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Paice & York reviews  

Mannheim, December 12, 2001

Read this review in German

For a long time in advance, we had been discussing the gig and wondering what to expect from it. We, meaning my "brother" Cliff who flew in from England just for that gig and I. Would it be more like a drum clinic where everyone but drummers would understand squat? Or would it be a real music concert?

The fact that Colin Hodgkinson and Miller Anderson whom we recently saw at the Tony Ashton Memorial Concert in Buxton would be part of it gave me hope that it would be the latter.

So off we went to Mannheim to find out. Again we took my nephew Jan along who wants to be a drummer. What more can a person do for the boy than taking him to a gig where he could be mesmerized by two of the best at one time?

After a warm welcome by Ian during the sound check, Jan had a chance to get the best spot right in front of them before the rest of the audience was let inside the hall and not even a crane could have moved him from that spot.

The concert hall filled slowly and by the time the gig started, it seemed to be pretty much filled (as far as one can tell when standing in the first row). I'd guess about 800 people. Pete York welcomed the audience with his charming and perfect "Germish" and prepared us for what would happen that night: first some music, then question and answer part with Ian and himself, then more music. Let's party! And did they ever!

The first song they played was "I'm A Man" sung by Colin. It became obvious then from the start that the sound and arrangements of the songs were adjusted to highlight the 2 drummers. No insult intended toward Colin and Miller, not at all, but they weren't the main acts that night although they played a big part in making it a success. Colin sets free so much energy and fun onstage that it's really fantastic. A real exceptional guy. And great Bass player as well. For Miller, the situation was a bit difficult because he was suffering from a cold, causing problems with his voice and he was very unhappy about that. The look on his face was not too happy due to that problem. Despite that, he proved himself to be a good lead guitarist although we previously only knew him as a rhythm player from the Concerto tour. He really surprised us with the emotional and powerful way he treated his red Musicman. And on top of that, he can even play a harmonica....

"Sunshine Of Your Love" and "Black Night" followed. Truly impressive, and that goes for the entire show, was the coordination between the 2 drummers. Especially for two guys who come from two completely different styles of music. They were not trying to hit the same toms or cymbals synchronized, that wouldn't make any sense, for that you don't need two drummers. Instead, they communicated with their eyes. Paicey would play a basic but solid beat on the snare, bass, or hi-hat to keep a tempo, allowing Pete to do the fill in and vice versa.

A very effective and economic coordination and harmony, nothing was played double, rather they complemented each other in a perfect way.

I don't understand squat about drumming, but on this night I discovered that this thing can actually be treated as a musical instrument and not just be used for banging on. What Pete and Ian presented was superb and total artistry. No one should ever say that drummers are just people who hang out with real musicians. These two proved otherwise.

In the following two songs which were more like stepping stones for improvisation (hit me, but I don't know the names... probably written a long time before I was born), both showed again in extensive solos their individual strong points. That Pete didn't put knots in his arms during his percussion action stunned me. Overall, his solo was breathtaking! The over-cross things that he did there bordered on sheer magic. And he even sang through it if I remember right.

During the second song, Ian played his long solo. God forbid, I don't want to compare these solos, these two are just too different, but Ian had to dig deep down into his bag of tricks to follow Pete's act.

Question and answer period came next. Ian walked to the edge of the stage and fixed a beer holder to his microphone stand (what a cool idea! I want one of those too!) and started an informative and entertaining conversation with the audience. Besides answering technical questions such as "how do you tune your snare drum?" and "who was your musical influence?", he also gave away some funny secrets. We learned Bernie Marsden's and Micky Moody's special pick-up / chat-up lines during their Whitesnake era, we heard about Coverdale's macho acts and also found out how Bernie screwed up a date for David by introducing himself (to David's stargazing, adoring fan) as his son. All in all, the stories were presented in an amusing and relaxed way. Questions about Purple, as far as I remember, didn't come up that evening.

Of course Ian was asked about his sensational "one-handed roll". He grabbed his snare drum right out of his kit and built it back up again at the edge of the stage. Stool over, beer glass holder, and away he went! I don't think anybody was any smarter after that demonstration, because you can't really see how he does that, but the audience loved it. I doubt that any one else except that certain Mexican can do that and as Ian explained to us later, it hurts like hell to do it. But anyway, it is spectacular and (almost) unique.

After a few more stories, questions and answers, I don't want to bore you with the details, they continued playing. "Gimme Some Lovin'" was next followed by the obviously unavoidable "Smoke On The Water" :-( which really wasn't all that necessary that night.... The only thing special for me here was being in the position so close to Ian that I could see, for the first time, the construction of his foot pedals. Something you cannot usually see at a Purple gig because you are miles away from him. He actually has three pedals there. Two pedals on one rod connect to his bass drum, allowing him to make it sound like a double bass and then he has one pedal for the hi-hat. Lordy, don't ask me any more about that, I'm no drummer. I'd rather try holding my guitar right side up. That's pretty much all I understand about making music. Pete, by the way, was not playing here. He was walking around the stage with a videocamera filming the audience and what was happening on stage. Would be really interesting to see his tape...

If I remember correctly, I'm not positive if there wasn't another song, but I think this was the end of the regular gig. Of course there was an encore, a song that Colin wrote called "Pace Setter". It's built around a really strong bass riff and really groovy. Pete promised they'd come back out again for Christmas gifts and autographs. Thus happened. After a short break, chairs were set up at the edge of the stage and Pete and Ian came out. Later came Colin and Miller. They signed really everything, gazillions of photos were taken, every kid could sit on everybody's lap and Mama was taking pictures. Fan service at it's best. The whole thing lasted another complete hour and none of the musicians left before the last wish was filled. Terrific!!! This is the behavior of *real* stars. Compare this to certain wannabes nowadays who refuse perform because they didn't like the color of the carpet in front of the hall.... Arrrggghhhhh!

Like always in Ted's reviews, there is a bottom line: I was *impressed* with the concert. Not an evening just for drummers like I first feared, not at all. We saw four super talented, inspiring, real musicians who had fun on stage and played really great hand-made music. Hard to find in these days. I was even so impressed that I wanted to absolutely see them again. Köln I could not make because I had to take Cliff to the airport so I decided to go to Stuttgart the next day. But halfway there I got stuck in traffic and it was clear that I wouldn't make the concert on time. That bugs me to this day. I would have loved to see that great show one more time.
So it looks like I'll just have to buy the upcoming video or DVD...... you should too. It's worth it, trust me.

Pictures from the gig and more can be found at "Ted Mechanic's Deep Purple Pages"

Cheers and God bless you all, Axel Dauer

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