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

Tour Review: Deep Purple World Tour 2000 in Korea, Seoul, 2nd April, 2000

Deep Purple's third gig in Korea and my second review on The Highway Star.

Deep Purple visited Korea last year as a headliners of the Triport Rock Festival 99. As I wrote then their show was terrific. In spite of heavy rain and storm they played a perfect show and all the critics and media praised them. So, many Korean rock fans have wanted to see them again. And they did visit Korea again. The result was... "SOLD OUT!" Arizonian metal powerhouse Megadeth performed here in March and almost 1,500 fans gathered in the Olympic Gymnasium (they are very popular in Korea). But for Deep Purple about 5,000 fans gathered in the same place! I don't know the crowd reaction to Purple in other countries, but can you believe that there were many teenage girls screaming "Deep Purple" during this show? The age range in the audience went from teenage to fifties. The legend began thirty years ago but it still rages on.

Anyway, the show started with "Woman From Tokyo". Ian Gillan video filmed the crowd and band members onstage. The tunes selected were similar to their conventional set list: "Pictures of Home", "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming", "Speed King", "Perfect Strangers", "Black Night", "Lazy", "Highway Star", etc... But the sound and performance were awesome. I have been to many rock concerts at the Olympic Gymnasium, but the sound quality at Purple's show was the best of them all. The absolutely clean and distinguishable sounds of each instrument with high output power were very impressive. Deep Purple arrived in Seoul (from Japan) on the day of the show and might not have had enough time to match the sound system to the Olympic Gymnasium. In addition, the Gymnasium was not designed and optimized for concerts so it might have been very hard to acquire a good sound. (Metallica's shows at this venue were blamed for poor sound. That's funny.) What a nice road crew Purple have!

The songs played in Korea for the first time were: "Fools", "Bloodsucker", "'69" - with Gillan in Hawaiian style! -, and "Any Fule Kno That" - what a thrillng groove! During "Fools", the part played by Ritchie with his volume knob was replaced by Jon's keyboards followed by Steve's clean tone solo. The unison performance of voice, guitar and keyboard at the end of the song was very good. The highlight of the show was "Smoke On The Water". Before playing this song Gillan remarked:"This is a ballad." Steve changed his guitar to the black Music Man (that's cool!). As an intro to "Smoke On The Water" they used to play other bands' rock classics. Last year in Korea they played "Back In Black" and "Voodoo Chile" as an intro. At this show, surprisingly, they played the guitar solo part from "Stairway to Heaven", the verse of "You Really Got Me" - in Van Halen Style, and the riffs of "Crossroads" and "Walk This Way" - yes, Aerosmith! Oh my God, Purple played Zepplin? I think this reflects their open attitude to music. The crowd was surprised and went mad. Another interesting aspect was the order of the songs: British-American-British-American. Is this on purpose or not?

The center of the show was Steve Morse. He played with really nice groove and melody. I think he can play solo in a shuffle rhythm better than any other player on earth. Exquisite tone variation, nice time-keeping, fast and various kinds of peaking, wide vibrato, elaborate volume technique and beautiful harmonies... Not everyone in the audience kept quiet. Steve's volume technique was extraordinary. Sometimes it echoed elaborately like a choral pipe organ and sometimes roared like a madly driven engine (during the intro to "Highway Star"). I have been a sincere fan of him for many years and I was shocked when I heard he had joined Deep Purple. My favourite band with my favourite guitarist... I feel happy every time I think about it.

The show was over and I really hoped to see them in Korea again. Deep Purple's concert in Korea can be described in one line, as Gillan kept saying on stage; "SUPER-FANTASTIC!!!!"

Dae-won Lee

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