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WOW! Amazing! – Auckland

I’d last seen Deep Purple way back at Knebworth in 1985! I stood amid an expectant Auckland crowd. The lights went down. Huge cheers and then Purple hit the stage with Pictures Of Home …. note for note perfect with the original.

Steve Morse starting the beaming smile which would last the entire evening. The Kiwi crowd lapping up every moment of the show. Messr’s Gillan, Paice, Glover, Airey & Morse playing with a passion and an excitement which was clearly evident throughout the night.

Gillan, Paice, Glover and co may be getting on in their years, but they still know how to rock and know how to put on a show … a show which I had to say surpassed the 1985 reunion show!!!
The songs may sound differently with Morsey at the guitar helm … but he has added a new deeper dimension to the sound. He’s added excitement and laughter too … something Blackmore never had. The band gelled … the showmanship was superb. They looked like they were enjoying themselves and they appreciated the tremendous noise which the Kiw crowd gave them after each and every show.

The track listing included all time favourtie anthems – Lazy, Living Wreck, Perfect Strangers, Space truckin’, Smoke On The Water. Highway Star began with a a lighthearted ‘duel’ between Messr’s Glover & Morse …. amid smiles and banter which was sadly missing during the Blackmore era. Mixed in between were new Rapture Of The Deep Tracks Wrong Man, Before Time Began and Junkyard Blues.

The high point of the evening …. or more correctly, the highest of the high points of the evening was the Steve Morse GUITAR SOLO! More smiles and pure enjoyment by the new Deep Purple guitar maestro … and Contact Lost before one of the most amazing guitar solos I’d seen for a long time (forget Schenker or Vai or Blackmore or Campbell or Sykes) …. an unforgettable fifteen or so minutes of pure guitar magic which the thoroughly entertained Auckland crowd will not forget in a long time (and Mr Morse just kept smiling).

The low points of the evening were Things I Never Said & Ted The Mechanic … only because the tracks are not amongst my own personal favorites … they were still polished and well performed but they lacked the edge with the other more favourite tracks had.

Even Mr Airey got his moment with a keybord solo … not the same as Jon Lord … but still just as polished and entertaining … starting with strains of Mr Crowley and rising in crescendo to the Dambuster’s Waltz … appreciated by the crowd …

Sadly, all good things had to come to end. But then there were the encores … Hush, an Ian Paice drum solo and then Black Night. And then it was over. Well worth the money; well worth the long drive two hour home in pouring to Hamilton.

Let’s hope when the next album comes out they will revisit Auckland …. for a repeat performance (please)

Matthew J Henderson

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