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

Sydney Entertainment Centre, 10th March 2001

Sydney Entertainment Centre, 10th March 2001 by Jeff Emmerton Age 37

How can I possibly describe a two hour Deep Purple concert by email? Although a long time fan, I had never seen them live and feared I would be disappointed if they didn't live up to my childhood memories.

Fantastic show, Steve Morse proves his worth as lead guitarist for the current Deep Purple line-up. The "Smoke On The Water" intro was a sensational walk through a dozen instantly identifiable riffs , culminating in THE most recognisable of all time, da, da, daah............... "smoke on the water, fire in the sky."

The well behaved Sydney crowd (or are we all just getting old) were enthralled, and sang along with Ian Gillan's encouragement. His only faux pas was to mix up which album a song came from, but at least he didn't forget any words. His voice was strong and powerful all night long, and his sense of humour helped break the ice between songs.

Jon Lord looked almost biblical as the lights focused on him for his solo pieces, white hair and beard flowing, with relentless hand movements to extract the same sounds from the keyboard that I grew familiar with from my first ever music album, "Made In Japan" in 1972 (yes, I was only 11 when Dad bought this for us to share in about 1974).

How Ian Paice didn't have a heart seizure from his efforts is unbelievable, he must be extremely fit for an old fart, and to prove he still has it, he even did a section of one handed drum solo.

Roger Glover's bass work held the rest of the 'soloists' together, and his duos with Morse (including foot work and dancing guitars) was brilliant.

Aussies in Wollongong, Newcastle, Brisbane get your tickets anyway you can. Keep rockin' guys.

Jeff Emmerton

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