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

Another incredible night

I had seen Deep Purple back in 1998 the last time they came around, and was thrilled by how great the show was, so I had high expectations for last night. I wasn't disappointed.

Ted Nugent kicked off at 6:30, and played for 45 minutes. The sound for Ted was pretty bad, I think that's always an issue for opening bands, they never get the good setup. He looked like he was having fun, but I was never a big Ted Nugent fan. I must say though, there was a big Nugent contingent in the audience, they were eating it up. No subtlety in his music, just full bore for the full 45. And he did the flaming arrow bit at the end. He was entertaining, but I was glad to see him get off the stage, because that meant DP would be coming on.

The set list for last night (I hope I get the exact order right):

"Woman From Tokyo"
"Ted The Mechanic"
"Knocking At Your Back Door"
"Pictures Of Home"
"Perfect Strangers"
"When A Blind Man Cries"
Steve's medley "Smoke On The Water"

"Highway Star"

The band came out, and went right into "Woman From Tokyo". No red pants for Ian tonight! The audience seemed to be into this song, I think people knew this one. This was definitely a LS audience but there were quite a few DP fans. You could tell which one's they were! I had two guys behind me that were seriously into every song! Singing all the lyrics, headbanging, air guitar, the works. I think they enjoyed the show!

The band continued with "Ted", which was great, but not as big a reaction from the crowd, as I don't think it was as familiar to them. Next, they went into "Lazy", with Jon starting off with the keyboard solo, then Steve launching into a solo of his own. Seemed to be a well known song, you could here the audience singing along. And then the surprise... "Knocking At Your Back Door"! I haven't seen that they have played this at any of the other shows, or even on the last tour! This was great, one of my favorites off the "Perfect Strangers" album. Excellent rendition, and the audience seemed to dig it.

After that, Ian did a little talk about the next song and where it came from, and right into "Pictures Of Home". Beautifully done, Roger's bass solo was right on, the band was really cranking at this point. They then went into "Fools". The slow beginning, then... BAM! The heavy section nails you! The only issue with this song, at least in this audiece, was the quiet middle section. I think the audience was getting restless after a minute, but then the the song kicks back in, and they've got you again.

Now we have a slowdown, with "When A Blind Man Cries". I wasn't sure how the audience was going to take it, but it seemed to go over very well. And then, we have Steve's medley. I can't recall everything, but I do remember a Cream song, which the audience roared over, and a quite long section of "Stairway To Heaven" with the whole band, which the audience was eating up. Then, "Smoke On The Water". The reaction to this song is amazing! The whole audience was on their feet, singing along, fists pumping down in the front, is was great! The band went off after this, and the whole place was screaming, they won this crowd over.

They came back, Ian announced "Hush", and another roar from the crowd. I underestimated how popular this song was! The audience sang along to almost the whole song. And then Steve does his racing car sounds on his guitar, and the band launches into "Highway Star". Great song, great reaction from the crowd! Steve and Roger were doing a headbanging routine several times during the song, like some 1980s hair band, and the audience was eating this up! They had this audience in the palm of their hands at this point, it was a shame to see them leave the stage. The crowd was roaring, banging on the seats, screaming. I think they made some fans tonight.

Some comments. The band looked happy, as always. It's great to see them up there, having a great time, enjoying this. Ian lost the read pants, in favor of some off white king of color. He was barefoot after the first song. My wife got a kick out of that! As I said earlier, this was a LS fan base, but the band really had them after a while, from Steve's medley right through the end, this was DP's audience. While I would have liked more time, and more songs from the newer albums, I do understand that they are not in front of a DP audience, as they are not headlining, and my guess is they are trying to do more familiar stuff that the audience will react to. And it worked.

I hope someday they will do another headlining show, so I can hear all of what they played tonight, along with more new stuff.

We stayed for a couple of songs from LS, but I just wasn't into it, so we left after that. At least we got out of the parking lot faster!

Great show!

Rick Wells

[ reviews | the highway star ]