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

"It's fantastic! It's superb!"

As Ian Gillan describe the audience, so was the concert - absolutely fantastic and superb. Not just because the extreme furious atmosphere which was contributed to by both the band and the audience, but also the excellent performance by Deep Purple.

I can't deny that I'm not a loyal fan of DP (it can be revealed from my collection of DP's album and that I bought the cheapest ticket for the concert) so that I can't recognize every song sung by them. But I do believe the set list is similar (maybe the same as) to the concerts in Australia.

Following is what I recognize or knew from the introductions by Ian (not in order):

"Ted The Mechanic"
"Mary Long"
"Black Night"
"Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming"
"When A Blind Man Cries"
"Perfect Strangers"
"Smoke On The Water"
"Speed King"
"Highway Star"

It was an exciting moment when they played the songs that I am familiar with! Such as "Ted The Mechanic", "Sometimes I Feel likes Screaming", and of course the Mk II classics, "Smoke On The Water", "Speed King" and "Highway Star". Maybe because most of the audiences belong to the previous generation, but it seemed that the reaction from the audience was crazier for the older songs.

Maybe the Royal Albert Hall Live 1999 impressed me too much, I prefer "Smoke On The Water" as the finale to "Highway Star". Once again show my ignorance in rock music, I sensed that the instrumental part before the classic riffs of "Smoke On The Water" is a medley of others' greatest hits, but I recognize none! I just heard from the audience sat in front of me: "Oh, that's "Stairway To Heaven", ah, that's Beatles." But fortunately, I can sing the whole song with the rest of the audience, and shout out "Smoke On The Water, a fire in the sky" proudly.

Surely "Smoke On The Water" brought the concert to the climax - much of the audience stood up and danced, but no doubt that "Highway Star" also gave us a wonderful ending.

The five members are in high reputation. Jon Lord's keyboard solo shows his magic in improvisation, unbelievable that the first half of the solo sounds like the piano pieces in the Romantic period.

Before they play "Black Night", Roger Glover played some fragments (only!) to let us guess what the next song is. When audience recognized the tune everybody just went crazy, and sang the tune together! Roger had one short solo in "Speed King" only, it is not enough! Why can't they let him play more?

Ian Paice showed his energetic drumming! After his solo started a guy in the audience kept shouting "Give me the power..." repeatedly. I guess Ian heard the guy's voice, he just slow down and stopped, then, he showed us his power. Firstly he played a snare drum roll with his left hand only, followed by a much powerful and explosive drum set solo.

Ian Gillan's singing was as good as I expected. Well, I remind you that my expectation from him is a perfect performance. He also played well in the harmonica part. It is so interesting to watch the duo between Steve Morse and him. Ian sang one phrase and Steve repeated it on his guitar, but Ian increased the difficulty so that he didn't just sing, but also spoke, and in a strange intonation and fast tempo. The result is Steve passed the test by Ian! Actually, it makes me think of what Ian and Ritchie Blackmore did on "Made In Japan".

I don't know how to comment Steve Morse, too excellent! I can't think of any good words to describe his greatness, the words I know are not enough to describe his goodness. The most memorable scene is the duo by Steve and Jon, the fake competition between the two world-class musicians just show off their superb techniques and musicianship. And form this concert, it's obvious that Steve Morse is the center of the band.

Throughout the concert I can't remember how long I shouted loudly, and how loud I sang with the others, I just remember how wonderful the concert was. It was a fantastic night! It was a superb concert! I'll never forget the concert on this night!

Leon Chu

[ reviews | the highway star ]