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

This band works hard

What can be said about a band that has survived this long. All of the previous reviews from this tour are right. This band is tight, has well balanced live sound and is having fun. The set list stayed the same from two nights before. My seats where above the "pit". The "pit" being the first 15-20 rows below stage level. My seat was almost center in the first row level with the stage. Ted Nugent hit the stage like the mad man he is. My biggest complaint is that the vocals were way down. His non stop 'hits' package was well received. Ted's last "feedback" note rang out while the roadies took the stage apart.

Next was what I was waiting for. Deep Purple hit the stage full power singing "Woman From Tokyo." Ian was wearing a floral colour satin shirt, gray pants and barefoot. Everywhere on stage wore SMILES (Skynyrd could learn from this). One person sitting dead centre showed a sign "Gillan, Paice, Glover and Morse are Gods but Jon is Lord."

Into the second song ("Ted The Mechanic") Ian did his normal introduction of the song and had changed to a vest. Again smiles, waves, hand gestures to the crowd. Not only did these guys perform but they worked the crowd. The 'pit' never sat down. It was a constant roar. At the end of the organ solo in "When A Blind Man Cries" Ian walked over to Jon and said, "That was beautiful," and after the song he walked to the keyboards and gave him a hug. Obviously Jon played with more emotion tonight. During one of the songs Ian Paice lost a drum stick. I guess his recovery at the Royal Albert Hall (during "Wring That Neck") could not be duplicated tonight.

The energy from the stage was everywhere. Of course the crowd went wild when "Smoke" was played. They did their two encore songs of "Hush" and "Highway Star." Roger was the last to leave the stage. Blowing kisses, waves, hand gestures. This band works hard.

After reading all of the earlier reviews of how Lynyrd Skynyrd is a let down after such a power drive by Purple, I was in the mind set to leave a couple of songs in if it wasn't any good. Well am I glad I stayed. Skynyrd also played a "hits" package. The stage is set for them to close. And the live sound was well balanced, though it was hard to hear the keyboards when it wasn't the lead instrument. The show was very good. And this coming from a Deep Purple fan. They don't work the audience the way Purple do. The only interaction was from the lead singer and Gary Rossington.

It is obvious that this is a record company move and not a joint effort from these bands. They all play different styles. I would love to go to Texas and see Deep Purple with Cheap Trick. There just might be a longer set list there. Hopefully more Morse era material. All in all it was a great show and fantastic to hear them live. If you love the band don't miss out. Remember they are playing now. If the "big" tour next year doesn't come through you may have to wait another 3 years the way we did in Toronto.

Brian Wormington

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