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

Deep Purple in Perth
Jurassic Rock Alive & Well In Australia

Last night, at a sellout concert at the Burswood Superdome, a collection of the aged, the follicly challenged, the middle aged but still sprightly (including yours truly) and the obscenely young watched Deep Purple rock the socks off Perth for the first time in fourteen long years.

After surviving an unadvertised local support act, the audience was blitzed with two hours of high energy, brilliantly performed rock. The band played as single unit and appeared to be genuinely happy and enthusiastic about playing the gig together. Steve Morse was very well received and definitely appeared to be the man for the job, he took a lot of the lead and looks happy and confident in his roll. Although the Morse era numbers were well received it was definitely the old classics that got the audience fired up (even "Perfect Strangers" seemed to be something new to some of the audience!). The set list (correct order not guaranteed) was:

Ted the Mechanic
Strange Kind of Woman
Almost Human
Pictures of Home
Watching the Sky
Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
Woman From Tokyo
Steve Morse guitar solo
Smoke on the Water
Perfect Strangers
Speed King

Black Night
Highway Star

Ian Gillan proved you don't need long hair to be a Jurassic rocker as he sported a new, short (and suspiciously dark looking) hair style, thankfully the 60's throw-back jacket with shoulder tassels was quickly abandoned after the first number. A barefoot and bandana wearing Roger Glover looked fit and energetic even though the grey hairs look to be overcoming the darker variety. A bandana wearing human dynamo called Ian Paice was simply stunning with his energy and drumming ability. Steve Morse's guitar playing was similarly brilliant. Personally my only disappointment was that Lord Jon was physically situated too far back and seemed content to let Steve Morse take most of the instrumental lead. As a dedicated Lord fan I was hoping to see more of the great man and his musical brilliance.

For me the highlights were "Pictures of Home", "Fireball", "Speed King" & "Highway Star". Little Ian performed "Fireball" with only the one bass drum [He has a double pedal though. - Ed.] (is he drumming better now than 30 years ago?) and the number just oozed power and energy. SOTW really got the crowd jumping and Jon and Steve could have kept on "duelling" forever in "Speed King", it was that good. The crowd gave them an ovation before the number had even finished. SK also featured a short sharp solo from little Ian. By the time the band launched into the final number, "Highway Star", the atmosphere was electric and DP gave it there all in a stunning performance that had the crowd on their feet singing, cheering and dancing.

The only thing wrong with the evening was that it had to finish. Big Ian promised that it would be less than fourteen years till the next time they are in Perth. Make that a LOT less than fourteen years guys. Come back soon, we love you.

Vic Bennett

[ reviews | the highway star ]