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

Purple Storms Scranton!

Last night, June 12, 2001, Northeastern PA was taken by storm. Not by the short rain shower that came and went, but by rock's greatest band - Deep Purple!

The band took the stage with confidence and enthusiasm, starting their set with "Woman From Tokyo". I was watching from the 6th row, center. Soon, people began to move forward and stand in the aisles and near the front barrier. I moved up as well. We were all made to go back to our seats, but I saw an open one in the front row, so I sat in it. No one seemed to mind it, and I was glad!

The band were dressed as follows: Ian Gillan, in a wildly printed shirt that read, "Australian Bear Tree", white pants that were split at the bottom, and bare feet, of course! Roger Glover, a very nice blue shirt and black pants and shoes. Ian Paice and Jon Lord were both wearing black shirts, and Ian had a red bandanna on his head. (I imagine that they were wearing pants - I just couldn't see them at this point!) Steve Morse had a white t-shirt with a black design on it and black pants and shoes.

The crowd was warming up to the band very well, I was impressed! I did my part doing the wild cheering in the front row, amidst some dormant Skynyrd fans who were calmly awaiting their idols. Ed Janx (from THS) and his brother Chris were taking photos and/or video in the front at the barrier. The fun was just getting started!

I watched the band follow "WFT" with "Ted the Mechanic". Then, "Lazy" was next. Ian Gillan at this point decided that his shirt was too warm and came back onstage wearing a vest. "No One Came" was excellent... I was really enjoying DP's performance from my vantage point. Then they broke into "Fools". Ian described this song as being "about the little devils inside you - with the little pointy things." (makes horn gestures with his fingers on his head)

Meanwhile, the owner of the vacant seat that I was in came back to claim it. I looked up at Ian G and shrugged as if to say "Oh, well!" but to my surprise he motioned for me to come up onstage! (For real!) I jumped over the barrier and Bruce (what a wonderful man!) escorted me around and gave me my "All Area Access" pass. This was very, very cool ... I had never seen a show from the stage before!!!

"Pictures Of Home" was next on the list, followed by "Perfect Strangers". I guess they are shuffling their set list around a bit? "When A Blind Man Cries" followed. I have always loved this song, it's so bluesy and emotional. I noticed that the crowd seemed very impressed by it, and DP were getting more applause and cheers as the night went on.

Watching the show from behind Roger Glover, I saw the crowd erupt with joy at hearing Steve improvise his "Smoke On The Water" intro. He first played "All Right Now", then "Livin' Lovin' Maid", and finally "Won't Get Fooled Again" before they kicked into "Smoke". If there was one person in the audience who didn't know who Deep Purple were, by now they did! ;^) People were on their feet as far as the eye could see. I was so happy!

The last two songs of the evening were "Hush" and "Highway Star", songs that everyone knew and were singing along with. I have to say that at first I was wishing they would play songs from "Abandon", but the show was great even without them. The band's magical chemistry onstage never fails to amaze me. Smiling, laughing, interacting with the audience... These guys love their fans and it shows!

I got my ticket signed by the band. I spoke briefly with Steve Morse, and more later with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, who spent a lot of time talking to me and the others in the backstage area. Ian and Roger always seem to recognize me, which is great! I'm a nice person, they're nice guys, and we all get along! :^) [Don't just take her words for this, folks - I'll vouch for Angie any day! Rasmus] Roger told me that he was going to put me on the guest list, but I had left home before the email would have arrived. So, no harm done... We had fun chatting about music and life in general until the band had to pack up and leave.

I would also like to say "Hi" to Sue (I think... the photographer, I'm terrible with names) and the other fine lady who let me use the dressing room toilet while the security guard roared at me that I didn't belong back there. LOL

Another thing... Merchandise at this show was still available AFTER the concerts were over. I think that this is a great idea, since the bands may have made new fans (or bigger fans) after the fact. The people were lining up to buy things, too! [So what was the merchandise like? Rasmus]

I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone! Even the casual fan. Bring your kids, too... Show them what REAL music is all about! Deep Purple is a band for everyone who enjoys rock music at its finest!

Angie Zinn

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