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

Deep Purple - Rotterdam 2000

While Rotterdam was in the middle of a freezing autumn storm, the Ahoy concert hall experienced one of its happier moments last Monday. The show Purple and friends gave was nothing but brilliant musicianship, warmth and joy. One of the best 'Thank You's' you can wish for as a fan. At the very opening of the show (20:05 hrs) Marco de Goeij was introduced, being the "...guy without whom we wouldn't be here tonight" (He recreated a big part of the lost "Concerto"). Nice gesture of the band to have him on stage. He got the looks of a certain banjo-player, at least from where I was standing.

Miller Anderson did a great job with "Pictured Within". It might be a risky opener, but it certainly immediately made a point of what could be expected this night. Seeing Dio was fun. Last May I saw him with his own band, but playing "Fever Dreams" and "Rainbow In The Dark" with this backing band doesn't need more words than just to mention it (over and over and over again).

Seeing "Love Is All" is a child's dream coming true.

When Gillan finally walked on stage, the magic is complete. "Fools" and "When A Blind Man Cries" are given outstanding colour and depth. Like you are in the middle of some quadrophonic recording session, you can feel the recogition of the tones produced a few meters away from you activating some higher level nerve system. All up your spine. Sometimes the orchestra sit still. Patiently waiting their next turn. Sideways, like a half open bs that stops on stage, waiting for some musicians to share the ride.

When "Pictures Of Home" gets into a haunting version, it's Paul Mann who gets so enthusiastic that with most moves he makes he's jumping up and down. Afterwards, Ian Gillan thanked the three (Belgian?) backing singers as being the Backstreet Girls. Steve Morse reacts to that by playing the opening of that Spice Girls song that goes like "Tell me what you want, what you really really want". (Please forgive my ignorance here, I'm glad I recognized a Spice Girls track during a Deep Purple show! Oh well...)

We get the instrumental "Well Dressed Guitar" and that beautiful "Wring That Neck". During this song I call my home phone and have the answering machine running along for a minute. The swing that is being produced here is so inspiring, and the inspiration I hear never swung more. The "Concerto" is the big highlight for me and a lot of people. Being prepared for the worst (after reading some reviews) I feel pretty good about the audience in terms of being silent. (Afterwards Roger told that there was not that much shouting tonight, but a lot of talking which is just as audible and frustrating for the orchestra. I guess this mostly came from the front rows.)

For a moment I hate to notice "The Second Movement" is missing, but I was also prepared for this so it's soon forgotten. The orchestra really did a great job, and I almost never felt more emotion during a concert. Well, I guess everything sounds like an understatement here. The memory of seeing the clarinetplayer doing a little solo under these lights, in front of the orchestra is an image that will not quickly disappear from my mind.

The music goes from highs to lows, across mountains, through skies, silently rowing onwards... Then Morse becomes the personification of 'evil' for a moment, by anwering the orchestral efforts with brutal guitar fireworks. This is what Ian Gillan must have meant by talking about the battle between a band and an orchestra. After a blistering solo, Steve turns around slowly and while the guitar fades out, Jon Lord takes over again. Breathless.

After one of Paicey's best drum solo's I've ever whitnessed and a grand finale, it is almost over. "Smoke On The Water" is done with a Ronnie James Dio who must have done next to nothing for the past hour as he has a look of "What am I doing here?" on his face. Great to see him being a full family member though.

Purple return for "Black Night" which features Gillan conducting the crowd from Paul Mann's spot. (The orchestra is already gone). "Highway Star" closes it all off. What a night! I feel happy like I haven't felt in a long time and that's what music is all about after all, isn't it?

P.S. Afterwards I had a brief chat to Marco de Goeij and thanked him for making this possible. The Rotterdam show was recorded, just as the Munich one will be. No plans for releasing something, but the microphones gave it away (just like 1993).

Fedor de Lange

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