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The Highway Star

French enthusiasm Toulouse

Last thursday, I held my 35th birthday at my thirteenth gig of the Deep, in the Zenith of Toulouse and fourteenth in the Musik Halle in Rennes (South & North-West of France). “Crazy!” as said Paicey, You ‘right mate! I’m mad about that music…

During the day the band came in town for some signatures, but they hardly did it. They really don’t like that. Ian Gillan did it like a machine answer to any question or sound from the people by “nice”, “fantastic”, and other poor words he used to abuse… the other tried to smile at least. Ian Paice and Roger Glover did it trying look with a little more enthousiastic.

They’d better not come in that kind of place where hundreds of people just waiting for a smile, a pen scratch and some other consideration, … touch the beasts!

Of course they’re not freaks, but the organisation of that kind of event is always the same: from the staff to the people “only one thing to sign”, “make quick”, “go faster” and the band have to do the job they’re not made for … smile, signature, simulation of listening of what you’re sayin’ ,.. anyway as fans we always say and ask for the same thing … So Deep Purple is much better as a band of Rock, doing their thing!

The First part passed they blasted the place with “Picture of Home”, followed straight by “Things I Never Said”, very punchy . Ian Paice is great, Roger looks healthy, Steve having his smile sticked on the face and knitting with the strings (it seems so easy watching him…), Ian Gillan looks much better than in the afternoon, he finally does the job he ‘s the best at.

The sound is very heavy even if it’s not too loud, just what it needs for that room full of people (perhaps more than 8 000), really crowdy. “Into the fire”, the lights turn in deep red, even if “Things …” goes well, not a second after the first note the crowed answers straight, moving like they can, whistling and shouting to thanks the band.

“Strange kind of Woman”, such a pleasure to hear it again, even if Ian doesn’t play it in the old way, however, at the end of the song he does some little game with Steve.

The phenomenal Rapture take his fly, a lot of guys singing the words with Ian, so good … Fireball burst high sustaines by Paicey & Roger, “Wrong Man” blows out a bit in the start, the sound is not very good at that time. Steve Morse gets some trouble also with his guitar, when he comes back the difference is undoubtable.

He follows with the moving solo of “Well dressed GUITAR” punctuating his virtuosity by some old famous good riffs & solos (Stairway to heaven, Sweet Home Alabama, and others). “When a blind man cries” comes to calm down a little bit on the blue light (where’s the house?). “Lazy” started in Lord way by Don, who stands in the back waiting for showing he can do it too, … and he does !

The infernal machine is far from sleeping, the magic five are in the mood for good, “Kiss Tomorrow… ” comes to shake the unprobably deads (not tonite) Roger and Steve lead the car.

Don plays with the audience, on the sound track of Starwars, “TOULOUSE” (anthem of C. Nougaro, french singer born in the city and very famous here) , blasting litterally the mates with his engines and helicopters. But the paroxism is still not reached, the crowed jump on the firsts notes of “Perfect …” shouting on “Space Trucking”, such goodies… concentrate of young blood by old kids in their music….

The “Highway Star” coming in a easy way by Roger and Steve at first, just before exploding in a burst of pleasure, followed by “Smoke”, the audience eat it, hitting it of the feet.

Then comes the encore, some two or three minutes after they leave the sacred stage, they’re back to hammer “Hush” and “Black Night”. We got some solos in the middle not too bad, sorry…, very “Amazing” as Ian G. always repeated. No joke the performance of Glover & Paicey uprose all my remains of memory.

Ian P. still burning strong as an Olympic Flame rolling on his drums with a so easy way, after the canons, little snarrows could have come land on the snare during Ian softly stroked it.

Roger tryed to misguide us on the song following just before the firsts strike up the melody when Roger did come back onto the original song. End of the encore after the band made shouting the thousands purple-men (or warriors I have known these nights).

End of the encore, too short we all want more of the Deep, and we shout again during the lights are turned on, the music comes from the radio, a bit loud to hush our mouths … ok …. it’s the End of the night every body go to sleep….
No, no, no (already when I was a kid I didn’t want to go, naughty me ! )

So we ended that night my friends and me at home drinking and talking about that special night it was to hear and see the DEEP, til 7 am after there’s no more Champagne, Beer, Wine, Rhum. We drank quiet a lot that night to cekebrate the Band, the show, the good mood we had, …etc.

The day after, far after the sun rose, we had to drive to Rennes 800 kilometers farer, so the heads were reverberate the echo of the corridor and of the night, the kind of that you’d like it runs deep and fast. After some coffee, orange juice and a shower we were more presentable and I looked more respectable with my black polo Deep Purple.

The atmosphere were religious during the first hundred miles, nearly no word, no music, …. we had to remember the sound of the night. Then suddenly one reminds a move, a sound, a shout and the smile is back on our face, everything comes in our eyes, the lights , the sound, the music, the crowed, the atmosphere…. we did it, and will again !

The music came back in the car, …. Total Rapture (!) of the Deep til the concert place. Once again Ian P. smash our ears, and eyes starting with Picture of Home Roger is under coke or what ? He jumps all around with his bassgun, a glance to his old mate Gillan, “You don’t look well ?” or something like that, Gillan response “not too well, I didn’t have a good sleep” or nearly, .. consternation … what ? Not very healthy our “Lunch Wrapper”????

During “Things I never say” he’s not at his top but still sing and shout in a good way, “Into the Fire” follows Ian forgot the words in the middle of the song, laugh with Roger and Steve goes in the back and come again to another try (falling nine times, standing ten).

“Strange kind of woman” wake him up better also because the audience runs deep and loud, much better kids in the room and quiet much healthy, jumping and shouting loud.
The same set list as in Toulouse but the sound seems better, the atmosphere warmer and the public younger.

The difference is on the solos with “La Grange” from ZZ Top, and from the Beatles “Day Tripper” for Steve Morse’s Well dressed Guitar. Don strike again before Perfect and try to play the britain anthem from Alan Stivell Tri Martolod. He mustn’t have his glasses and look very concentrate on the partition so he doesn’t wait long enough the public sing and come back on the Marseillaise. His little jump behind his engines is really good to see. The burst we got by the machine during the helicopter time is sensible in the lungs, wich impressed very much.

The introduction of Highway Star gets better and better, I wish I could go to every concert just to hear that start. Roger hit from deep the strings showing great, walking to Steve who response ad libitum. The both are playing great joking together having fun and showing it. Just before to really start the song, Steve show some trick to Roger trying to pull him to another direction but Roger driving to the star miss it and laugh turning around. Such a moment ! Pure joy for us in the audience up warmed.

Another one, … on the encore of Black Night, Roger (him again !) starts alone again, I’m out of my body, too much for me, I can’t retain the melody going from my mouth, shouting in the silence,…. oops, some blokes come following, … double oops…

Roger stop playing….. approaching in my direction and with his sense of humour, he strech the guitar bass and the plectrum to the voices, then he goes to backward of the stage changing his guitar and comes again to follow that he started with that time all the people helping by the voice. He’s jumping on the stage, dancing nearly flying over the audience…

Great show again that night, so we went celebrate it as we had to in the hottest pub in the world near Rennes, in Dinan “La Truye qui file” (spinning sow), where the owner is a fan of good music. We shared here the two by two hours of pure happiness, Rapture we spent in the halls of concert, the sound system playing it loudly !!!!

The two last times I saw them , the year before at the festival “Vieilles Charrues” and in Paris in 2002 with Lynyrd Skynyrd in first part that was really too short, they could’nt have expressed their talent. Here we were back in the time of Purpendicular, with all the energy af a shooting star. It would have been good to hear some of this record too. But I imagine there’s a time to end a concert, anyway Rosa, the Waltz, Ted, Cascade would be welcome next time, … plus the others we got of course.

To conclude, I did nearly 2 000 kilometers for two gigs of the greatest & phenomenal band and I’ll probably do it again next time. Perhaps more gigs that time. Two nights are really different even with the same songs. Only the pleasure and happiness still stays.

Fred Chandevau

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