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

Wollongong - 13 March

A great show. I'm an original 70's fan who lost touch with them until recently and I was a bit apprehensive but I needn't have been.

The support were woeful enough to make anyone sound good, but Purple sounded great - though I would have liked Gillan mixed a little higher.

Took a little while for Morse to impose himself; I thought he was a little nondescript in "Lazy" where Blackmore's sound was so biting and sharp. He picked up though and played quite brilliantly for the last half of the show.

One of the highlights for me was simply the excellence of Paice and Glover in driving the band - tight as a fish's arse. Lord too was very good but to be honest I could have done without the horns and backup singers.

Gillan of course can't scream as he did (who else has ever been able to?) but he was strong and seemed to actually get stronger as the evening went on. Toward the end Jimmy Barnes would you believe got up and sang with Gillan who obviously was a mate of his. They did "Speed King" which segued into "Good Time" - that song Barnes did with Michael Hutchence, then back to "Speed King" and boy, it cooked. I once saw Barnes get up with the Party Boys when Shirley Strachan from Skyhooks was singing with them at Shellharbour Workers and it was amazing. Well this topped it!

Barnes has a tendency to sing over the top of anyone else in a group because, whatever you think of the sound of his voice, it is very powerful. Well, he met his match in Gillan and the two of them belting out "Highway Star" at the end was near nirvana for me.

Lots of highlights ("Mary Long", "Fools", "Smoke On The Water" and "Highway Star" of course) but I did miss "Space Truckin'" and "Fireball".

All in all, a magical experience.

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