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

A great concert!

The Hong Kong Coliseum in Kowloon, a hall of impressive size, was fully, or at least almost fully, booked out. As per the website a total of up to 12.500 seats can be placed there. I was lucky to have my seat not too far away from the stage. Rows 1 to 10 were reserved for Hong Kong's VIP's, such as pop stars etc. (none of them being known to me, though). There was no supporting act and the show started at around 20.10 hours.

I would say the set list and order of the songs, including the encores, was identical to the Australian shows. Nice to hear "Mary Long" and "Hush", an excellent version of "Fools" and an unusual heavy version of "When A Blind Man Cries". "Smoke On The Water" was performed with the usual riff introduction by Steve. Especially good to hear a long instrumental part of "Stairway To Heaven" played by the whole band. Since I never got to see that one live, I really enjoyed this cover version.

I got the chance during the first couple of songs to sneak into the VIP section, where the local press was taking photos, so I did the same, until we were all politely complimented back to our seats.

The Hong Kong audience was kind of reserved, which, as I was told, is normal. Once a well known riff was played, people jumped up and showed their appreciation, but sat down in the next moment again and listened quietly to the rest of the song. Just for the last few songs people refused to sit and started to have a party.

Especially the older songs were then well celebrated and a lot of people knew the words. For the encores I managed with a number of others to get to the front again into the VIP area, say three to four metres away from the stage. At the end Roger and Steve threw their guitar picks to the audience and one of Roger's picks touched my hair, but unluckily I could not catch it.

It was smarter to get the tour merchandise before the concert started at one of the open air stands. After the concert, there was unfortunately only one stand left and I have never seen such a chaos at any other concert. People were furious to get some stuff and the sales people could not keep up with the demand. Maybe this part was not too well organized, but might have been well in line with local regulations. Already half an hour before the show started, t-shirts size L were sold out (no XL was sold at all!). It seems to me that all the good stuff was already sold during the Australian leg, since the selection of merchanise was a bit limited at this concert, except for all the Australian Video and CD releases.

All in all it was another great show to see and the best way to spend my birthday. It was my first Deep Purple concert in this part of the world and their first one in Hong Kong. People were hungry for this show and tickets sold out quite quickly. All members of the group performed very well, the show was about two hours and 15 minutes long. Big Ian was barefoot during the whole concert and his voice was in excellent shape.

Ticket prices were a bit on the high side, which is also normal for Hong Kong. I paid HKD 420.- for my ticket, the side and back rows were HKD 260.-. The audience was a nice mixture of different cultures, who all enjoyed themselves in the same way to the same music. Another issue that made a great concert!

Sven Lohsen

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