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Heroic return in Beauvais

I didn’t catch the band in Paris last time (January 2006) because the tickets were too expensive. It was the very first time since 1985 I missed a DP show near where I live.

The last show I saw in June 2003 during the summer tour disappointed me with its lack of magic and its short and conservative setlist. It was also the first time since Steve Morse had joined the band.

So when I found that DP were playing in Beauvais (very easy to get to by car) and that this time it wasn’t so expensive, we decided (with my wife) to buy two tickets. We wanted to buy one for our son too (11 years old) but DP have often played very loud so we forgot this idea.

The venue was completely full and it was hard to find some place to watch from. At least on the stairs we found a nice wiew of the stage.

The band entered and started with Pictures of home and Things I never said (from the last album). The band was smiling, enjoying to play and received a warm welcome. Then Into the fire showed a very impressive Gillan.

Strange kind woman, Fireball, Rapture of the deep. The sound was good, the two screens on each side of the stage really add interesting views of the show.

When a blind man cries was very emotive. The parade was great and a good crowd-pleaser, and – surprise – it introduced The well-dressed guitar.

Don Airey is really a part of the band now and plays incredibly well. All the members show a high energy level.

The battle rages on is a nice surprise! I’ve always liked the song, and the interpretation this evening was superb, far better than during the 1993 tour.

Then Space truckin’ and Perfect strangers, and the weakest moment of the night: Higway star, which doesn’t suit Gillan’s voice of today. Even on an evening like this, where he’s in top form, he suffered and changed his parts to deal with the song. As a result he sounded exhausted.

But not for a long time, because he’s singing very well during Smoke on the water, and the two encores of Hush and Black night.

The show lasted about two hours.

Tonight Deep Purple were my heroes again: generousity, happiness, high energy, technical ability, a near perfect show.

I think they should kick Highway star out the show (like they did with Child in time some years ago) and replace it with a new number – Bananas or another one – which would suit Gillan’s voice better.

I would have been pleased to discover more new songs live, like Wrong man or Back to back or Before time began. Anyway, Big Ian really impressed me tonight, and the others too!

I don’t see any many other artists of this age showing as much power: Robert Plant still does, but who else?

Some friends of mine went to see Toto in Paris, and it was a big deception (and they’re younger than DP).

So, thank you the Purple guys, and see you next time!

Christophe Duflot

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