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Eight highlights in Melbourne

Attended the first Melbourne show on Saturday night. The opening act, Mandrake, were woeful. A total waste of half an hour that could’ve been tacked on the end of Deep Purple’s set time.

Status Quo were pretty good. I think I enjoyed their set more than I thought I would, although, they had more amplifiers on stage than chords they played for their entire 80 minute set.

Now to the main attraction. Let me tell all those who are yet to catch Deep Purple on this tour that they are in sensational form. The performance was impeccable. The highlights for me were:

1. Opening their set with Paicey doing that amazing drum roll at the start of Pictures of Home. For him to go straight out their and pull that off cold is remarkable.

2. Wrong Man really rocks live. A good heavy riff that got the crowd going, even though most of the crowd didn’t know the song.

3. Gillan sang Living Wreck very well. He let out an almighty scream at the start of the “…you said you were a virgin” verse. Blew me away. That man can still sing!

4. Gillan also really seemed to get into Before Time Began. The build up to the heavy riff in the middle was excellent live and the last verse was very powerful. A great song.

5. Really enjoyed Don Airey’s solo set which included Waltzing Matilda, Advance Australia Fair and Star Wars. The man is a marvel.

6. Space Truckin’ was probably the next highlight. Paice drives that song beautifully.

7. Highway Star is always a treat. It’s the quintessential Deep Purple song for me. The rest of the set I’ve heard a million times.

The 90 minute set was not long enough as they had to drop several songs, but I hold the promoter to blame for this. It’s not Purple’s fault.

The mix was a little… well… mixed. Drums were too loud initially. Gillan’s voice tended to be lost at times in the mix. Don Airey (just like in 2004) was simply not loud enough. Could hear Steve Morse just well enough but he probably could’ve been a touch louder too.

The highest highlight for the night was probably after the show when I was waiting outside the backstage door and got to meet Don Airey, Ian Gillan and then Steve Morse. I’d like to give them laud for the way they handled themselves. They were extremely friendly and made sure that everyone who was there who wanted an autograph got one and everyone who wanted a photo got one. They answered all the questions and were very polite to everybody. Well done gents, I was impressed.

All in all, an excellent evening. Thanks Deep Purple.

Set list was as follows:

Pictures of Home
Things I Never Said
Wrong Man
Ted The Mechanic
Before Time Began
Living Wreck
Contact Lost
Steve Morse Solo
The Well Dressed Guitar
Don Airey Solo
Perfect Strangers
Space Truckin’
Highway Star
Smoke On The Water

Black Night

Mike Burrows

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