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

I enjoyed every nano-second of this!

The setlist:
1. "Woman From Tokyo"
2. "Ted The Mechanic"
3. "Mary Long"
4. "Lazy"
5. "No One Came"
6. "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming"
7. "Fools"
8. "Perfect Strangers"
9. "Hey Cisco"
10. "When A Blind Man Cries"
11. "Smoke On The Water"
12. "Speed King" (incl. bass and drums solo)

13. "Hush"
14. "Highway Star"

The show was astonishing! This was my first Purple show since the Joe Lynn Turner disaster in Radio City 1991, but well worth the wait to say the least. My highlight has to be mentioned first: I never realized how strong a live song "Perfect Strangers" was! The cohesiveness of the sound was definitely phoenomenal, heavy without being too loud and deeply meaningful without too many useless notes. This characteristic was obvious in every song the band played really, not just "PS", but to me the tightness was extremely clear during that tune.

OK, the shoiw started with "Woman From Tokyo" which warmed up the crowd more than adequately, then followed by a great heavy version of "Ted The Mechanic". I never really thought much of "Ted" until this night either, but now I see why this song is played live at every Purple show just about. Loved "Mary Long" to death, after longing to hear it live for oh so many years. According to Ian, the song was about two very annoying people named Mary and Lord(!), and when he sings the line about Johnny writing too many trash, he jumped onto Jon's platform and sung the entire verse standing right next to him! Man, just watching this made me thank god that I was alive!

My seat was right behind the camera tower on Steve's side, 8th row from the stage and I coud see everything the camera was shooting. Jon treated us with a superb short solo going into "Lazy" which had many in the crowd exploding in joy. The first classic "Machine Head" tune of the night, how can anyone stay calm, right? "No One Came" was given another fantastic treatment by the band but during the last sequence, the strobe(?) light was too dark for the camera to capture the band in action. There was total darkness on video monitor on the camera.... Hope this song makes it onto the final cut, it was such a great version.

The crowd started to get cool down during "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming", and it seemed that not too many people appreciated "Fools" when Big Ian (as fit as ever, looking more like in his 30's) announced the song. As soon as Ian screamed his way into the first "I" though, the song was a winner. Steve's solo made everyone held their breath in awe. By the end, the crowd were on their feet again and then came "PS", the place exploded.

Through "Hey Cisco" and the "When A Blind Man Cries", Steve really ruled. "Blind Man" obviously featured another great singing by Ian too, which was followed by "Moby Dick", well, actually "Smoke On The Water". Yup, everyone was waiting for it. All were singing, screaming, going nuts.

An Italian ballad called "Speed King" followed next, but it was hilarious to see these unsuspecting fans who had no idea what song was to follow after "Smoke". I mean, Ian kept saying Italian ballad and nice lullaby and so on, then here comes "Good Golly said little Miss Molly" in the classic "In Rock" Ian Gillan fashion. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Roger's short but steady bass solo was followed by Paicey's solo which had him drumming one-hand for a while. Astonishing! Then Ian started singing "It's Now Or Never", then more rock'n'roll ad-libbing followed which culminated into a fantastic vocal showcase reminded me the good old "No Laughing In Heaven"! How can I not enjoy every nano-second of this!

Everyone was expecting "Highway Star", but the band had more to offer. "Hush", baby! U.S. fans still love this song as much as "Smoke On The Water" I think. One of those classic rock station had a survey a little while ago, I think was WNEW in NYC, like the top 150 rock song of all time or something. Along with "Smoke" and "Woman From Tokyo", "Hush" was there. This version was much more energetic than what was released on the "Nobody's Perfect" album. Finally, "Highway Star" came on. I always have a mixed feeling when this song comes on at the end nowadays, because it means the end is near. Nonetheless, oh what a wonderful version this song was. It was so good, I had to run up to the merchandise stand to grab a "Highway Star" t-shirt before I left the hall. I've already bought two other shirts before the show started and passed on "HS" one... but the band forced me to grab it!

There you have it, a Purple Sunrise. The show was stunning, well worth the DVD release. Ian in red leather pants has to be seen by millions again! I also noticed Jon was not wearing any glasses which I thought made him look quite dignified. Happy early 60th birthday Mr. Lord! Ian and Roger looked just as they did in the Aussie video. So did Steve, but I was quite surprised how charismatic his presence had become on stage although in a very quiet way. I'll never forget the way he gave another life to "Perfect Strangers" in the blue light.

A slight dissapointment has to be added though... Why only 110 minutes, guys? Why not a three hour show without Dave Mason!? A lot of people seemed to like his almost 100 minutes performance but I'd rather have no opener for a Deep Purple show. Sure, "Feelin' Alright" and "Mr. Fantasy" are great songs alright, but not on this day for me, man! I went to see Deep Purple! No "Black Night", "Pictures Of Home", "Fireball", "Into The Fire", "Fingers To The Bone", "Seventh Heaven"... these are songs the band actually played live in recent years! Why not "Smooth Dancer", "No No No", "Bad Attitude", "Mean Streak"... well, I can go on forever I guess. Hey, why should I complain at all, we got 110 minutes not just 75. And Sunrise wasn't even announced during the initial tour announcement, so I am actually more than happy anyways!

Yup, I am still in 7th heaven and will forever be once the DVD is in my hand in near future.

Yoshi Yamamoto

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