My Woman From Mexico
No, the title is not a mistake as I will explain later, but for those that want to cut to the chase:
The set list, and partial equipment notations for the curious.
Quality & Energy of Performance: FIRST RATE!!!
Now, the story...
I remember the first recollection I have of hearing Deep Purple: In the early 70s my father found a bootleg 8-track of "Fireball" that someone had thrown away, and gave it to me. I was on top of the world because now I had an 8-track that I could claim sole ownership of. On "Fireball" I discovered "Strange Kind of Woman" which had a riff that I hummed until I nearly drove everyone mad. For almost 30 years I've collected nearly every US released album, and read every article on DP that I've come across. In 1996, I discovered the internet, midi, and www.deep-purple.com. Soon after, I was the proud owner of "Live At The Olympia". Between "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming" and Gennaro Marchese's midi transcription of "Somebody Stole My Guitar", my interest in DP multiplied many fold.
When Deep Purple played the House of Blues tour in 1998, I was very tempted to drive the 8+ hours from Dallas, TX to New Orleans, LA to see them, but I did not. It would have been my first DP concert, and I kicked myself numerous times for not doing it. In early 2001, I was very excited to see that DP was going to play Dallas on July 6th. I also noticed they were going to be at the CenturyTel Center in Shreveport, Louisiana on June 7, only 200 miles away. I decided I didn't want to wait, plus the CenturyTel Center was an indoor venture and did not run the risk of a rain out.
Now for the My Woman From Mexico part. That's my girlfriend Elsa, who was born in Mexico. Over the last two years, I've gotten her interested in Deep Purple. When I bought the LSO Concerto DVD, that finalized it, she is very much a fan now. Besides being a DP fans, we also like Steve Morse, I have a Music Man Steve Morse Signature Guitar, 3 video lessons, and numerous Dregs and Steve Morse Band CD's. Elsa was very excited when I told her we were going to the concert.
Many people have the mistaken thought that DP does only rock songs like "Smoke On The Water", "Highway Star", and "Space Truckin'". It is so sad that many have not heard the songs like "Lalena" and "When A Blind Man Cries".
On the drive to Shreveport, I told Elsa that once we got within 50 miles of Shreveport, we should scan the local radio stations and see if we could catch some info on the concert and possibly a band interview. As soon as I turned on the radio, I hit 98.1 Mhz, 98 Rocks. They were talking about the concert and said that they had Nick Faith, a DJ doing a live spot at the CenturyTel, and that anyone who went there could sign up for a contest they were calling The Best Seats In the House. We went there, and when I signed up, Elsa decided to do likewise. Since the doors had not opened yet, we waited in my car and listened to the radio waiting to hear the winner. Elsa won! [Congrats! Rasmus]
Nick told us we would be sitting in the VIP area on a riser next to the soundboard. We waited with Nick until Kevin West from 98.1 showed up and presented us with two new director's chairs. As soon as Kevin handed out the prizes to the winners of other contests they had during the week, he introduced us to Becky Bonnevier of the of the CenturyTel Center who escorted us through the arena to our own private area. We were on a platform similar to a drum riser just to the left of the sound and lighting controls. The riser was surrounded by a barricade just like the sound men, and we truly felt like VIP's. Several other concert attendees congratulated us on our luck, and I got an excellent chance to exchange DP trivia. In addition to Becky, we talked to four other employees of the CenturyTel.
Regarding the performance, one word describes it perfectly - SUPERB! Words can't describe the energy and virtuosity Deep Purple exudes. Even though they have some great concert DVDs, you really have to attend a show to for the full experience.
So, due to Deep Purple creating some to best music in the world, Elsa's love and support of my hobby - music, plus her good luck, the hospitality of both radio station KTAL 98 Rocks, and the CenturyTel Center, plus the enthusiasm of thousands of other fans, we truly had The Best Seats In the House.
Thanks Steve, Ian G, Roger, Jon, & Ian P, you rock the world!