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

Made the hair on my neck stand up!

I just got back from a long day at the Tweeter Center (a venue to avoid at all costs!) outside of Chicago. Doors opened at 1:00, and the opening act started at 3:00. There were two local acts as well as the advertised headliners. Survivor, Nugent and the local acts suffered from really poor sound, although in Nugent's case, it made no difference. In this neck of the woods Nugent has a strong following, and he put on a high octane set that had the crowd on its feet from start to finish, and made it a difficult job for anyone to follow.

At around 7:30 the mighty Purple took to the stage, opening the show with "Woman From Tokyo".The sound was much improved by this time, and the band all looked and sounded ready for action, Gillan being in particular fine voice. The crowd rose to its feet, and Purple dove right into the opening tune.

The set list went something like this (I didn't write it down, so it might be a bit off):"Woman From Tokyo", "Ted The Mechanic", "Lazy", "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming", "Fools", "Perfect Strangers", "Hey Cisco", "When A Blind Man Cries", "Smoke On The Water", encore "Highway Star".

I noticed after "Ted The Mechanic" the audience started to get restless, particularly during "Fools", and didn't settle back down until "Perfect Strangers", which got a huge pop. But the loudest response was saved for "Smoke On The Water". The crowd was deafening! I have never heard a crowd pop as loud as this one as soon as Steve hit the first notes of "Smoke..." Toward the end, the crowd from where I was at almost totally drowned out the band. It made the hair on my neck stand up! It was amazing.

After the last chords of "Smoke...", Gillan thanked the audience, and that was it. End of set.

A ROUSING ovation brought them back for the show closer, "Highway Star" which had the locals dancing in the aisles (as well as revealing different appendages in the 50 degree weather).

That was it, and they were off. The crowd seemed to enjoy it overall, and the Loop radio station deserve credit for plugging Purple's music, if not beforehand (as I don't live in the area and have no firsthand knowledge), certainly yesterday at the show, where they were broadcasting live.

For me, the band sounded slick and tight, but there was no real danger or urgency. I hope things improve as the tour commences, but under time constraints and the direction they are moving in, I'm a bit wary.

Chris Parsons

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