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Purple Orchestrates an Awesome Show at the Ravinia Festival

Date: 2011-06-18
Venue: Ravinia Festival
Highland Park, Illinois, United States

Me and my wife ventured on a 9 hour trek to see our heroes. We stayed a few miles away from the Park, in the Marriot Courtyard Hotel. They offered a shuttle service to and from the event for the Hotel Guests. Upon climbing aboard the van, with a few other concert goers, we began chatting about the upcoming show and I had also made mention that I had just seen ‘Black Country Communion’ at the Pageant Theater in St. Louis, Missouri. Then, a dude in the back of the van asks…. ‘Are you Tracy Heyder aka Zero the Hero?’ I turned and acknowledged as so, and it turned out that the Dude was none other than ‘Stoffer’ whom frequents THS and that I have had many a correspondence with there. With him was his wife and son. What were the chances of that meeting taking place? AMAZING!!! We chatted on the way and got some pictures together. Still can’t get over the chances of that taking place.

The show was to begin at 7:30 pm with an opening act…. “Ernie and the Automatics”. We didn’t see much of them due to taking in the park, eating their fine food, and drinking their beer. We did decide to go ahead and take in the last few songs though, and it turns out, they were quite good. A mix and match of some old veteran rockers. The original drummer for Boston and also Barry Goodreau from Boston. Didn’t catch who else was in the band, but they actually were quite good. They played some Boston tunes and others from the bands the others were from.

What a great venue this is. They have 3 concert stages. Purple played in the ‘Pavillion’. Perfect size for some good viewing and listening, no matter what seat you are in. The park is scattered with high tech speakers throughout, so you can hear the music anywhere in the park with super high quality sound. Amazing. They allow you to bring in your own food, blankets, booze, whatever, and sprawl out just soaking in the music and festivities. In our case, we had pretty good Comp. tickets and also after show guest passes, thanks to Roger…..

Now for the review…..All I can state here is…. “YEEEEOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!!!”

I really didn’t know what to expect. I had my reservations regarding the Orchestra thing. I was afraid they were going to water down the songs. Man, was I wrong!! They used the Orchestra just as I had hoped. They came in with the right stuff at the right time. Nice soft nuances during the suttle parts and booming in during the heavy parts. Truly a welcome addition to the show, and they also seemed to enjoy themselves.

Set List:

1. Orchestral Intro with Short Smoke on the Water

2. Highway Star

3. Hard Lovin’ Man

4. Maybe I’m a Leo

5. Strange Kind of Woman

6. Rapture of the Deep

7. Woman from Tokyo

8. Contact Lost – with Morse solo ending

9. When A Blind Man Cries

10. Well Dressed Guitar

11. Knockin’ at Your Backdoor

12. Lazy

13. No One Came

14. Don Airey Solo

15. Perfect Strangers

16. Space Truckin’

17. Smoke on the Water


18. Hush – with Going Down intro

19. Black Night – with Glover Solo intro

The band was on fire. They played as well as I have seen them play and changed up many parts of the songs regarding solos and structure. Ian Gillan was in amazing form. No kidding!! He hit the high marks very well and also did an outstanding job holding notes longer. Really did sing his ass off. Don Airey finally seems to have taken hold of his position. He stood out big time. He even got all animated and pushed the Hammond around during the solo and intro to Perfect Strangers. His rendition of Lazy was as fine as any I’ve heard, even from Lord. Don thoroughly stepped up and is not laying back anymore. The Best I’ve seen from him Period. Steve did the same. It’s as though after all these years, he has decided to step out of the ‘shadow’ and make these songs His. He showed his prowess and did so with a Hard Rock feel I haven’t heard from him till now. Roger and Ian were as usual…. the steady backbone and typical familiar rhythm section that defines Purple. Roger did quite a nice solo before Black Night. Ian did a short, but sweet solo halfway through Hush. One very cool thing that took place was the Conductor joining in at the finale of Lazy with a fantastic Violin Solo and Jam with the band.

My only complaints….

A little too short and hardly any songs from the Morse/Airey era.

The show clocked in at 1 hour and 50 minutes. Not too bad…. but I still think 2 hours should be the bare minimum.

Rapture of the Deep, Contact Lost and Well Dressed Guitar were the only songs from the Morse/Airey era. This is totally unacceptable. There is absolutely no reason for this. This is where the added time I expect would come in. Take the 10 or 15 added minutes, remove a couple of the Older songs and add 5 or 6 songs from the Mk7/8 albums. Half and Half would be awesome, but at least a 3rd of the songs should be from Mk7 and Mk8.

After the show, we got to go to the meet and greet for just a couple of minutes. Roger and Don were the only ones whom came in before they were rushed out by the management of the venue whom wanted to shut down and go home. For the few minutes we had to chat, they both expressed the fact that they have some songs put together and some jams that are in working progress. They both stated an album Will be out next year. Don seemed disappointed in the lack of an album for so long. Roger just basically confirms that they don’t rush these things and it’s something that they do when they feel ready. According to him…. they are ready now.

Aside from lack of MK7/8 songs, a fantastic show, and I am truly glad to have witnessed this performance. Don’t miss the chance to see these guys. They won’t be around forever, though the way they are playing, you wouldn’t know it….


Tracy Heyder aka (Zero the Hero)

8 Comments to “Purple Orchestrates an Awesome Show at the Ravinia Festival”:

  1. 1
    T says:

    Thanks to Tracy for the detailed review.

  2. 2
    Mark says:

    Tracey – you said it all. It was an amazing performance by the band. This evening was the 13th time I had seen Purple (the prior evening in Detroit was #12). The Ravinia performance was far superior to the previous evening in terms of sound and the band’s (razzle)dazzle. I too was disappointed that more from the Morse era was not played (Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming anyone?). That being said, it is hard to levy any complaints about the quality of the show. I attended with the friend that turned me onto Purple many years ago, who amazingly had never seen Purple. He had staggering expectations and claimed that they were met. He thought the band kept all the songs fresh and delivered on the promise of Purple of which has been In Rock since the 60’s! Long live Purple!

  3. 3
    stoffer says:

    Tracy said it all, it was simply an outstanding night, the bands the fans everything. I still can’t stop smiling!
    What were the odds?

    I would like to say something about the venue, Absolutely without a doubt the CLEANEST and most FAN FRIENDLY outdoor venue I have ever seen, this only added to the night.

    Besides the Boston connection in the opening band, they (the band) said the bass player had played with the J Geils Band and the sax player was from Eddie and the Cruisers. 🙂

    btw.. with the orchestra backing songs like Hey Cisco or Rosa’s Cantina would be very interesting?

  4. 4
    frankie "C" says:

    You guys got the review right………..

    Mark you have seen them 13 times??

    1996 at in chicago, the BEST most inclusive show Ive ever seen

    11 to 14 times and counting

  5. 5
    The Holy Chair says:

    I saw them 20 times, but what does it say?

    My name is also Mark : )

  6. 6
    Tracy Heyder (aka Zero the Hero) says:

    What gives??? I also included pictures with this review.

  7. 7
    Bob says:

    I was at the show and agree that the band sounded great. The blend with the orchestra was just right. As usual the band members really looked like they were enjoying themselves, and I have to say that the orchestra conductor (with his violin solo) looked like he’s been waiting his whole life to play with Deep Purple. The venue was great. But I’ll disagree with Zero the Hero on just one matter. I thought that the set list was excellent. There were several songs from the early days (Hard Loving Man, Maybe I’m a Leo, & No One Came) that I have never seen performed live and that made me happy.

    BTW, for those of you who are fans of Gillan’s tour with Sabbath, the reissue of Born Again is fantastic. It has a disk with the remastered studio album, and a disc with a live performance. I saw a show on that tour and have been waiting 28 years to hear a quality live recording, and now we have it. The sound quality is superb and Gillan was at peak form that night.

  8. 8
    Tracy Heyder (aka Zero the Hero) says:


    Don’t know where you have been over the last 10 years…. They have been doing Maybe I’m a Leo and No One Came off and on for a long time. Hard Loving Man though is a New Old one. My complaint wasn’t about the lack of Old tunes. It was about not enough MK7/8 tunes.

    As for your Born Again info, thanks. I haven’t gotten the remaster yet. Will be in search of it now. As I have stated in prior postings, I saw them in Miami and I still stand on it being the most enjoyable show I have attended to date. Ian was in tremendous form and his take on the Ozzy and DIO tunes were amazing. Without a doubt a grossly underrated Sabbath moment and one of Gillan’s best.


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