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

Completely blown away

The last time Deep Purple came to Malaysia was in May 1999 where they performed at the Shah Alam Stadium. It was a memorable concert which became one of the most historical moments in my life. Seeing these rock legends performing right before me, I used to think that it was the best concert I've ever been to and that nothing could ever possibly top that. However, I was wrong. The concert in 1999 was nothing compared to the concert last night. I was totally unprepared for what to expect.

The concert was held at an open-air parking space near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The tickets were priced at 50, 100 and 200 Malaysian Ringgit which was quite expensive compared to what we used to pay for the '99 concert.

The whole place was filled with a lot of hype and enthusiasm before the concert began but people with the cheap tickets must have felt a bit disappointed due to the far distance from the stage. This situation however seem to have some improvements after the organizers switched on the large video screen.

The night started with two local bands as the opening act, trying their very best to please the crowd. There were mixed emotions regarding these two bands as some people were very supportive while some just couldn't wait for them to get off the stage and leave.

By the time the roadies got up to the stage to make final arrangements, people became restles. Everything started to kick in gear when Deep Purple went on stage. The first to appear was Ian Paice followed by the rest of the band.

I can't remember the correct sequence of the songs but the songs they played last night wasn't much different from what they played earlier in Australia. The whole heavy metal madness started with "Woman From Tokyo" followed by "Ted The Mechanic" and "Mary Long". I was quite surprised to see that a number of people other than myself who actually know the new songs, because most Malaysians are usually familiar with Deep Purple's earlier work.

The band continued to thrill the crowd with a superb performance of "No One Came", "Black Night" followed by "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming", which showcased Steve Morse at his best. His soulful guitar playing during this song was perhaps his best guitar solo of the night. After seeing Morse play live twice, I don't think there's a need to compare him with Blackmore because he has proven to the fans that he's a worthy replacement.

During the middle of the show, maybe during "Fools", the barricade separating the crowd was finally opened by the organizers, allowing the cheap ticket holders to go up front. That was quite a smart move by the organizers. From that point onwards, everybody was rockin' as hard as the band.

The band played some more of their classics which among them included "Perfect Strangers" (a headbanger's favourite), "When a Blind Man Cries" (everybody knew the lyrics!), "Lazy" and "Smoke On The Water" for which the intro included some all time classic songs like Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" (I guess so, I'm not so sure), Cream's "Sunshine Of Your Love", the Kink's "You Really Got Me" and also the solo to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven". This was also another opportunity for Morse to strut his skills and capabilities.

After a long version of "Speed King" which included solos by each band member (including Ian Paice's amazing one hand drum roll) and an improvisational jam, Ian Gillan suddenly bid farewell and called it a night. Many people fell for that old trick and were on their way out during the encores. The band came back a couple of minutes later with a brilliant performance of "Hush". Within seconds, the crowd was rockin' once again. The last song of the night was the hard rocking "Highway Star" where almost everyone were humming the guitar solo note for note.

After all this was over, I thought to myself (again!) this has got to be the best night of my life, and what a night it was to be out rockin' and entertained by the legendary rock band Deep Purple, the pioneers of heavy metal. I was completely blown away and their performance really made the hair at the back of my neck stand. Now let's see if there's any other concert that can beat this one. If Deep Purple have any plans to come back to Malaysia again, I wouldn't miss the opportunity to see them for the third time.

Aidy Mazlan

[ reviews | the highway star ]