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

Gig review - 30th September, Antwerpen

A rather personal review - Antwerp 30th September 2000.

Having missed the RAH concert and listened to the RAH CD a couple of times, I was really eager to see the show. I saw Deep Purple last year in Cologne, they were superb, but somehow I missed something. It should not be taken too seriously, sometimes your mood just does not correspond to the feeling of an event.

The venue - Sportpaleis Antwerpen - was already 100% full when I arrived. Not an Albert Hall but quite a decent and robust place. The show began with Mr. Anderson and then a couple of songs by Dio. With all respect to Ronnie, I found the feeling of the performance a bit stuck in the 80`s hard-rock mainstream. Then came Deep Purple (in fact a stunning performance of "Wring That Neck", featuring the Kick Horns, was first).

Our musicians, including the Romanian Symphony Orchestra, performed a real celebration of music. I saw Deep Purple first in 1987 with all the lasers, Ritchie`s hocus-pocus with the neck of his guitar, killing headbanging and pushing around in the first twenty rows. It was a highlight in my childhood. But to be honest this Antwerp night was something much more precious to me: a couple of gifted musicians, neglecting the mainstream, the showbiz industry, and (forgive me for that) even their age, gave their audience an unexperinced entertainment. In terms of musical and human quality I find it very hard to imagine that you can encounter this elsewhere in today's world of 'pop music'. Morse's virtuosity is not in question, nor is his blessed influence on the band's music and chemistry. I particularly liked the revised version of "Fools", its new riffs may herald the new paths of the next album. An instrumental, called Guitar strings, performed for the first time ever, took the audience's breath away. Incredible. I was a bit disappointed not hearing the new song called "Long Time Gone", or so.

"The Concerto" itself was amazing, very well-performed. It was absolutely obvious that Paul Mann was very satisfied with the performance of the orchestra who played it for the first time. Folks! It is a very wierd thing that you can listen to these musicians playing at their best an amazing selection of their fantastic music, all over the world. What an unexpected gift from the Gods above!

Of course here we had those 'we want rock' drunks shouting during the intimate parts of the suite. It would have been more comfortable without them, that is for sure. Anyway, I do not think we should pay them too much attention, the standing ovation should smoothen all the hard feelings. Furthermore, Deep Purple is, and always has been, a heavy rock band ("Speed King", "Bloodsucker", "Into The Fire", "'69", just to mention a few), so these hard-loving men are part of their hardcore audience. These are the guys who have banged their heads all over the world in concert and bought millions of records for three decades now. We must live with them somehow.

All the songs were performed with virtuosity, heart and soul. Two little notes: I would have taken up "Highway Star" instead of "Ted The Mechanic", and it seemed that Ronnie's appearance in "Smoke On The Water" broke its atmosphere a little.

To sum it up, out of my more than a hundred gigs seen - including ten DP shows - last night's miracle ranks 1st. No question, just a little word: Thank you guys, for all these years.

Marjan Attila

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