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

Review of the Gothenburg show

Conflicting appointments prevented me from seeing the show here in Stockholm, so I went down to Gothenburg, to see the show there instead.

There are both good and bad things to say about the show. Let me start with the bad: the audience. OK, this is a hard-rock show, and not a classical concert, so you cannot expect people to sit quietly all the way through to the end of the last movement. But had it only been enthusiastic applause in the wrong places I could have lived with it. But people were leaving their seats and coming back all the time (having a piss, buying a beer or whatever). In some of the quiet pieces there was much talk going on around me. And some assheads were whistling and shouting loudly during the opening of the second movement of "The Concerto".

OK, if people don't like "The Concerto", they don't. One guy I over- heard on the way out said this was the worst show he had even been to. His mate informed that what could he expect when the posters said there would be a symphony orchestra. While I was in a frenzy during the last part of the last movement, my eyes happened to catch a guy who was sitting in the row in front of me with his hand behind his head, leaning back, clearly disinterested. (Maybe he had never heard "The Concerto" before?) But one thing - if they don't like the music, they don't have to destroy it for those of us who do.

Another thing I can't escape commenting about: I find it truly amazing that Deep Purple are making this tour. Taking an entire symphony orchestra around is a big venture. OK, I guess that since they're from Romania, they're cheaper than the London Symphony Orchestra, but I still wonder why they're doing it. Can they really make a profit from this tour? Or is it costing them an arm and a leg?

OK, over to the show itself. The setlist was similar to the one in Hamburg. The only difference as I recall (I didn't take notes) was that Steve Morse's piece was called "The Well-Stressed Guitar" for the evening.

"Pictured Within" was nicely performed by the orchestra and Miller Anderson. Then Dio came on stage. "Sitting In A Dream" is a bit too syrupy for me, and neither is "Love Is All" one of my favourites from the "Butterfly Ball". Dio is certainly a good singer, however the two songs they played from Dio's own repertoire, "Fever Dreams" and "Rainbow In The Dark", were just too much cliché-ridden heavy metal - this was the part of the show that I slept through.

I will skip commenting on every single Purple tune, but I can't escape "Fools". Not having followed the Deep Purple newsgroup, its appearance in the show was a blasting surprise to me. I would have been less surprised if they had played, say, "Our Lady". The rendition was good in places, especially the opening, and the first part of the instrumental middle section, the one that Ritchie originally played with a bow. Steve's guitar solo in the middle was a bit too much of his regular routine. That new riff at the end which he played in duo with Gillan was fun, although the joy it had was completely out of place with the dark lyrics.

The main item for the night was, of course, "The Concerto". Having loved this piece for many years, it was nice to finally get to hear it live. The orchestra was good, although the clarinet was a weak spot, which is a pity when it has a few solo passages. Then again, the percussion section was incredibly exact in those swift bars in the section after the drum solo in the last movement. But overall, I'm left without words. It was truly great. Well, I could wish for a real concert hall, where I'm sitting so I can see the orchestra from above, but you can't get everything I guess.

Sound wise, I think the sound was quite good, although in the rock songs where the orchestra played with the band, the band was a bit too loud in the mix. And it was nice to see Paul Mann sit in and play piano on "Ted The Mechanic" - but a pity you couldn't hear a note.

As for the setlist, I would have preferred some more calmer material to fit with the orchestra. It would have been nice if they had done "Night Meets Light". Steve Morse was a bit out of place with the orchestra, playing his usual style. This was particularly noticeable with "When A Blind Man Cries", where some good acoustic guitar would have fitted in well. Then again, those who went there to hear "Rainbow In The Dark" would probably have been so pissed that their noise would have drowned him out...

Finally, let me express my deep thanks to Ritchie Blackmore for tearing up his Japanese visa. [He he... :-) 'Nuff said! Ed.]

Erland Sommarskog

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