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Steve Morse Jr. smokes Pompano

Edgar Winter started the night with a fine set, playing his big hits such as “Free Ride”, “Tobacco Road”, and “Frankenstein” to name a few. But I was there to see Deep Purple so away we go.

I was lucky to find myself in the 10th row of the amphitheater and as soon as the lights went down my wife and I, along with a good portion of the crowd rushed the stage, since there was a 10 foot area between the barricades and the first row seats.

I couldn’t believe I was front row for the great Deep Purple. As soon as they hit the stage with “Pictures Of Home” it was as if I had time machined back to a Deep Purple show sometime in the 70’s, which I unfortunately was too young to ever attend. I faced Steve Morse dead on and he was as excited and as happy as can be performing for the Deep Purple hard-core fans.

The whole place was on its feet and everyone around me was like a kid at their first rock concert. It was beautiful to see so many young faces in the crowd, and I do mean young, some in their teens!

The second song in was “Things I Never Said” from the new album and it went over great. Now, I want to make a point here, I know that this band’s biggest records came out in the 70’s and Perfect Strangers in the 80’s, but I love to hear their new stuff. Some people might say, why? and my answer is, “because it’s good”! These guys are musicians, not some pop band that had a couple of hits back in the day, and that’s why I appreciate their new stuff.

Unfortunately due to lack of time, they would only get to play three new songs, the title track, “Rapture Of The Deep” and Steve’s guitar instrumental, “The Well Dressed Guitar” along with “Things I Never Said” . I would have loved hear “Money Talks” and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” which are amazing songs off the new album.

“Into The Fire” came third and blew the doors off the joint. My god what a heavy sound these guys deliver, and this was an outdoor venue.

“Strange Kind Of Woman”, “Rapture…” and “Fireball” kept the crowd wanting more, and like I said before, “Rapture…” went down great, that song could have been recorded on any of the Deep Purple classic albums, I mean that!

Steve’s solo kicked ass and showed why he replaced the legendary Blackmore, while “When A Blind Man Cries”, an obscure but wondrous song subdued the audience with Mr. Gillan’s magical voice.

Don Airy took things from there, intro-ing “Lazy” and “Perfect Strangers”. Man that song still has some of the most haunting organ parts ever played. You could really start to see something quite genuine up on that stage throughout the night, and that was the sheer happiness and enjoyment that these five guys are having doing this. This is the reason that they are such road warriors, it’s simply to much fun, so why let up!

“Space Truckin'” and “Highway Star” continued the night’s activities, which led way to a special rendition of “Smoke On The Water”. The band was joined by Steve Morse’ son on guitar as well as a keyboard player that I did not get the name of [Mark Stein from Vanilla Fudge and Tommy Bolin’s band – see photos and report. /Rasmus]. It’s great to see them have so much with one of the most recognizable songs in the history of music.

This was followed by the encore songs which were “Hush” and “Black Night”. I have to tell you, “Black Night’ might have never been a big hit in the United States, but when Roger and Ian Paice teased the crowd with the opening riffs everyone hummed along with delight as if it were just as big a hit as “Smoke…”.

Overall a great night indeed, the mighty Deep Purple machine never seem to let me down, and once again I am rewarded with a fabulous show by five of the most fantastic musicians to ever play together. “The Battle Rages On”…

Ralph Paz

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