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

A Deep Purple concert, a goal in life

Ever been to a concert where a performer has to play another song again because the "Director" didn't like it? Well, it happened last night at Sunrise Musical Theater in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As we all know, the performance was being taped for a DVD movie release. As it turns out, both Dave Mason and Deep Purple were being taped for separate DVDs. And, it was very interesting being a part of the "movie set".

Dave Mason started off the show at 7:35pm and was spectacular. This was no "warm up" act; his band played for 1 hour and 30 minutes, starting the show with "Let It Flow", going through his highly successful 70s solo career, and spending quite a bit of time with songs from his Traffic days. The band was tight, guitar solos were long, and Dave's voice was right off the record. Dave's final song of the set was "All Along The Watchtower" and the crowd reveled as he related time spent with Jimi Hendrix. The enthusiastic crowd called Dave back for an encore, and then things got a little weird.

Dave kind of stood at the microphone for a long moment and then sheepishly announced that there had been a bit of a guitar tuning problem with the prior song and announced that his encore would start off with..."All Along the Watchtower"! So, we got a double dose of the song to make the director happy. Didn't seem to bother anyone. Dave then proceeded to finish up with one of his early songs, "Gimme Some Lovin", when several stagehands came onto the stage stopping the show. Seems its time to change film! Dave was just as amused as the rest of us and he got the crowd rocking one final time.

During intermission, the film director came on stage and instructed us that he needed several crowd shots. For the next ten minutes, we cheered, whistled, and screamed at the crew disassembling the set as cameras panned through the crowd. The director made us all stand up, then sit down, half up/half down. This movie business is tough. [Bet you got sore legs from all that?! ;^) Rasmus]

About ten minutes later, all was forgotten as the lights came down and Ian Paice entered the stage, then Roger, Jon, Steve. No fanfare, just right into "Woman From Tokyo". Just in time, Ian Gillan appeared, and I'm happy to report, with short gray hair similar to my own, grabbed the microphone and the tone was set for the evening. However, it seems that he forgot his shoes and played the whole evening barefooted! Next, it was "Ted The Mechanic" and then on to selections covering the entire spectrum of the band, including a sizzling version of "Lazy" as a tribute to Tony Ashton.

Let's talk about Steve Morse. During a restroom break, I heard the comment of the evening - "Ritchie who?" I've seen Steve on several Purple DVDs, but those are no substitute for witnessing the real thing. People were in absolute awe of the man's talent; I even saw Ian and Roger standing by shaking their heads (and smiling like proud fathers!) as they watched Steve wear out another guitar. It is also evident that Steve's musical talents are becoming more prominent as he grows more comfortable with the band (and vice versa).

Purple played for 1 hour 45 minutes, including an encore that included "Hush" and "Highway Star", and for those keeping count, Ian G went through three sets of clothes. His voice was tight and energy high throughout the show. There were tons of smiles between band members and bantering with the crowd. Jon towered over his keyboards with a vengeance (I hope I have half as much energy at age 60), Roger even battled it out with Steve on a guitar solo or two and Ian Paice kept it all together with a solid performance on drums. I, on the other hand, went home tired, hoarse, and am still smiling about the experience.

One of my goals in life was to attend a Deep Purple concert; my favorite group through high school and college years. That goal complete, I'm waiting for your quick return to South Florida. Thanks guys.

Stephen Weimer

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