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

Wonderful entertainment

This was, as all others have said, a brilliant concert. I appreciate the other reviewers having taken notes and provided a list of songs. Having seen them in Canberra & Melbourne in 1984 (with Ritchie Blackmore of course) and Sydney in 1999, I did the trip to Wollongong (from Canberra) this time.

Being a smaller venue, even in the stalls around the right-side, I was close. I used binoculars to watch this great band, not ignoring the worth-a-look three ladies singing backup for some songs. I was delighted that they did a quite different list of songs to 1999, especially "Mary Long", "When A Blind Man Cries" and "Fools". After all they have so many to choose from.

I will admit disappointment that apart from the great song: "Perfect Strangers" they completely ignore the whole period from about 1973 to 1995 (DP Mark III to VI). For example, obviously I know "Mistreated" was basically Blackmore-Coverdale and only Jon & Ian Paice were in the band then, but wouldn't it be a thrill for the current band to perform it, not to mention, "Burn", "Knocking At Your Back Door" and "The Battle Rages On". But where do you stop? I think they have overdone "Woman From Tokyo" and "Black Night" by now. I thought "Ted The Mechanic" (done in 1999) was a far better opener than "Woman From Tokyo".

The reunion period in 1984 was my favourite period for them, as it contained great songs, plus the excitement that this great band (which I previously only knew about in hindsight) was reforming and coming to the best country first. I suspect they want to get over RB but that does not explain it, they still mostly do his old songs anyway, though redo them superbly.

Back to the actual concert. From my vantage point looking down on them, the most obvious thing is that they were enjoying themselves, yet working with intensity at putting on a great show. I was surprised how much time Jon spent behind the stage, though when he did lead, he was excellent and really played up to the crowd at one point.

There were signs of confusion just before Jimmy Barnes came on and as to which songs he was going to participate in. Having him there added a lot of fun but was not necessarily required for a great show.

It would be nice if for a change someone other than Ian Gillan would introduce the songs, even though he has got the voice for it, just to give the illusion of getting to know the others a bit more. Maybe Ian should think of something else to scream other than "I THANK YOU" as it seems he always does. [How about "I thaaaaaaaaaaank you!" then? ;^) Ed.]

I thank Ian, Roger, Steve, Jon & Ian (plus the others of course) for some wonderful entertainment over the years. Keep it up and come back. The whole trip cost a lot of money but most definitely worth every bit of it.

Philip A. Veerman

[ reviews | the highway star ]