Deep Purple In Tokyo
Well I did it! After being disappointed at not being able to take the time to travel to London to see the Concerto concerts in September, I decided to compensate this loss by traveling to Tokyo to witness in person the two Purple concerts held on March 25th and 26th at the Tokyo International Forum (thanks to the DPAS for concert date and venue information!).
I arrived at Narita Airport about an hour and a half before showtime on the 25th. Resigning myself to the fact that I would probably miss the first show, since I was unaware of my surroundings, (and didn't even have tickets!) I got on the express train to Tokyo (one hour ride from the airport) and arrived at Tokyo Station about 5:45. Knowing my hotel and the Forum were both accessible from the same local Tokyo train line, I held out hope that maybe I could see at least some of the first show. After getting on the correct local train (thanks to some helpful locals at the station) I got off on the exit for the Forum, baggage still in hand (no time to check into my hotel!!) and glanced up at this amazingly modern structure which hits me as soon as I left the train station. Was this the Forum? After walking around the block I still hadn't a clue until I came upon a hand written message on a chalkboard saying, Deep Purple, Exhibition Hall "A".
I followed the signs until I came upon the hall, it was now 6:15 and I could hear the crowd roaring. I found the ticket window which was thankfully still open and was able to purchase a single ticket for both shows (my worst fears of coming all this way and being shut-out were over!!).
What follows is the set list (in order) for the two shows which was the same for both nights, with a little remark about each tune:
Woman From Tokyo; No entrance music, the band comes on to the darkened stage to thunderous applause, Ian Paice starts his familiar drum beat, and a faithful rendition of this classic is performed.
Pictures Of Home; I personally have never seen Purple play this closet classic from Machine Head and it was a treat!!
Bludsucker; Ian Gillan dedicated this to a former band manager. This version being the remake from Abandon.
Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming; Ian told the audience to rest for a bit while they played this song and everybody took their seats. A fine rendition of this song with Roger and Steve on back-up vocals.
Smoke On The Water; Ian said "Okay, you might want to get back up now," before the band launched into their most famous song. Steve Morse teased the crowd by playing bits of Stairway To Heaven, Sunshine Of Your Love, Louie Louie, and Free Ride, pretending to forget what the correct riff was!! He eventually remembered!! The usual sing-along occured at the end of the performance.
69; The Abandon album's tribute to Deep Purple's early years. This performance featured a Steve Morse solo in which he incorporated bits of Paint It Black by the Stones and Within You, Without You by the Beatles!
Watching The Sky; A faithful version of another Abandon track.
Any Fule Kno That; A blistering version of my absolute favorite track (except for the beautiful The Aviator) from the Steve Morse era (at least so far!!).
Fools; Another surprise inclusion from the Fireball album. Two songs in a row about fools. "You just can't get away from them, they're everywhere," exclaimed Ian as the band tore into this great tune.
Perfect Strangers; Mr. Lord took his solo turn at the beginning of this tune, the second night's solo being somewhat shorter. A highlight for me, as this song is in my top three Purple songs of all time. A monstrous version is played here. The crowd were particulaly responsive to this song. I know I was!!
When A Blind Man Cries; "This is an old blues tune," is how Ian introduced this brilliant piece of classic Mark 2 Purple. A long since forgotten gem that is forgotten no longer. You can tell Ian particularly enjoys singing this song.
Speed King; Ian excuses himself to get a drink of water as the band gently begins riffing a quiet version of this. When the man reappears all hell breakes loose as the group rips into this, their closing number. Ian Paice and Roger do short but meaningful solos, and Jon and Steve do that famous keyboard/guitar interplay which makes this song so fun. Each night the two exchange hugs at the end of their jam as a sort of unspoken appreciation of one another's talents.
Lazy; First encore. A fine reading of this Machine Head staple.
Highway Star; "This is for you, Tokyo," exclaims Ian as the band finishes with the best live rendition I have ever heard of this! As Ian would say repeatedly over the course of both nights: "Superb!!"
So I did it! I took a chance and actually saw my heroes play two live shows in the land of the rising sun!! I wanted to check out the Osaka shows, but duty called at home. As the interminable plane ride back to Philly was finally coming to a close, I thought back on my short but personally historic trip to Japan as the greatest experience in my concert going life!! Now, when's that Deep Purple and orchestra performance in Poland, again?
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