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

DP concert review

Heppenheim, Germany might seem like a long way from Montreal, Quebec, Canada just to see a Deep Purple show. But once I knew there was a German tour and that my school was offering a Summer School Abroad program in Germany, there was no way I was going to miss out. And was it ever great.

Before I go on and tell you more, I would particularly like to publicly thank someone: Christian Rutz is the man! Without him, I never would have found my way from Koblenz to Heppenheim and back. Thanks a million times man!

Alright, Heppenheim is the first stop on this World Tour 1999 that so far only covers Germany mostly [Well, almost... :^) - Ed.]. It was an open air show as they called it (i.e. outside). I've been to two outdoor shows in Montreal but you can't compare. The location is like one of those ancient Greek or Romain outdoor theatre settings with the stage setup in front. It's about half way up a mountain. On the right side of the stage, at the very top of the mountain, was a magnificent castle. Just that sight alone was beautiful.

I got to the location at 4:30 [PM] exactly. I was supposed to look for Christian. Finding someone at a DP concert wearing an Abandon T-shirt, not the brightest of moves but that we didn't meet up was entirely my fault! Sorry Christian (see you in Bad Mergenheim on the 18th perhaps?).

Althought the ticket said doors open at 5:00, they only let us in at 5:45 (so much for German efficiency. To be fair, inside it was all English workers and roadies). At 6:00 or so, it started to rain. This was right after I purchased one long sleeve shirt and one short sleeve T-shirt. They both have the same design but the LS one is dark blue while the SS one is Purple (of all colors). 110 DM -- 60 for LS, 50 for SS. I found a good seat. Slighty to the right of the stage. At around 18:50 or so, the special guest started. It was a band called Paddy Goes To HolyHead. They seemed German but were singing in English and seemed particularly fond of Ireland (think of Blackmore's Night but with an electric Violin. It's not the best comparison but it will do).

The rain stopped near the end of their set at 19:25 but began again at 19:45 or so. Deep Purple went on stage at 20:24. They started with, get this, the chorus of "The boys are Back in Town". This lasted for a minute or so. I'm not very sure what the track list was anymore. I think they played something off of Abandon after.

Songs included, in no particular order,
Woman from Tokyo ("this isn't a song about a Woman, and even if it was, she's not from Tokyo" -- is how Gillan introduced it).

69 ("That songs not about a position but rather about an Attitude")
Bloodsucker (IG said it was from In Rock, no mention of Abandon's version)
Smoke on the Water
Speed King (included "Blue Suede Shoes" in the middle -- Excellent)
Strange Kind of Woman
Perfect Strangers (which is always amazing live)
and a few others.

The show finished up with "Highway Star" of course.

At around 9:00 [PM] or so, it stopped raining. After the song they were playing finished, they all discussed for a second. Ian Gillan then said something like: "We're gonna change the set around a little." They then played "Watching the Sky". Ian changed the lyric to "Watching the sky, NO clouds going by" Ian Gillan was absolutely amazing last night. He was perfect IMHO. Real funny and joking around with everyone. Lots of little comments throughout but I don't think most Germans understood him. I, on the other hand, was laughing like crazy. Thing is though, he really doesn't know the lyrics to most songs off of Abandon yet. On parts he sounded just like on a "Born Again" bootleg, filling in with noises.

One really funny part was when he and Steve Morse were doing like he and TMIB used to do where Ritchie would play and Ian would sing it out (On SKOW off of MIJ for example). Ian went CRAZY going "YES YES YES YES -- NO NO NO NO..." for like a good minute or so. He then stopped and said "That was a cover of an old song. Something from Frank Zappa. I take no credit for my insanity. It comes from all those years on the streets in LA"

Also, both Ian and Jon left at one point while Steve was doing a cool solo. Roger and Ian Paice (Paicey from now on) stayed on. Then Steve would start a song and IP and Roger would join him. After 30 seconds, Steve would completely change the song. Paicey and Roger would stop and then join again. All of these where covers. I recognized most. There was a Hendrix one in there. Being the great Black Sabbath fan I am, I was floored when I recognized "Iron Man"! Insane. "Iron Man" is recognisable but imagine if they had chosen something from "Born Again" instead. Oh boy.

As you can see, the sound quality was PERFECT. Absolutely perfect. This show would have made a perfect LIVE album. Forget "Live at the Olympia". This one last night should be out. Lot's of people took pictures. If there's anyone that has a decent recording of this, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. That said, the show finished at around 10:45 maybe. I bought a DP book which is the making of Abandon. 20 more DM. My train was at 00:52. I got back in my room in Koblenz at 5:05 this morning and slept till 14:25.

That's it for now folks.
Go see this tour, it's great fun.

Philippe Antoine WARDA

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