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

A Convert & Gillan the Golfer

I want to admit right off the bat that I've never really been a Deep Purple fan. Respect would probably be the correct term to describe my feelings for the band, but not "fan". In the days leading up to the show, I noticed that the local classic rock station was giving away an incredible number of tickets. On Saturday my best friend went to see Poison (his wife likes them), and when he picked up his tickets, there was a voucher, from TicketMaster, for Deep Purple tickets. Since there was no way for him to get out of work, he gave the tickets to me, and I took a friend who knew nothing about Purple, save for "Smoke On The Water". (Don't worry, the pre-amble is almost done.) Like I do for most concerts, particularly bands that I'm not "into", I fired up the computer searching for recent reviews and setlists (hence, how a "non-fan" ends up on Deep-Purple.com). I checked out the reviews for the June 2nd show, and was bummed. The setlist had a total of four songs that I knew, and only 75 minutes!?!?! My expectations were not high, but knowing that this was being filmed for DVD left a small glimmer of hope.

It's now a quarter after seven, and my buddy and I are walking up to the venue entrance. Both of us were impressed when we saw a camera crew interviewing fans. Would this DVD be more than a quickie knock off? At a quarter to eight, some guy comes out to introduce Dave Mason, the opener. He announces, for anyone who doesn't already know, or hasn't figured out from all the cameras, that the show is being filmed. But not just Purple. Dave Mason is also filming his set for a seperate disc. Just a quick run-through of Mason's set (the word "respect" rather than "fan" is even more applicable here!). Mason was in a very jovial mood. His guitar work was great. Very fluid. I didn't recognize most of the songs, but they all sounded familiar. I mean that in a good way. He finished up with "All Along the Watchtower" and "Feelin' Alright", which what little crowd there was got into (I would say that the theater was, maybe, half full for Mason's set). For the encore, he re-did "Watchtower" (said he was out of tune the first time), and played "Gimme Some Lovin'". Very good set. The best thing I can say about it is that I'll probably pick up the DVD, I enjoyed it that much. Just as people are starting to file out, the guy who intro'd Mason comes back out, asking us to stick around a few minutes, so that they can film some stock crowd shots. We all stood, clapping and hollering for 1 minute, then he had most of the crowd (he wanted 90%) sitting while we clapped and hollered, eventually standing up. We did what he wanted, then went out for a smoke (on a side note, Sunrise Musical Theatre is a great place to see a show, the only downside is that they have small smoking areas that, when packed, are like walking into the smokestack of a coal burning power plant. No need to light up, just breathe.)[Or quit the habit?! Non-smoking Rasmus]

Now, here's the part that most of you have skimmed down for, Deep Purple! I just want to give a bit of set-up before I start. Sunrise Musical Theatre is a relatively small theater with a mezzanine. No tickets were sold or given out for the Mezzanine, so realistically the place was only 3/4 full. South Florida crowds tend to be on the apathetic side when they _pay_ for their tickets, and half of this crowd probably got in for free! So, there's your setup.

SETLIST - I'm not going to go too in depth here. From what I can remember it was pretty much the same as the Sapporo, Japan show from this year. During "Speed King" they went into "High School Confidential" by Jerry Lee Lewis. I really dug the irony in that. The guitar parade before "Smoke On The Water" included "Free Ride" (Edgar Winter Group) and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds".

BAND - It was just Deep Purple. No brass section. No special guests (everyone was wondering if Nugent would show up. Evidently they borrowed a couple of his trucks, since there were huge Nugent graphics on the sides of them.).

SHOW - Do the words "Jesus F - - - - Christ" mean anything to you? It was one of the all time best shows I've every seen. Musically they were the human equivalent of perfect. The amount of energy the band had was astounding. It was almost as if they had to force themselves to slow down for the ballads. The band was having a blast up there, and it showed. By rights, this version of Deep Purple should be filling arenas and stadiums. They are as good, if not better, than Mark II.

CROWD - Wow! Maybe it was knowing that they were being filmed, but the crowd was so far into this show you'd have to dig 'em from the other side. Of course, you'd have to be dead or deaf not to be sucked into this show.

OVERALL - I will never, ever miss another Deep Purple show by choice again. The word of the day was "POWER" and the band lived it. If the DVD captures even half of the experience of the live show, it will rank as one of the best concert videos of all time.

LETDOWNS - I was slightly disappointed that they didn't play "Any Fule Kno That" or "Space Truckin'", but the disappointment didn't last long. The only thing I can really complain about was Ian Gillan's clothes. Too much of the time he looked like he should be going golfing. It was too big a contrast to the rest of the band, who looked like bikers in various stages of life (Roger - the hippie biker, Ian Paice - the "bad ass" biker, Steve - young, spiritual biker, Jon - ex-biker made good, Ian Gillan - Golfer). That is literally the only negative thing I can think of about this show. It really was an awesome experience.

Noel Aronson

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