Deep Purple's show Madrid 11/20/00
We got on the coach once again to meet with our gentlemen of hard rock, besides, this was the second time in the same year to enjoy the magic of Deep Purple's shows. How lucky we are!
So I was saying, we got on the coach heading to Madrid on a rainy day, one more rainy day. There were the same people who went to Vigo four months ago; Ramón, Clemente, Fran and myself.
The official merchandising was very expensive, many of us couldn't afford the amount of money that a CD (or any other item) cost. But this time other friends would join us and some of them were going for the first time to a DP show. It was a very strange kind of concert we were going to see: The best hard rock band for ages with a philharmonic orchestra with 40 musicians (more or less) [Try more; There were around 80 musicians in the Enescu Orchestra. Ed.] - and I have to say that there were some gorgeous women that made the audience yell - they were very kind to us, waving their hands and greeting the people.
This was the 5th time I could see Deep Purple in Spain and few things had changed from the last concert in Vigo. The same minimalist stage, with an area for the orchestra. There was no need to fill the scene with monsters, guns or other kind of stuff, (as certain bands, that we all know, do). Only lights, amps and the strenght of a group of musicians. But this time a big orchestra would be supporting the performance.
When the lights went down, a very well dressed Jon Lord appeared onstage and welcomed people, remarking that that concert was a special one. He introduced the orchestra and Paul Mann; The first guest Miller Anderson came on and the first sounds of "Pictured Within" made the audience stay quiet except for somebody that begin to whistle. However the rest of people shut up those who were trying to throw down the show. Did they think it was a death metal concert or something!?
Miller Anderson's nice voice was followed by the entry of the Voice Of Metal. We could see Ronnie James Dio at last, years after many failed attempts. Dio was superb, his voice is still one of the best of rock, despite being 60 years old. He sang four songs, "Sitting In A Dream", "Love Is All", "Fever Dreams" from his last album "Magica" and the masterpiece "Rainbow In The Dark". When he first appeared onstage Dio sang a song about a "Soul Man" with Paul Mann wearing sunglasses and a hat looking like the Blues Brothers.
Dio left the stage and then Ian Gillan appeared to join the show and the first sounds of "Fools" flooded the dome. It was the second time I could hear this song on live, the first time was in Vigo. The ballad of "When A Blind Man Cries". Afterwards, Steve Morse played a song that I didn't identify, in which he made a duel with the orchestra.
"Wring That Neck", the early years classic, sounded very good. It was followed by a recent years classic, "Ted The Mechanic", then the lights onstage went down and Ian Paice was focused by the spotlights and he played the intro to "Pictures Of Home", it froze the blood in our veins.
To calm down the spirits Steve Morse began to play the first notes of a song that it has become another classic in Purple's career, "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming". After that Gillan explained to the audience that they were going to play the first and the third movements of "Concerto For Group And Orchestra", it was a pity that they didn't played the second one, a matter of time. This was one of my fears, I didn't know if I would like this part in a live concert, or on the contrary I would be bored with it. But the result was that I liked this orchestra part as much as the group parts. I thought to myself "they are Deep Purple, as always".
Gillan came back on the stage and "Perfect Strangers" with the orchestra sounded demolishing. This song is my favourite and for me it was a delightfull surprise.
Morse played an intro for "Smoke On The Water" made of pieces of classic rock songs, like "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath, maybe an Aerosmith song(?), and "Stairway To Heaven", the Zeppelin classic. Dio rejoined the band on the stage and Miller Anderson took a guitar to play the riff that is banned in almost every music store. Who hasn't played it when you held a guitar for the first time?
After all the salutes that all the audience dedicated to the band and the orchestra, Dio and the guest left the stage with the orchestra, and then the encores came, this time the group only. The Mark VII in their pure essence, playing two unforgetable songs that can not be forgotten in a Deep Purple live set. "Black Night" and "Highway Star".
And the question that we all did to ourselves was what are we going to see in future? What else? Will they do something better than this? The answer is yes, another Purple show, maybe next year.
Thanks to you for reading this report and I ask mercy for the mistakes and faults that surely will be in it. [Don't worry, I helped you with a few of them. Ed.]
Thanks to the Highway Star web site for keeping us informed about DP news and keeping us joined around this fantastic rock and roll band.