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

Still A.Band.On

As we pulled up late in the foggy parking lot of Jones Beach, we rolled down the windows just in time to hear what was apparently one of many profanity-laced Nugent tirades. Not that that kind of schtick bothers me personally, it's just I'd seen him before, and it was fun - but not an act to go out of your way for. After listening to "Wang Dang" and "Cat Scratch" from a distance, we made our way to the theater, entering Gate F and claiming our 11th row aisle tickets. It wasn't long before the evening commenced.

First, the obligatory set list:

"Woman From Tokyo"
"Ted The Mechanic"
"No One Came"
"Pictures Of Home"
"Perfect Strangers"
"When A Blind Man Cries"
Steve's Riff Raff (Zep, AC/DC, The Who, The Beatles, The Kinks, Skynyrd)
"Smoke On The Water"
"Hush" (e)
"Highway Star" (e)

What can you say - they are still a band on! I'm not going to go song-by-song - they were all great!! All the touring since the '98 show at Jones Beach has only made them better (and Big Ian's hair shorter - something he appears to be very proud of judging by his smirking "look at my hair" entrance). Like many, I wanted to see the 120 minute set list - but they took their allotted 75 minutes and made the most of it. I would have liked to have heard anything off of Abandon, and I had "Hey Cisco" and "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming" in the back of my mind (having read previous reviews) - but they played every song as if it were the encore... and any one of them could have been! Before walking into the theater we were up in the air as to whether to drive to Hartford for lawn seats next Saturday - they made the decision easy.

The majority Skynyrd audience was extremely receptive to everything they heard - especially the stuff they knew. I noticed the six or seven in front of me got caught up in Steve's Riff/Raff, and when he started "Smoke On The Water", there was this ever so slight pause until they recognized that this one belonged to Purple!

We didn't stay for Skynyrd, nothing personal against them... I heard they were pretty cool and did a greatest hits kind of set. Anyway, on the way out we took two of our 11th row stubs (we had to save some for the collection) and sought out an obvious Skynyrd couple and, after much convincing, forced the booty upon them. I heard the next day from my two friends that stayed behind that they not only took advantage of our gift, they borrowed my friend's stubs and brought along six of their friends!

So, if you have good seats and you're leaving right after Purple, give a Skynyrd fan an early Xmas gift.

Ian, Ian, Roger, John, Steve: Thanks for another visit to the South Shore of Long Island. See you in Hartford!

Al Johnston

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