concerts on this tour. This could have gone on for a long time. I really was sitting there with a happy smile on my face!! The sound was really powerful: our seats were shaking.

Of course this changed into PERFECT STRANGERS which was greeted with great enthusiasm. Did I already write that I had great views of the raving crowd? Nice to sit so close to have a nice view of the stage, and seeing the audience and video screens at the same time. Though my bum starts to hurt (one is never satisfied *sigh*). And, as usual, I missed the green laser beams, this song simply demands them. Don’s solo had a different sound, did I like it? Dunno.

Wait a minute, haven’t I read in other reviews something about “Back to Back” Did I miss that one? Or didn’t they do that?

“Thank you, you are the 6th member…” JUNKYARD BLUES. This could become a second Lazy, it sounded very similar, but fresher. It somehow reminded me of Ritchie’s mistakes between Smoke and errr… Strange Kind of Woman, or was it Woman from Tokyo?

Had to take a pee-break again, and when I came back and heard the music, I had not the faintest idea what they were playing, and still can’t remember. It had a great drum sound (according to previous reviews it could have been “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” but I doubt that. I am afraid that I have to wait until other reviews appear on the net).

“The last call for the flight to England, thank you”. And though I am fan of Deep Purple since 1972, I have written down in my little notebook: Highway Star, but it was SPACE TRUCKIN’ (see, I really have the Blackmore-syndrome) Again there was too much reverb on Ian’s voice. The drum part in the song could have been a nice short solo, but no. Pity. The crowd was absolutely ballistic.

I also want to thank the security in the hall: every time people were standing in front of us – the sitting ones – the security gently send them away. Thank you!

A short splendid bass intro which Steve picked up (and now I was loosing it completely, am I really getting Alzheimer?) what song was that again? A nice playful up tempo thingy. More more more! This is the reason why I became a real Deep Purple fan for! I missed my long hair (I am a kind of skin head, partly because of my job (head chef in the army) and partly because long hair looks silly when it starts halfway your skull J) I was sitting there really headbanging! Oh, it was HIGHWAY STAR! Peerless!!! Gillan was swirling around his mike standard like a real hard rocker, which drew wild response from the crowd, the place really went nuts.

Suddenly the lights went down, a few seconds of silence, and then… world’s most know chords: SMOKE ON THE WATER. Again too much reverb, or was it the echo off the hall? This was the first time I noticed Roger’s Rickenbacker (I don’t know I’ve ever seen or had taken notice of it).

I must say that Don really was the hero of the evening, he worked his ass off.

At 22:30 the cheering went louder and louder, after a minute:

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here together to rock and roooll” (said in a preacher’s voice): SPEED KING. This is the first time I see the girl, sitting left to me, move to the music. After this magnificent song Ian shook hands with Steve, like he really meant it. And YES! We got a drum solo, even the one hand roll! *Nananananaaaaaaaaa*

Thank you Deep Purple for reading our reviews and taking them into account.

Gillan again was interpolating some oldies amongst them, like Mary Lou, and after a whisper with Steve a piece of “Strange Kind of Woman”! Thank you!!!

After a very short but furious applause (due to lack of time between the songs) it went straight into BLACK NIGHT with an awesome Glover. Again Ian was playing – a bit ridiculous – the high air-organ, but most in the audience are mimicking him.

At 22:52 it all was over, 5 minutes under a 2 hour show. I liked the part where they stepped –on the video screen- in their gearboxes.

I took no pictures as it was forbidden, though the whole evening people were using their cell-phone-cameras. And like it was forbidden to smoke – every second you could see flashing a lighter.

They left out “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” and replaced it with “Speed King”. Can’t remember if they played SIFLS.

I stayed a bit on my seat to avoid the crowd, had another beer and just as I arrived at my car I received a text message from Johan asking me how it was.

Michel De Pourcq

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