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

What a night!!

What a night!! It was Deep Purple's first ever trip to the 'Gong. I cannot use enough adjectives to describe this concert... magnificent, excellent, fan-bloody-tastic...

The set was incredible, starting with "Woman From Tokyo", "Ted The Mechanic" and finishing with "Speed King" and then for the encore: "Hush" and "Highway Star".

Many, many songs were covered including the usual great stuff ("Lazy", "Perfect Strangers", "Smoke On The Water", "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming", "Hey Cisco") and some surprises ("Mary Long", "No One Came", "Fools", "When A Blind Man Cries") - it was a thrill to hear all this LIVE (especially their older stuff).

Some of the memorable moments included: solo sections in "No One Came" (using strobe lighting and some brilliant playing from Steve), "Fools" (brilliant!!) and "Speed King" (one of the best guitar/organ duels you'll ever see/hear and also the BEST drum solo I have ever heard from Ian Paice - even compared with "Made in Japan"); Jimmy Barnes coming in half way thru "Speed King" (a real surprise) and staying for for the encore (Barnes finally getting some competition from Gillan!! Great to see); Ian G's bongos; brass section (hard to hear though); three backing singers; some amazing bass solos from Roger (more than usual - way overdue!!); Roger also playing castanets during the night (a man of many talents!!); Steve singing with IG (albeit briefly). Oops, nearly forgot - the 3-piece support act Sick Puppies was OK (some good songs) - heaps better than FOXC used last time. Some promising talent and not a bad sound.

A real surprise for the show: no "Abandon" songs were played - not sure why (in the end it did not matter - it was such a great night).

Just a few criticisms: no "Abandon" songs were played (not sure why); some instrumental sections were slightly distorted (due to the Entertainment Centre acoustics); Lord was a bit slow to get going and even appeared disinterested - even the "Lazy" intro was 'lazy') - but this was rectified soon after (I think Steve got him going); the two hours went far too quickly!!

Compared with 1999 (in Sydney and Coogee), I would rate this as quite a different show and heaps better. Everyone (including the guys/gals on stage) were really enjoying themselves. I have never heard so much screaming in Wollongong before!!

Deep Purple just keeps getting better with age.

It has been a privilege to see the band live on three occasions in my life.

It would be great to see them again in Australia (or anywhere) - please come back soon!!

They say legends never die and live on for ever - well Deep Purple, you are a LEGEND. Musicians today should really have a close look at this band, their talents (individually and group), longevity, etc and also have a look 0at themselves. Ask yourself, where will you be in 30 years time??

[ reviews | the highway star ]