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Insanely tight and highly recommended

Others have covered the set list, the weather, the vibe, etc., so let me agree with those comments. I’m a huge fan of both Deep Purple and the opening band, Steppenwolf and was very excited to get a chance to see them both again.

John Kay/Steppenwolf played a tight, short set that had a little something for everybody. The ‘Wolf sounded great and is still as vital today as ever. I wished they had played a little longer but the set was still smokin’!

Purple hit the stage at dusk and opened with a killer rendition of “Pictures of Home”. The band was in fine form and this tune, as did many others, sounded just like the album – it was spot-on perfect and exciting to hear!

The stage background was nice and clean, no gimmicks, a big purple carpet for Ian Gillan to stroll about while delivering a stellar performance. The band was insanely tight! Every stop, every harmonized lead was absolutely perfect. This version/lineup of the band seems to be the tightest of all and the song selections touched every era of the band’s career. The Atlanta Chastain Park crowd certainly got their money’s worth!

One of the mid-set songs, the title cut of the new album “Rapture of the Deep”, was extremely impressive. This song seems to be the best blend to date of the original Purple style of songwriting and the guitar playing of Steve Morse. His influence is all over that song and the song really burned!

Don Airey’s intro to “Lazy” was killer and contained some really quick snippets of some old ELP tunes that he integrated into his solo –very cool! He played great and does a wonderful job of covering Jon Lord’s parts. Roger Glover played his ass off as did Ian Paice both of whom seem to get even better with age!

Ian Gillan was the consummate entertainer. He deftly interacted with the crowd while keeping the show moving at a fast pace. His voice sounded incredible and he nailed his vocal parts all evening long.

Chastain Park in Atlanta is noted for having sound level restrictions at the venue because it is located in a neighborhood and is surrounded by nearby houses. Those of us who go to shows at Chastain are used to this aspect affecting the mixes we hear at Chastain.

Having said that however, I was a little confused by Purple’s “Mains” (out front PA) mix. The organ and vocals were disproportionately loud! Steve Morse was mixed so low that he could barely be heard when the band was in full swing. As a professional musician myself who has mixed sound in larger venues like Chastain, I have to admit that I was a little pissed at the soundman for Deep Purple.

Even with noise restrictions to work within, the mix was illogical to me and did not at all feature one of the main strengths of this band – GUITAR! Perhaps this being the very first gig of this tour is to blame but they need to get the mix figured out! More Guitar Please!

Being a longtime fan of Deep Purple and of course, the original lineup with Blackmore, I was skeptical about the guitar slot being occupied by anyone other than Ritchie. After seeing this show I have to say that Steve Morse is making strong contributions to the legacy of Deep Purple far beyond what I expected! He seems to not only replicate the required classic parts exactly but finds new ground in the appropriate spots and really rocks! With all due respect to Blackmore fans (I’m one!), take my suggestion and give a listen (especially live) to this version of the Purple lineup with Steve Morse – I was very pleasantly surprised!

Purple has been through a lot of changes over the years and I must say that they’ve still “got it” – this latest incarnation proves to be as exciting as ever! Based on the song material and the overall show I saw, I would highly recommend to anyone who’s a Deep Purple fan to go see this tour – these guys are spectacular !!

Marlin Richards

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