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

Deep Purple was the show!

Back in May, it was announced that Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ted Nugent (or Sweaty Teddy as he called in these parts) and Deep Purple would be performing in concert together to celebrate the 27th birthday of 99.7 KY-CLASSIC ROCK Station. I was not going to miss this concert. It was scheduled for July 3rd, 2001 at the Sandstone Amphitheater.

For twenty-eight years, regardless of who the band members were, Deep Purple has been my favorite as far as rock bands go. The music of Deep Purple has pulled me through the hard times.

As the concert started we heard this loud enormous sound of feedback coming from the speakers. This sound could have put Ritchie Blackmore to shame (thank God for earplugs). Out walks Ted Nugent. His part at the concert was about one hour long. During which, he was rude, crude and so loud you could not make out what he was saying most of the time. He gave his opinion on the world. Stated the U.S. was the best and the rest of the world was #@$%. Then said something about pork and how it compares to the taste of the British. Who knows what he was rambling about?

He did his favorite hits "Strangle Hold", "Storm Troopers", and "Can't Scratch My Peter". Oh, I'm sorry, I mean "Cat Scratch Fever". Like I said it was way too loud to understand what he was saying or singing. Next on the stage was Deep Purple. The music they played was rich and full of life. You could make out every word that was said and sung by Ian Gillan, the soul of this band. His performance and what he said made the audience get more involved with the concert.

My hat is off to Steve Morse, what a great guitarist! His intro into "Smoke On The Water", made the people come to life. Steve has given something to this band that it has never had. They seem to finally be enjoying playing together. The stress and hardships that they had with Ritchie Blackmore are no longer there. I have never seen this band so happy playing their music together. Jon Lord, Roger Glover and Ian Paice are the heart and blood of this band. Age has not slowed them down in the least. Many a rock group could take a lesson from them. Next up was Lynyrd Skynrd. The only high point in this part of the concert was Rickey Medlocke. He seemed to be the only one moving on stage. (Heavyset people should not wear spandex.)

I have seen this band in the past and the theme is always the same: have a beer, grab a gun and some bullets and south will rise again. Most of the audience was working hard on the beer part of this formula. I do agree with one thing Ted Nugent said at the concert. To paraphrase-The only way to listen rock music is clean and sober.

Deep Purple was the best part of the concert. Many thanks go to Ian, Roger, Jon, Steve and Ian for the concert you gave us!

Michael Freeman

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