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Venturing in Ventura

Just got back from seeing Purple for the second night in a row, this time at the Ventura Theater, 100 or so miles up the West Coast from their gig the previous night. What an unbelievably different show!
Having never done this before, I was interested to see what, if any differences there were in the shows. Any thought that they don’t mix up the set or respond to the audience differently was put out of my mind.

Check my review for the Costa Mesa show before reading this if you like, but I could not believe how different the performance was. While the band played flawlessly and masterfully at the very FM radio style classic rock fest the previous night, this performace was like seeing Deep Purple at a theater in Europe.

The energy from the crowd was better, the band seemed more into it and Steve’s solos veered more towards his own as opposed to sound alikes of the originals from the MKII songs like the night before.

The set list was as follows with notations as to the differences:

Pictures of Home
Things I Never Said
Into the Fire
Strange Kind of Woman
Rapture of the Deep
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (instead of Woman From Tokyo)
Contact Lost (again, not a solo, with the whole band joining in)
Well Dressed Guitar
Knocking At Your Back Door
Don Airey Solo
Perfect Strangers
Space Truckin’
Highway Star (w/Michael Bradford)
Smoke on the Water (w/Michael Bradford)

Speed King/oldies rock & roll medley (encore)
Hush (encore)

Having just seen them play the night before, it was awesome to hear WFT dropped in favor of a Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye. I was shocked to hear it and the band stormed through it with some of Paicey’s most intense drumming I have heard live.

I saw Michael Bradford lurking around behind the amps during the set change from the opening band, so I knew he was going to make an appearance. He snuck on stage after an extended Steve/Roger jam which led into Highway Star. He stayed afterwards for his introduction from Ian (to a surprised crowd who didn’t seem to know him, as I was about the only person yelling his name) and then played SOTW.

Steve seemed to surprise him by indicating Michael should take the solo. Michael caught on quick but the soundboard operator seemed surprised too and had to quickly bring him up higher in the mix.

The real shocker was the double encore. The previous night, a large portion of the audience got up and left almost before SOTW had ended, thus missing Hush and really killing the energy. That was the first time I have not heard IG say thank you for the good vibes from the audience.

Tonight was vastly different, and you could see it on the band’s faces as they retook the stage. Ian, bathed in a single spot light, announced in a hushed voice: “dearly beloved, we are gathered here tonight, to rock & roll”. The band then stormed into Speed King like it was 1972, not 2007. The song lasted nearly 10 minutes and featured an oldies medley of Elvis: I’ve Got a Woman, one I didn’t recognize that went “sweet dreams baby all night long,” It’s Now or Never and High School Hop. All this was followed by solos from Roger and Paicey!

Yes there are plenty of live shows the band has released but this one was so tightly played and sounded so good that it is definitely worthy of being put on disc.

Rick Damigella

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