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Safe setlist and deafening sound enraptures

Chicago: The boys were back in town Sunday night to play to a jammed packed House of Blues (unfortunately jammed because two nights were whittled to one).

Prior to main event, the crowd had to suffer through the strains of New Orleans based Supagroup. While Supagroup rocked competently, they added nothing that wasn’t derivative of other “hard rock” bands over the last 30 years. The cliché riddled approach was embodied in their lead guitarist who was wearing a Van Halen T-shirt while attempting to channel AC/DC’s Angus Young.

The bar was not set very high for Purple, however rarely is there a bar set that Purple cannot hurdle, regardless of height.

Without rehashing the set list, Purple came out firing on all cylinders and put together a show as good as I remember seeing (my 14th show of the Steve Morse era).

Apparently the band was miffed at not holding the loudest band in the universe title anymore and tried to reclaim the honor with brain splitting volume. With Don Airy feverishly working the high notes, no one escaped the venue without an ear buzz lasting the remainder of the week.

The sound problems that have plagued the tour continued here with poor mixes and distortion dotting the soundscape.

Highlights of the evening included the spectacular “Rapture of the Deep” and the surprising performance of “The Battle Rages On”.

In agreement with other reviewers, I was disappointed in the lack of representation from the Steve Morse era. DP played only one song from the great “Rapture” album proper and one from “Bananas”. Oh, to hear the return of “Ted”, “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming”, “Seventh Heaven” or “Money Talks”!

Perhaps it is time for the band to come to terms with the fact that they are not reaching a new audience for the most part. The fans that are showing up these days are largely the hardcore Purple contingent, that would gladly swap “Woman from Tokyo” for “Rat Bat Blue” or “Strange Kind of Woman” for “The Aviator”.

I continue (and will continue) to show up at Purple shows to hear the one or two songs that I’ve never heard them play live as well as to hear their differing instrumental treatments of old favorites, however it would be great for them to expand the scope of their set list.

Mark Bojanowski

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