It was my first time to the Target Center. It seemed like a small venue, but maybe I'm just getting older and I'm sure things seem much smaller when you aren't seeing double. [Would they look halfsize then? ;^)] Ted Nugents style and scream worked better in the 70s. He certainly isn't an improv artist but he was a good opening act.
The old pros took the stage at about 8:04 pm as Ian Gillan "hiked up" his pants with that familiar smirk on his face in a "here we go again" type gesture to the audience or maybe his pants needed a little hiking up as it looked like Ian has been hitting the treadmill.
They started out with "Woman From Tokyo" and the audience seemed genuinely happy that the Purps were back in town. I'm sure most of the crowd was there to see Skynyrd as they are a big draw in Minneapolis but I think they all had a lot of respect for Deep Purple. "Ted The Mechanic" was next up and is now becoming a Purple live classic, I love Steve's guitar intro to this song, and after listening to Nugent's distortion it was good to hear some real playing, his guitar sound just cuts through the air.
"Lazy" was Jon Lord's turn to show-case his talents. Always an amazing keyboard showman. It's just no question when these guys play together you can see the professionalism, the comraderie and the history. "No One Came" was a pleasant surprise, as was the new arrangement given to "Fools". Some vintage Purple with a new twist. I liked the echoes of Gillans screams bouncing off the back wall of the Target Center. There is only one voice that sounds like that.
Steve did some crazy things on his guitar also during "Fools" and then it was time for "Pictures Of Home" and Roger's bass part, I think that bass riff qualifies as classic material.
"Perfect Strangers" up next, the crowd again seemed to respond. A lot of the younger crowd I had talked to remembered the 1984-85 tour as one of their first concerts. "When A Blind Man Cries" slowed things down, for some blues. Then Ian seemed to be checking with the boys as far as time limits, as Steve IMMEDIATELY broke into his classic-riff guitar solo. "Whole Lotta Love", etc. then when he riffed "You Really Got Me" Ian broke into a verse from the song and again the crowd went wild as the rest of the band joined in. Then of course "Smoke On The Water" that got everybody to their feet.
The encore brought them out for "Highway Star" and that was it. The show ended about 9:14. a 70 min. performance, but I am sure it was back stage pressure that didn't allow for a second encore. Ted had mentioned a little time constraint during his performance.
Fabulous show. A band who is very comfortable to be just where they are at. Steve Morse must be one of the most unselfish guitarists in the world. The only song performed tonight that he had a hand in writing was "Ted The Mechanic". He seems to have put his mark on all the Deep Purple songs and has made them his own. He has probably done more of the Purple repertoire live than Ritchie did. "Pictures Of Home", "Fools", "No One Came", "When A Blind Man Cries" were never done with Mk 2.
I hope to see them again soon and look forward to another great CD from these guys.