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

Review: DP in Hamburg, Germany, 1.10.2000

This was the 7th DP concert in 13 years and is was truly exceptional. GO OUT AND SEE THEM ON THIS TOUR (man, I hate this shouting thing)!

The facts first:
20'45 - 23'15: DP, orchestra, Dio, Miller Anderson and three female backing vocalists at the CCH (Congres Centrum Hamburg), 1st October 2000.

Place was sold out (I think). It was a strange experience to sit down at a hardrock-concert, but the good thing was that you could see much better. It was announced that they would start later as three members of the band (don't know who) were still on the highway (yep: highway stars). So they started at 20'45 and played for two and a half hours without a pause.

"Pictured Within" ran shivers down my spine! Miller Anderson has an exceptional voice and I love the complete album. Only con: The backing vocals were too loud. Jon did the talking in the first part of the concert and he did a good job (nice to hear his voice).

After this Dio came on stage (got a good greeting by the audience) they played the two "Butterfly ball" songs and he was astounding. After all that heavy metal stuff he still can sing the calmer parts perfectly (and I wish he would do it more often). He noticed how close the people in the front row were and shook hands with many of them (as did the DP members afterwards).

"Fever Dreams" from the new "Magica" album (the first really good Dio album for many years) was really heavy and the DP members did a good job on it (especially Steve). "Rainbow In The Dark" - a wonderful Dio classic. There was a very good atmosphere between Dio (quote Jon Lord: "pocket-sized dynamite") and the band. BTW, Miller Anderson played additional guitars on the "Butterfly Ball" songs and from then on joined the backing vocals.

Now we get into DP stuff: "Wring That Neck" and one of the absolute highlights "Fools" - I hope they include this version on the next album. "Ted The Mechanic" - I don't like it too much. The "Guitar String" was done by Steve with the Orchestra and Roger and Paicey. It is very dramatic with ever increasing speed and power.

"When A Blind Man Cries" was another highlight with a very good orchestral arrangement. "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming" is my favourite Steve Morse era DP song and I loved it again. "Pictures of home" was like the RAH version.

Then we got into the "Concerto". It is a truly different experience to hear it live! Go and do it! I loved the original LP and never expected to hear it live. I will never forget it. This version was more intense than anything. They got several standing ovations.

"Perfect Strangers" was a surprise and a crowd favourite. Again, the orchestral arrangement was incredible.

Only one encore was played (I believe because of time constraints) - "Smoke On The Water" together with Dio. Gillan and Dio on one stage!

All the way home me and my wife were singing "Sitting In A Dream" and "When A Blind Man Cries" and the vocal parts of the "Andante".

General observations:
* The crowd was very mixed, only a small number of headbangers and everyone seemed to have very different expectations. Some seemed to have looked for a classical concert, whereas others loved Dio or Steve Morse, whereas many only wanted to hear a conventional DP concert.
* The main drawback was the sound: Too much bass and generally bad.
* I can't choose a member of the band that stood out, they all did a superb job and left us with the impression of a band and not five exceptional soloists. Paice and Steve were featured a bit more, maybe. Congratulations to Paul Mann, you could see and hear how deep he got into this music and the orchestra fitted with the sound perfectly. I would love to see and hear it again.
* I have seen the person doing the local music program on TV, so I may come up with some interviews soon.

Gerriet Backer

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