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

Review, Gießen, 27th June 1999

----------eNERGYYYEEEAAAHHH-->>>>- 1999/06/27 Gießen, Schiffenberg

On June 26th ("Are you sure?") I attended a concert that began with an intro called "The Imagination Of Chaos"! Must have been a new purple noise !? Well, not really, I was sitting in the church of my home town listening to Joseph Haydn's "The Creation" for about 2 hours. The concert ended with well deserved standing ovations...and was the ideal "contrast program" for the Deep Purple concert on the following evening on the Schiffenberg close to the town of Gießen. Haydn no doubt was a genius, however, unfortunately he had no opportunity to listen to the intro of "Speed King" on DPiR to get an idea of how chaos can musically be realized ... ;-)

While sitting in the church I had no reason to unpack any ear protection ... a fact which ought to be dramatically changed in the yard of the medieval monastery where the Deep Purple concert 'broke loose'. Having some ear problems I prepared myself with army ear protection (used when training with hand grenades) and dared to manoeuvre for a position in the fourth row from the stage. If anybody has problems with Deep Purple loudness: I can strongly recommend this ear protection! My body and my clothes were vibrating but my ears only listened to wonderfully loud sitting room decibels. :-)
The profile of the ear protection looks like a fir tree, approximately like this:

     \ \ \

It is made out of soft plastic material.

About 5000 people came to see and to hear the band, according to a local newspaper report. Support act were "The Brandos". The weather was warm and dry, excepted a few minutes of rain while The Brandos were still playing.

What I like very much when it comes to musical super stars is: professionalism. Deep Puple started as announced at 8:30 PM, were sober (unlike some people in front of the stage), knew their stuff and ... hammered it convincingly into our minds and bodies!

The setlist, probably not complete and certainly not always in right order:
(The Boys Are Back In Town)
Pictures of Home
Woman from Tokyo
Space Trucking
Ted The Mechanic
'69 (a couple of quotations, e.g. something from the Stones)
Watching The Sky
Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
Perfect Strangers
Smoke On The water
Speed King ("incorporated" Blue Suede Shoes)

Black Night
Highway Star

The 'obligatory battles' between Steve and Jon as well as between Ian and Steve belonged to the highlights of the evening in my perception. The same holds for all solos ... and while I'm writing this I clearly feel how poor words - and especially MY words - are to describe this experience! Logical conclusion: Go and see and listen yourselves!!

Sometimes I took a close look at them with my binoculars. For instance, I tried to follow Steves fingers while playing the solo parts in 'Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming': It's near to impossible, and I guess you cannot learn very much from observing his fingers when he is playing so fast. :-)

All in all: These 'old' rockers have very much more to give than a lot of bands that try to make 'rock music' or so-called 'heavy metal' nowadays!

I am a fan since 1970 and, believe me or not, this was my first Deep Purple concert ever. However, the experience was unsurprising in a sense: I expected brilliant musicianship, jazzy solos, 'battles', 'noise', the characteristical musical dynamics (which I define as variation of loudness together with information content, a category in which Deep Purple are world champions), and of course very well known melodies, harmonies and sounds. I got what I expected! :-))))))))))

On these pages I never commented on the performance of individual band members... and I won't do that now. However, one thing should be said about the band in its current lineup: My impression is that they can certainly do even more, especially experimenting with new sounds and forms, incorporating classical music as well as inventing surprising new stuff.

Rüdiger Heinzerling

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