[ d e e p P u r . p l e ) The Highway Star

DP 6.4.2000, Finland

Once again, we were gathered at the old Helsinki Icehall to enjoy hard rock at its best. It was time for Deep Purple.

Supporting act was almost the same as 1 1/2 years ago, but this time without singer and a new name. Guitar Slingers have turned into trio and Ben Granfelt has taken over the vocals (and the name of the band), M Disc handling the (stupid) keyboards. Voice level seemed to be low: one individual from Kuopio, a little more drunk than he should have been, was shouting Morse irritatingly all the time... Once again great playing from the guys, but it would have been better in a pub.

At 9 PM, just after the stage was cleared for Granfelt's gear, there seemed to be something wrong with the keyboards but unfortunately the technicians didn't have time to check it out. Crowd of 5000 Finnish DP fans were eagerly waiting for the main event and the band was as eager to come out and play.

I didn't have pen with me, so the tracklist is not too accurate...

Fireball is a delicious appetizer, but this time it ruined Jons feelings: there was something wrong with the Hammond. It just stopped working before the raging battle between guitar and the organ. :(

Jon was understaningly upset. The band continued playing, however, and four technicians got their hands full of work throughout the gig. This time it was time for Mr. Sunshine alias Ian Gillan to save Jon's day, a friendly kiss to cheek seemed to help. Fortunately we were able to enjoy Jon's playing every once in a while. And we heard a great solo from him, too.

Woman from Tokyo, Into the Fire and then I finally felt like screaming, when Gillan announced it was time for just that song (my favourite track from the era after the reunion). Absolutely one of the highlights of the concert in my opinion.

'69 is a track among tracks, played well but I loved Gillan's stories before this one... ("We didn't write road songs because Americans wrote so good songs before us. And anyway, what would it sound like if we wrote a song called Going to Birmingham...") Steve used his old tricks before Smoke, playing intros to classic Hard Rock songs. Hell, I really hope one day I can hear a little bit more than 10 seconds of Led's music in DP concert.

Fools was a surprise for me, but excellent surprise. Any Fule Kno That, yeah, Watching the Sky, they are really not classic tracks but good music, uh-huh. Then it was time for reggae or brown music at least annonced Gillan. Black Night, now we're talking. When a Blind Man Cries was great. Perfect Strangers, funny how I still miss the lasers.

It didn't take too long before the encores Lazy and Highway Star. Jon kept his fingers crossed during his last Hammond-solo and it helped, no problems during the last song. Band seemed to be in good shape, and the evening was superb, worth every penny I spent on a ticket.

1h50 once again, where did the time go so fast?

Since I'm not a fan of orchestral music I haven't bought the latest Concerto album. Maybe I should, because these guys do play in it...

Kari Mamia

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