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

Very fresh and exciting concert

My first concert was in 1985, and I haven't topped it yet: The Texas Jam at the Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas. Ted Nugent (already legendary, rocked hard), Bon Jovi (young and hungry then, very energetic), Night Ranger (OK), Scorpions (wild and loud, end of their World Wide Live tour, smokin'!), and headliners Deep Purple (blew me away! Sounded great, had green lasers shooting everywhere, played all the classic stuff and the best stuff off the recently released "Perfect Strangers" album.). Last night in Wichita, I got to see Ted and Purple again. Not only did I get to relive some great memories from that '85 show, I saw a very fresh, exciting concert and added to my collection of great rock 'n' roll memories.

For details of Purple's show, I'll refer readers to John S. Vinet's excellent review of the previous night's show in Bossier City, LA. The Wichita show was almost identical, except for the "Riff Medley" prelude to "Smoke On The Water": Steve Morse started out with "Back in Black" by AC/DC, then moved on quickly to "La Grange" by ZZ Top, "Moby Dick" by Zeppelin, "Purple Haze" by Hendrix, and a couple others that I thought I recognized, but it's hard to be sure because they all went by so fast. Did I also hear Frankenstein? Oh well, at any rate it was fun to watch even the other band members, who looked like they had no idea what was coming next.

I concur with other reviewers that Purple played a monster set. I wish they could have played much longer and done some of my other favorites ("Strange Kind Of Woman", "Speed King", "Child in Time"... and what about "Never Before"? That's such a cool song, have they never made that a live staple? I guess when you have SO MANY cool songs...) [There is one live version of this song available officially - it's on the "In Concert" album taped live at the BBC studios in London in 1970 and 1972. This also includes "Maybe I'm A Leo", another live rarity. Rasmus]

I bet everyone knows what to expect from Ted Nugent and Lynyrd Skynyrd, so I won't go into that except to say Ted is a lot of fun and rocks as hard as he did 16 years ago in the blistering Texas heat at the Cotton Bowl. But I have a question for others who saw the Wichita show: Who was the guy with the acoustic guitar who played for about 20 minutes and was unceremoniously ushered off the stage before the real show started? It was very strange. This guy was not announced, didn't say his name, just walked onstage with his guitar and started playing that song "Hey children what's that sound, everybody look what's going down..." Then he played one or two original songs and talked about hippies for a minute. The crowd responded favorably to this point (charitably is more like it) and then he launched into a Beatles medley, which is when the grumbling started. Then a stage hand tried to get the perfomer's attention by drawing his finger across his throat and motioning for him to get off stage, but he kept playing! Finally they got the guy off and a few minutes later Ted was in his place, rocking out, but I still don't know who the mystery hippy was. Friend of the promoter? Contest winner? Oh well... [Are you sure it wasn't Purple's own stinking hippie? :-) Rasmus]

Anyway, Purple was fantastic, and I encourage everyone to see them. If they come back to this area with a longer set, I'll be there! Rock on!

Peter Burns

[ reviews | the highway star ]