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

The Scottish Frequent Flyer Points Collector speaks

Looking back through the various reviews here on THS, I realised that it's been nearly two years since I last sat down and properly reviewed a gig here. In fact, the last show I did review also happened to be in Malaysia, and I've been lucky enough to see the band another 15 times inbetween the two - well, it makes those nice people at Visa very happy anyway...

So, anyway, another 6.000 mile trek across the globe for a tripple helping of hospitality, F1 Grand Prix action and some Purple...

The first thing that struck me about the open-air venue was the audience segregation. There were three audience areas seperated with the usual barriers you normally only see at the front of the stage. This must have led to a very odd sensation up on stage. Let me try and explain.

In front of the stage, you had the seated area (cheap plastic seats/most expensive tickets). Behind this area, was space for security to roam, and another barrier splitting the first set of standing fans from the seated ones. Further back still was more security and yet another barrier, behind which were those with the cheapest tickets. Now, as you all know, when the band get on stage, people move forward.

Those in the seats moved forward, meanining there was a gap between them and the first section of the standing crowd. They also moved forward creating a large gap between them and those right at the back, who must have struggled to see anything on stage and instead put up with watching the show on the large video screen. From stage, therefore, it must have looked like three different crowds.

The set was as has been listed by other people, and was different from the last Malaysian show to stop most people complaining, with six of the fifteen songs being different from the time before. Still, that didn't stop one local paper complaining in the days leading up to the show. They ran an article which can be summed up as, "...Deep Purple are playing Malaysia again, it's the same line-up as last time, and they haven't even done a new album in the meantime, so what's the point..."

Oh, well.

The band played great, and most of the interesting points have been picked up by others already - Ian's battle with the moth, not being able to whip out his harp I time, etc.

On a personal note, it's great to hear "Mary Long" and "Hey Cisco" back in the set. The former is a totally revamped song compared to the version they did early in '96, and the latter always held that certain something live. I'm also glad "Pictures Of Home" was dropped. A great song, but I think it was beginning to overstay its welcome. With both that and "'69" out of the set here, "Mary Long" seemed to be used for a bit of jamming, though this may have been standard for the tour. Nice bit of a piano solo from Jon, but no real Steve solo this time.

The sound seemed okay, but as I was stood either below the main PA, or at the front, I didn't have as good sound as those further back. Still, I know Moray wasn't happy when he saw what had, or had not been done by the local crew on the Friday night, and was concerned he wouldn't get good sound, but I think it shows a) how much work the band's crew put into a gig, and b) the fact they do care about their work.

Still, it was worth the trip... or would have been if Couthard had won in Sepang!

Doug MacBeath

[ reviews | the highway star ]