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

Hamburg 2000 review for purists

Believe me: This was really an historical gig to me. Deep Purple, Dio and Orchestra played together on stage. It's truly unbelievable. I liked the "Concerto For Group And Orchestra" since I became a Deep Purple fan and I know every note of it.

The concert started late (20'40 h) because some of our heroes were hindered by a car accident. The concert lasted until 23'15 h. Beside Deep Purple there were: Ronnie James Dio (lead voc.); Miller Anderson (lead and back. voc, guitar); the Romanian George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra (approx 85 musicians) conducted by Paul Mann; three female backing singers (they were mostly joined by Miller) and a three piece brass section (trumpet, trombone, saxophone) (jazz musicians, not from the orchestra). There were 3.500 people in the audience (sold out). The stage was pretty small for this event. Jon played Hammond and grand(!) piano. From Paicey's kit to the edge of the stage was only about one meter. The room for the orchestra was very limited. Ian, Ronnie, Steve and Roger were nearly unable to move.

The setlist in detail:
Greeting announcement by Jon Lord.

1) "Pictured Within" Jon Lord (grand piano), Miller (lead vocals), three female singers, orchestra. Very fine version. Great Vocals from Miller.

The following people entered stage. Big applause, mainly for Dio.
2) "Sitting In A Dream" Steve (rhythm guitar), Jon, Paicey, Roger, Ronnie, Miller (lead guitar), full orchestra, female singers. A very different version to RAH '99. Very Different vocal melody by Ronnie. No extra violin. Miller played some lead guitar, but no solo. Great Vocals.
3) "Love Is All" Steve (lead guitar), Jon, Paicey, Roger, Ronnie, Miller (rhythm guitar), full orchestra, female singer (joined by Miller). No extra violin. The usual violin-solo was repalced by a funny Steve Morse solo. Fantastic spirit in audience and on stage for this song!
4) "Fever Dreams" (from Dio's "Magica") Ronnie, Steve (also solo), Paicey, Roger, Jon. No orchestra! Yes, DP playing Dio songs! Great idea. Very nicely performed. But Jon was hardly to hear.
5) "Rainbow In The Dark" (from Dio's "Holy Diver") Ronnie, Steve (also solo), Paicey, Roger, Jon. No orchestra! Great version. But Jon was again hardly to hear. Pity! Roger and Paicey were incredible.

6) "Wring That Neck" (jazz-version) Again funny announcement by Jon Lord. Paicey, Jon, Roger and brass section. No guitar, no orchestra, no violin (different to RAH '99). Very jazzy. Great Lord and Paice soli. But rather short (OK, it's because I love the 1970 improvisations). Brass solos different to RAH '99 but very good. Paice: Unbelieveable.

Gillan entered stage. Again big applause.
7) "Fools" Just Deep Purple, no orchestra. The volume knob solo played by Jon Lord (Hammond), after that nice solo from Steve. During the volume knob and solo parts Roger played percussion and Gillan played tambourine. A supeeeeerb version. Great Vocals by Ian.
8) "When A Blind Man Cries" Deep Purple with orchestra (incl. short orchestral intro). The orchestra could have been a little bit louder. Interessting and melancholic version.
9) "Vavoom: Ted The Mechanic" Deep Purple + Horns + singers (incl. Miller Anderson). Very near to RAH '99. Fine.
10) "Guitar String" (written and arranged by Steve Morse) New One! Steve, Paicey, Roger plus complete orchestra. Gillan played tambourine. No Jon Lord, no vocals. Sounded a little bit like the early Yngwie Malmsteen (why?). Song is OK but nothing out of the ordinary.
11) "Orchestra Intro / Pictures Of Home" Deep Purple plus full orchestra, plus singers (incl. Miller). Gillan played congas. Nice solo from Roger. Great orchestration. Funny unique solo from Steve (he played an American folk song - like "Old MacDonald...")
12) "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming" Deep Purple plus singers (incl. Miller) plus orchestra plus horns in the heavy part. Ian plays again tambourine. Fantastic version.

Very fine introducing from Gillan to "The Concerto For Group And Orchestra" by Jon Lord.
13) "First Movement" (Moderato/Allegro) Good as ever. The sound improves here. Orchestra played very fine, but the piccolo flute made one or two mistakes (in my ears). The Morse solo was longer and more improvised I think than RAH '99. The oboe solo near the end was like the original score. (On the second day of RAH '99 the oboe-solo was very different to "Concerto" '69.) Compliment to Paul Mann and the orchestra.

Standig ovations! Great audience!

14) "Second Movement" (Andante) Gillan entered the stage just before his part. He again sang also the new verse. He partly didn't sing the text, but screams two times like in "Bloodsucker". Big Ian also played congas. I think the Lord solo here was much longer and very great.

Sitting ovations here.

15) "Third Movement" (Vivace-Presto) Very furious, loud and heavy. Compliments again to the orchestra and... Paicey - an exceptional solo (longer than at RAH). The audinece went wild and applauded very, very much in the solo and afterwards. I can't believe it!

Very long standing ovations to all, but exspecially to Jon Lord, Paul Mann and Ian Paice. The crowd went wild!

16) Perfect Strangers DP with orchestra!!!!! A very great Lord solo, like I have never heard it before. The audience again was very furious and stood up all through this and the next and last song. Standing ovation again. Purple left stage and entered it again with all guests! Audience went furious again.

17) Encore: "Smoke On The Water" DP and Dio (for second verse), orchestra, horns, all backing singers - and Gillan played again his congas. Steve did his 'do you know these riffs'-intro (with a long "Iron Man" riff - and Dio was laughing very much).

During the frenetic applause at the end, everyone onstage embraced and Gillan was kissed by Dio on his right cheek!!! (Looked very funny)! Two and a half hour of pure extraordinaire pleasure, fun and great music!

Only minus point: The sound was not very good. DP (except Morse) were much too loud (e.g. the Dio and the Purple songs before the orchestra). The audience and Jon Lord were hardly to hear. The ´sound improved for the "Concerto".

The musicians:
Jon Lord (in very good mood today, great solos, king of the day.)
Steve Morse (very loud, but he played not to much in the foreground. Fine!)
Ian Paice (unbelievable and very exact, one of the best today.)
Roger Glover (he can't move much, but played very great and groovy.)
Ian Gillan (sung good, but not as good, as on the last tour, some difficulties.)
Ronnie James Dio (sung better than ever - what a great voice!!!)
Miller Anderson (Very good. It's a pity, that he sung only one song, and didn't play much guitar. He's a great guitarist! I've seen him many times live.)
Paul Mann and Orchestra (Did a very great job - fine work.)
Horn section (very jazzy - played well.)
Three female singers (good to hear and very fitting into the songs.)

One last but important point: The audience in Hamburg was the best audience I've ever heard: Furious in the end, much applause after each song - but very quite in the calm parts of the "Concerto". And the musicians were obviously very grateful! Thank you Hamburg!

The merchandising was good but expensive. The tour program is very good, but only one photo of Dio and one of Paul Mann. No photo of Miller. Not much about the orchestra.

"I know... whatever we get out of this - I know we'll never forget..."

Karl-Heinz Baier

[ reviews | the highway star ]