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

"Fools", the strongest tune of the set

I've been a DP fan since "Fireball" in 1971. I've seen every tour since 1976. I am as happy as anyone that they are still cooking. I am a DEEP PURPLE fanatic thru good and bad. Keep this in mind as I write this in all honesty.

Deep Purple are back with a vengeance. [Where have they been??? Rasmus] Last night they played like a well oiled machine. They really had no choice, being pinned between Ted Nugent and Lynyrd Skynyrd. I arrived at my seat just in time for DP's entrance. I had row C, seat 4. Normally this is a 3rd row seat, but being the way the seating was angled, it was a front row, right in front of Roger.

I knew what was coming, having read the reviews right here. The set list is the same, with "Fools" being IMHO, the strongest tune of the set. Ian G singing it with a Devilish growl, and the echo unit angrily accenting the opening line. Very impressive. Steves solo for "Fools" started out in the same way as the "Fireball" (Blackmore) version, only to morph into his own crafted mix of arpeggios and scales.

Jon's solos throughout the night were typical JL, lot's of keyboard length growls. I have never liked his current position on the stage, next to the drum riser. Maybe it's because I'm so used to seeing his profile at the left side. Unfortunately, IMHO, it seems like he takes a backseat position to the rest of the band. This may be my own personal prejudice, because of my love for the Blackmore driven DP. It always seemed to me that with the personal rivalry (as did the rest of the band) JL had with Ritchie, that Jon would drive his solos to the brink of his Hammond's capability. He seems more content to go with the flow now.

Ian Gillan also had a great night. His voice was powerful, and unwavering throughout the whole show. He still had enough in him to deliver "Highway Star", the way it was meant to be sung and finish with a scream. IG was screaming all night long. I have seen him on many occasions where his voice starts giving out halfway thru, and really struggles to the end. Last night it seemed effortless. It was a special treat to hear him sing this well thru out. Maybe the shortened set and some time off between shows is a godsend.

Roger seemed more energized by the crowd than his usual bottom line approach. He seemed to be adding extra bass lines where there usually aren't any. This was most noticeable at he beginning of "Highway Star", while Steve is doing that engine revving thing he does so well, Roger let his bass walk a little bit, much to Steve and Ian's astonishment/surprise. Ian walks toward Rog smiling, and Roger laughing, as if to say (in Pee Wee Herman voice) "I meant to do that"

Here's my personal taste getting in the way again. [But that's what a review is all about! :-) Rasmus] Steve Morse genuinely plays his heart out. However, by the time of "When A Blind Man Cries", his sameness arpeggios and scales started to wear thin on me. Just in time for a change of pace when he recreates some of RB's solo work in "Smoke On The Water" and of course "Highway Star". It was perfect timing.

Even though it seemed like a mostly Skynyrd crowd, it was great to hear all the crowd singing along during "Perfect Strangers", "No One Came", "Woman From Tokyo" and "Highway Star".

I think one surprise was the inclusion of "Hush" during the encore.

There was also a great distraction of the show. Sitting next to me was a beautiful, big breasted gal, who just loved to show her jugs to the band. At one point, during "Lazy", IG had to drag Steve across the stage (and I read his lips) and show him "you gotta see what we have over here". IG personally handed over his harmonica to her at the end of the song. Ian Paice came rushing over, dropped to his knees and bowed to this lovely gal at the end and also handed over his sticks. I know Bruce was snapping away and video-taping her every move. Please Bruce, let us see the pictures.

Another highlight is Ted Nugent coming down after two DP tunes and sitting, unnoticed by all except me, just three seats away and enjoying Purple's set. He even pee's in the same men's room, virtually unnoticed.

All in all. A "SUPERB" show. Thank you DEEP PURPLE.


Brian Stephen

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