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

Now that is a rock'n'roll show!

Sitting back sipping a brew at the local strip bar I mentioned to my friend (let's call him Ted) that we best be on our way if we were to get to the show in time to see it start. He told me, "Just one more beer and a table dance for me and I'll be ready. Besides we've already seen Nugent. As long as we're there for Purple. Right?" As we fight the rush hour traffic and construction I tell 'Ted', "If we miss any of Purple you're walking home."

We finally arrive at Blossom Music Center and walk across the fields that are the parking lot. I hear the opening notes to "Ted The Mechanic". My buddy 'Ted' nervously suggests that it could still be Nugent playing. I hand him his ticket and tell him, "You're walking home!"

We finally get to our seats (6th row in front of Roger Glover) for the start of "Lazy". The crowd is into it, but still seem taken aback by how good Purple sounds. The guy in front of me was telling me, "I don't know the guitar player's name but he's a keeper. Ritchie who?" We both sang right along with "Fools". It was great. "Knocking At Your Back Door" was a welcome surprise. I hadn't read anywhere here that they were doing this one. "Pictures Of Home" rocked as did "Perfect Strangers". The mostly Lynyrd Skynyrd fans were getting up and into it. When they played "When A Blind Man Cries" the guy in front of me and myself sang right along. A lot of people were looking around as if to say, "What's this, a ballad from Deep Purple?"

The crowd was then baffled and bedazzled when Steve Morse and crew ran through the medley of classic rock songs from The Who, Led Zepplin, AC/DC, Edger Winter, The Beatles and others and into "Smoke On The Water. The place just erupted and the southern rockers were converted. The encore of "Hush" and "Highway Star" had the Blossom Music Center jumping. In my humble opinion it almost looked as if the band didn't want to stop there once they saw that they had the crowd in their hands.

Come back soon. Thanks for a great show. By the way, I did drive 'Ted' home. He just had to buy me another beer ($6.50 a piece for a draft beer).

P.S. I'd love to see you guys do a show with 90% material from "Purpendicular", "Abandon", and your next album. I think "Aviator", "A Touch Away", "Fingers To The Bone" are some of your best work and should be included in your live shows once in a while. (In my humble opinion these are the best times to hear the best Deep Purple music and see the best Deep Purple lineup.)

Tom Bopp

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