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

Deep Purple & orchestra, September 30, Antwerp

Now this, I think, was a VERY bad idea! Shattering all the good memories of that wonderful Royal Albert experience. Selling out the idea by doing a so-called "Concerto"-tour with a backing band that is definitely NOT the London Symphony Orchestra (they don't even come close...) Yep, I am a bit disappointed - and the hordes of fans leaving the venue during yesterday's show in Antwerp agreed with me, I suppose.

What went wrong? Well, to start with, the RAH was supposed to be a one-off thing, something to cherish for years and years to come. Something exclusive, two nights only for a small selection of fans. But, as with those Tommy Bolin CD's you were only supposed to buy on the internet, suddenly it is available for everybody. Well okay, maybe I'm acting a bit selfish here. Maybe other DP-addicts should be able to hear "The Concerto" too, I agree. But hell: why not bring the show to places that can compete with the RAH? I mean: yesterday's concert was situated in the Sportpaleis of Antwerp! One big sh*thole that compares to the RAH as that ugly woman from the movie "Throw Momma From The Train" compares to Claudia Schiffer. Did the Purps themselves have any say in where to play? Don't think so, 'cos Jon Lord started yesterday's show by saying, "Welcome to the home of the echo." Didn't see him play with much enthusiasm after that.

The show itself was a poor extract of the RAH experience. The band obviously didn't enjoy the Sportpaleis and played pretty uninspired. No, this was not a very remarkable night. "Fools" was played badly, the horns were a bit out of tune during "Wring That Neck", Ronnie James Dio was allowed to let Purple play one of his own songs with almost exactly the same riff as "Ted The Mechanic" (which was played shortly after that), "Guitar Strings" by Steve Morse sounded as a cheap Yngwie Malmsteen rip-off, "The Concerto" itself is much too long for a regular gig (when edited to the "First Movement" only it would be great though), the beer... No, now I am exaggerating. It just wasn't a good concert - and no doubt the band will admit that.

(Despite everything, a few positive notes to round it off: Paice and Glover were the solid tandem they've always been, Gillan's voice was in very, very good shape, Steve Morse was brilliant at playing the violin interlude in "Love Is All", it was nice to hear "When A Blind Man Cries" being played live and there were some damn good-looking girls in the orchestra!)

Michiel B.

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