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

Purple review Giessen 27 June 1999

I never thought I'd live to enjoy Purple playing just 3 miles from where I live. But it did happen, and the venue - an old monastery on a hill called Schiffenberg - was fantastic. Even Ian Gillan was obviously fascinated: "What a nice place to finish [this leg of the tour]", he said between two songs.
Purple were fantastic, too. With Blackmore out of the band and Steve in, everybody has got used to shows of constantly high quality, but on this day they were really in top form, with Steve and Roger grinning and smiling all the time. Again I enjoyed the down to earth way how Purple entered the stage. The music from the tape stopped, the "boys" came on stage, said hello to the audience, plugged in and "the boys were back in town". No dinosaurs, no Bach toccata, no laser effects - just the musicians and their music counts.
At the end of the support act - 55 minutes plus an encore (!) from the Brandos: great opener indeed - the big Abandon picture behind the stage was taken off. Whatever may have been the reason for it - the effect was stunning: During the two hours Purple were playing in front of the - now visible - half-timbered houses that are part of the monasterial site. Photos of the whole band from this concert will now show unmistakably where they were taken. If I can get hold of the original photo from the newspaper I'll mail it to you. The newspaper print would surely not be good enough [Oh yes, it will! :^) - Ed.].
The only complaints are about the setlist: The Boys Are Back In Town / Pictures Of Home - Ted the Mechanic - Strange Kind Of Woman - Bloodsucker - '69 (incl. bits of Third Stone From The Sun and Paint It Black - Woman From Tokyo - Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming - Watching The Sky - Space Truckin' - SM solo / I'm Not Your Lover closing section - Lazy - Smoke On The Water (incl. I Can't Explain, Hey Tonight, Little Wing, You Really Got Me, Here Comes The Sun, Mr Tambourine Man, Sunshine Of Your Love, Daytripper and one I couldn't pin down - Perfect Strangers - Speed King (incl. bass and drum solos and Jailhouse Rock) - encores: Black Night - Highway Star.
The majority of listeners certainly only missed "Child In Time", but I was disappointed to get only two songs from "Abandon". Last year they played three, so all in all I have only heard four different new songs live. And my favourite, "Fingers To The Bone", was not among them. But what can you do? Interestingly, at the merchandise booth, they only sold T-shirts with the "Best of 30 years" design, but no "Abandon" stuff. That says a lot. I guess Purple must be careful not to be regarded as a purely nostalgic act (Roger Glover himself said something like that about the double bill with Emerson, Lake & Palmer in the latest Darker Than Blue issue). I'm sure the band could take a bit more courage in presenting new material. In a 120 minutes show there should be enough time for four or five more recent songs. This would still leave room to cover the first thirty years.
Still, it was a great evening and I'm looking forward to the next studio album and tour.

Axel Cordes

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