Tour Review 30 September 2000 - Antwerp Sportpaleis
A rainy night in Belgium, Antwerp harbour...The Romanian Philharmonic Orchestra was already on stage ready for a journey through music when at 20:30 Jon Lord came on stage to welcome a crowd of 8000 rock lovers. "Welcome to the house of echo" were his first words and reflected his opinion of the Antwerp Sportpaleis, an old velodrome made for indoor cycling, not rock concerts.
A friend of Jon Lord's opened the concert with the brilliant "Pictured Within". After this song a few people we might know entered the stage: Steve Morse, Ian Paice, Roger Glover and Ronnie James Dio (but not Ian Gillan). Ronnie started the show with a few songs of his own and ended with "Love Is All" majestically played by the orchestra and the writer of the song himself, Roger Glover. Ian then showed up on stage really happy to see the crowd and introduced the instrumental of way back in the 60's, "Wring That Neck".
Steve played a new piece written for the orchestra and himself, a piece called "Guitar String". Way to go Steve. Then came "Pictures Of Home" (this time not followed by "Black Night") and "Ted The Mechanic" - the new opener of current concerts closing the first part of the show.
Now it was time to listen to the band and the orchestra.
After this part of the show there was little time left to rock.... A drum solo by Ian Paice. Then from the songs that followed I remember a perfect "Perfect Strangers" with Ian Gillan doing a kind of Spanish dance better known as the Flamenco in Spain. We also had a brilliant "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming" and an even better blues "When A Blind Man Cries".
In case people did not know Deep Purple was in town it was time to play the obligatory "Smoke On The Water" song. The intro by Steve took us from "Sweet Home Alabama" to Jimmy Hendrix to Led Zeppelin and back to Deep Purple.
A successful opening of the European tour....
It is nice to be a band member....but it is also nice to be a fan of a band on the move like Deep Purple.