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

A Parisian Story...

Many thanks for the brilliant job you do at "The Highway Star" - long may it continue. Although I have kept myself as a 'silent' reader for the past few years, it has been a joy to receive updates etc - especially when I was working abroad. I have a review of the Paris gig if you would care to enclose it.......

DP live in Paris. October 25th 2000. Concerto Tour:

Last September I was dismayed to hear that the Conerto was being performed in the RAH - dismayed because I was on tour in China at the time and would miss one of my favourite pieces of music being performed by my favourite band (the original "Concerto" was the 2nd Deep Purple CD that I bought), along with artists that I have great respect for. To my delight the "Concerto" tour was announced, so I pounced on two front row tickets for Paris and waited for October....and waited...and waited.

Eventually October came and my wife and I flew over to Paris. Four days in the city of romance finishing with a Deep Purple gig, can you better that??!! We must have spent three hours at the Palais des Congres - the anticipation was terrible. Eventually we were shown to our seats by an usher who then expected a tip! I started speaking fluent double-Dutch which sent her packing - the cheek of it, I knew were the front row was!! Enough of my ramblings and on to the gig...

We were amazed to have Miller Anderson and Jon walk on stage to perform "Pictured Within". This must be the most beautiful song ever written, and we thought we would have to rely on the RAH CD to experience it live. Not so. It was a most moving performance, Miller's wonderful but simple vocal style - singing music and lyrics with so much meaning and power.

Next up was Deep Purple minus Gillan, but with Ronnie James Dio performing the two "Butterfly Ball" songs - they seemed to be having so much fun. It says in my programme that Ronnie was born in 1940. Is this true? [According to Miller Anderson it's ten years off... Someone ask Ronnie. Ed.] If so, his performance was outstanding - so much energy and huge presence from a small man. He then performed two of his own songs with DP as the backing band - a great sound.

Unlike the RAH, Ian Gillan then came on and Deep Purple performed about four of their own songs including "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming" and "Ted The Mechanic", then Steve played a guitar and orchestra piece. I would love to hear this recorded in the studio. Maybe a big production album next? This was the start of my only complaint about the evening. The balance between the band and the orchestra was poor. Maybe that was because I was in the front row, or that the sound must have a tough job even without moving venue so much. Also I could not hear Jon at times, Steve seemed too loud in the whole mix, as he had done at Reading four years ago. Maybe the sound engineer is a guitarist?! [Moray a guitarist?! Dunno, but if you want better sound don't sit at the front. Ed.]

Ian then made an announcement about the format and structure of the "Concerto", which seemed to quash any pathetic shouts during the silent moments of the performance. It could be the French have better manners than the Brits, but.....!

The "Concerto" was wonderful, with breath-taking solos from Jon, Steve and little Ian. Unfortunately Steve's solo so impressed my wife that I may have to quit being a pianist and take up playing 'sexy' guitar!!! Ian's drum solo was... No words can describe the quality. He even finished it off playing one handed (he'll get tendonitis) and left everyone stunned.

The balance problems actually added to my enjoyment during the "Concerto" - it meant that one could hear parts that on the CD are lower in the mix or blended into the overall arrangement. Paul Mann was very dynamic throughout both the "Concerto" and other songs, even playing piano on a number whilst Jon was playing Hammond! The world needs more conductors of his nature, enthusiasm and respect for quality music - whatever genre it is labelled under.

The "Conerto" was followed by "Black Night", "Smoke On The Water" and "Highway Star", during which time most of the venue charged down to the front rather than sit in their seats - a great way to finish off! The icing on the cake came with one of Steve's guitar picks, strumming his guitar (I know it's sad!), and shaking a very sweaty Gillan hand!!!

I don't believe I have done the gig justice with my review. The whole experience was overwhelming, and I found it hard to appreciate that I was actually watching the "Concerto" being performed live after all these years. The evening was 'perfect' - that's all that needs saying. Thanks Deep Purple.

Tim King

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