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The Highway Star

Deep Purple - Finally saw them!!
[ d e e p P u r . p l e ) The Highway Star

Finally saw them!!

Well, well, well.......it only took 25 years.....but what can I say, Deep Purple was exactly what I expected them to be.....and more!!!!

Sunday Aug. 03/97 in High River, Alberta - Canada, the site of the "Classic Rock Weekend" was the place to be most definitely.

It was a hot beautiful summer day, and about 20,000 people were on hand to witness an event that was truly spectacular. The festival was a sell out, there were activities to be found everywhere while you were waiting for the next band to start. I enjoyed the beer gardens while waiting, and so did so many others at the venue!!! Naturally, being a hot summer's day, they went through an awful lot of beer!!! Perfect!!!

My son & I arrived at the concert site about 3:00 pm - rather late mind you, but non-the-less, we arrived with the intention of have a wonderful time. When we got to the actual concert site and I looked at the stage I saw all the equipment, and seeing Ian's drums I got excited that finally.....my musical dream was about to come true.

I looked over to my left on the stage and noticed some people hovering around Jon Lord's equipment, it didn't look good, some of the gear was taken apart, and there was a lot of activity with stage crew and some tech's, I thought this couldn't be happening....after all this time with Deep Purple finally in a place where I could experience their music, equipment failure? No......this just can't be happening!!

Rick Derringer came on and antertained the crowd.......and once his performance was done, there was more activity around Jon's keyboards....I knew for sure it was going to be a long wait to see if indeed they were going to play. I was just dreading the fact they would announce that Deep Purple wouldn't be coming on due to technical difficulties.

As the afternoon passed into early evening and E.L.O. had finished their show, they removed Jon's organ and leslies. I was about to have heart failure.....where can they get another Hammond and some leslies on a Sunday night on a long weekend? My fears were growing by the minute......Deep Purple was scheduled to be on stage at 9:30 pm.....it was now about 10:45 pm. and I noticed that they were wheeling on another Hammond and set up 2 leslies!! Yes!!! They were finally going to make it on stage and I could get to see the band that has inspired me the most - Deep Purple!

Finally....at about 11:15 pm. they came on!! What a thrill to see the band for the first time....and how fitting, the song that made me fan to begin with......"HUSH", a perfect opener in my opinion!!

"FIREBALL" was truly intense live and I had expected it would be. Ian Paice's drum intro was powerful and executed with precision and finess, and when the band kicked in....WOW, what an enjoyable experience!!

When I heard them play "INTO THE FIRE" it immediately took me back to the first time I heard the album "In Rock". Deep Purple is a band that fires up their energy...and just doesn't let up.

To hear them play their new material "TED THE MECHANIC" brought to my attention that their new material is just as powerful as their material from the past and will also be songs that will be played for years to come.

"BLACK NIGHT" and "BLOODSUCKER" were done with intensity.....and it was truly inspiring to hear these songs and return to my youth for the duration of these 2 songs.

"CASCADES" was truly moving as Steve & Jon were boucing back and forth complimenting each other's solo with a more interesting riff each time. Steve's guitar playing was astounding as was Jon's organ playing. True professionals thru and thru.....

"WOMAN FROM TOKYO" - what can I say....a great song performed the way it should have been.....Great!!! Everyone was really getting in to it when that song started up, Rock'n Roll at it's finest!!

"SMOKE ON THE WATER" - rock'n roll's theme song as it were.....everyone was bopping to that one.....the band was feeding off the crowd, and.....we too got to entertain Deep Purple as the band quieted down and we got to sing back the chorus!! They must have got a good laugh.....but hey, we tried and it was so much fun!!

We are all blessed when it came time for the soulful expressions of Deep Purple in "WHEN A BLIND MAN CRIES"......the emotion the band put into that song was felt by everyone, I must say when Ian Gillan was singing that song, it was like I could feel every word and emotion that must have been there when it was penned.

"SPEED KING"....absolute power. What a great song!! When Ian Paice did his solo in that, I was glued to the stage watching and savoring every moment, I just wish he would have soloed for longer period of time.

"PERFECT STRANGERS" was the first song they did for an enchore. The crowd was definitely getting into it and just didn't want them to stop.

"HIGHWAY STAR" was the final number they did.....and what a finale, absolutely perfect!! The song was performed with such intensity, mind boggling....and when Steve did the guitar solo and Ian Gillan was mimicking Steve's part vocally.....true entertainment. Steve played along with Ian's vocals and finished the solo with amazing style!!

Summing up the concert......WOW. I've waited a long time to see Deep Purple, they are true entertainers, the best Rock Band ever, and worthy of being called World Class musicians. Both my son & I were thrilled to see such a fabulous show, and for myself to have finally seen Deep Purple, I couldn't have experienced anything better.....and to have seen them with my son who is also an avid fan, was perfect!!

Long live DEEP PURPLE and may their music be as inspiring to others as it has been to me for so many years!!!

Ryan Herzog
(Calgary, Alberta - Canada)

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