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

Croatia to Columbus

This was the second time that I've seen Deep Purple live. The first time was more than 10 years ago in Zagreb, Croatia. We were confronted with several feet of snow after the concert was over, and Deep Purple was forced to play with only half their equipment because some of their trucks had gotten bogged down in the snow in the Czech Republic a few days before.

This concert in Columbus was, for me, a miracle. The tickets were a birthday present from my new (American) wife. So my impressions of the concert are colored by emotion.

We travelled for 12 hours from Atlanta, GA to see them again. And 12 hours back the next day. But it was worth it - my wife had found tickets only a few feet from the stage!!! (I love you so much.)

A screaming Ted Nugent opened the concert. There was a lot of yelling, swearing and incredibly bad sound, but it seemed to be good enough for some of the rednecks. (Note from wife - "It's an American thing, sweetie - Europeans don't seem to be able to appreciate Ted.")

It seemed to me that Deep Purple was considered to be secondary to the other bands.

They seemed to follow almost the same playlist from their other concerts. They began with "Woman From Tokyo" and finished with "Highway Star". "Lazy" and "When A Blind Man Cries" were incredible.

It was their third concert in three days, so I didn't expect much energy from them, but I was surprised. Ian Gillan was soooooo.......good! He was in good shape and great voice....great, great voice. At his age, it was amazing. The "Master of the Hammond", Jon Lord was proud and strong...and he managed to come up with a few youthful moves and sounds. Paice was almost invisible, but always like an engine, pulling everything along behind him. Glover seemed to be in a very good mood, sharing many of his guitar picks with the crowd. Steve was very good. He seemed to be a little tired, but he was always smiling. (Note from wife: "So, what do you do, Steve, keep vaseline on your teeth?")

I miss Ritchie. The "Magician in Black" was necessary to fill my heart with joy. I'm afraid that no one will ever be able to replace him. Sorry, Steve, I like you very much, but Ritchie is a legend, you know that, too.

Lynyrd Skynyrd has too many guitar players. Nevertheless, I like them.

But, after all of this, I can die happy. Thank you, honey, for the best birthday present.

PS: Too bad you couldn't get to Atlanta - it would have been a great concert!!

PPS: Last note from wife: I helped my husband to write the above; his English is still a little fragmented - he's only been here a year.

My husband is a native of Bosnia. The last time he saw Deep Purple was at the beginning of the war there. He and a friend took a real risk to drive to Zagreb from Banja Luka just so they could see Deep Purple. So this concert meant a lot to him - he thought that he would never get the opportunity to see them again.

And one last thought - my thanks to Deep Purple for helping my wonderful husband survive the last ten years - your music brought him through many black moments.

Ivica and Anne Lukenda

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