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

Deep Purple with Guests & Orchestra, Hell, Norway, October 4. 2000.

The concert took place in a hangar from World War II, not very far from the runway on Vaernes Airport. It is within a military camp, hence there were guards everywhere. Judging from the licence plates of the parked cars, people had come from all parts of Norway and also from Sweden as well. Suffering from a seven hour drive, it was a relief to sit down and wait for the show to begin.

"Pictured Within"
"Sitting In A Dream"
"Love Is All"
"Fever Dreams"
"Rainbow In The Dark"
"Wring That Neck"
"Guitar String"
"When A Blind Man Cries"
"Ted The Mechanic"
"Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming"
"Pictures Of Home"
"Concerto For Group And Orchestra"
"Perfect Strangers"
Norwegian Folk Music w/Annbjørg Lien "Smoke On The Water"

Duration: 2h 30min

Song by song review:

"Pictured Within" - Looser version than at RAH. Maybe because of less nerves?! Miller Anderson does a fantastic job. I can't think of another singer than him on this song. Some shouting from the audience, but it didn't seem to disturb the guys on stage.

"Sitting In A Dream" - RJD enters the stage and some headbangers gives him a very warm welcome. A lot of people leave their chairs and move towards the stage. The song itself is beautiful as always. RJD voice is strong and powerful.

"Love Is All" - Roger's attempt to re-write "All You Need Is Love". A song that made the people in Hell happy.

"Fever Dreams" - New song to most of the audience. Well received. Dio is joined by the best backing band he's ever had, sadly DP make it sound too easy and the difference between Deep Purple and other bands in the heavier genre suddenly becomes very clear...

"Rainbow In The Dark" - the crowd goes wild. It's hard not to sing along and stomp your feet to this one. Obviously a song that most people seems to know well. Again, it's very strange to hear a Dio songs with this backing band. Watching Jon doing the keyboard parts almost made me laugh... It's easy to imagine what DP would have been like with Dio as lead singer. Keep on rockin Ian G.!

"Wring That Neck" - Jon introduced IP as "one of the best drummers I've had the pleasure to work with". One of the best versions of this song I have ever heard. Outshines RAH. The members of the orchestra are watching Ian's drumming; Smiling. The brass section did a good job substituting the guitar.

"Guitar String" - very á la Steve Morse solo stuff - very nice piece of music. Steve duelling with the orchestra. Only problem is that it was too short!

"Fools" - Ian G. enters the stage in a nice blue dress. What a wonderful song live. Say no more.

"When A Blind Man Cries" - perfect successor for "Fools". Parts of the audience taken by surprise, the headbangers in front of the stage has calmed down and is sitting down.

"Ted The Mechanic" - A song about Edward. Fast and tight. The band seems to enjoy being on stage. A very good performance of a masterpiece. I believe it was at this point Ian Gillan became aware of the architecture of the hangar. He suddenly discovered the people in the back of the hangar- "Heeeyyy, I'd need a plane to get down there!"

"Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming" - This time with a straight and short intro by Ian! Wonderful guitar and organ....

"Pictures Of Home" - Intro by the orchestra. A slightly different bass solo, superb soloing from Steve.

"Concerto For Group And Orchestra" - Introduction by IG. He verbally strangled a couple of guys that started shouting; And encouraged people to sit on them! When Paul Mann finally managed to get the orchestra ready to start, a plane took off outside, creating smiles and laughter not only from Mann himself, but also the rest of the hangar.

As far as I can remember, all movements were played, but in one of them, some part was omitted. It was fantastic to watch the "Concerto". The feeling when you sit and wait for the orchestral parts to end and the band to start playing is hard to describe, but I love it.

"Perfect Strangers" - With the help of added orchestration this song has become even heavier and better(!) than before. It seemed like the orchestra really enjoyed playing on this one. They were quite audible and we could feel the extra punch. The highlight of the night.

Introduction of special guest: Annbjørg Lien. She is well known in Norway both from TV, radio and several CDs of folkmusic. She jumped into "Fanitullen" ("Devil's Dance") on her amplified fiddle. The somewhat strange rhythms and strange notes created a big smile on Steve's face. As soon as he had sorted some of it out, she switched to something new. She was joined for a couple of minutes by Steve and the rest of the band. The orchestra watched in admiration.

"Smoke On The Water" - Ian lowered the microphone as much as possible and introduced Dio... He entered the stage and what 95% of the audience had been waiting for started. Annbjørg Lien played as well but unfortunately she was not very audible.

Summary & after-show report:

All in all a very enjoyable show despite the noisy and drunken locals. The show was somewhat relaxed, but still tight. I am not able to point out any remarkable differences between this orchestra and what we heard at RAH, but at times I thought I heard some small differences. There was probably more orchestration added than the song by song review above reflects, but a good Purple show tend to do strange things to my head, so I am not able to remember all details. One detail I do remember though, is Jon's Hammond sound. It sounded like he had reset the controls on the organ, the impressive settings he had in RAH were no longer there. But then, this isn't really a problem!

Regarding "Fanitullen" - I spoke with Steve after the show; He was not willing to admit he had difficulties figuring out what Annbjørg played. :-)

Since I've mentioned the orchestra several times, I'd also like to mention the backing vocals and the horn section; They all did a great job. Miller Anderson joined on backing vocals on most of the songs.

I hoped for Tony Ashton to join onstage, but he joined the other guests and watched the show from the guest area.

The promotor celebrated his 40th birthday after the show. In addition to the invited friends, family etc, assorted members of the Purple family had been invited such as Tony Ashton and Bernie Marsden. I was not there but I was later told that it all ended up in a very long jam session with Roger, Little Ian, Miller Anderson, Bernie Marsden and Tony Ashton and probably others too. Among the songs they played were "Midnight Special" and "The Load". Rumours also say there was a solo or two...

A nice surprise waited for me in my inbox when I came back to work; The promotor had sent me a pile of his private photos including photos from the jam session and the preparations of the hangar before the show. He even gave me permission to attach some of the pictures to this review! The lucky guy, Joss, can be seen with Steve in one of the pictures.


Tom-Eirik Pettersen

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