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

Concert Review Giessen, Germany

Here's a little review from the concert in Gießen, the last gig in Germany on that tour leg.
The venue was at Schiffenberg, a former monastery on a hill in the middle of the woods. Thank God there was a bus transfer! Nice scenery, historical buildings (stone and half-timbered) surrounding a square where they had food and drink stands. A little odd: there was a monster tree in the middle of the square.... well it gave some guys a nice seat with a great view to the stage. The stage was awfully high this time so the first row wasn't necessarily the best spot.

The support band was a band from New York called The Brandos. I've heard a lot of really lousy warm-up bands for Deep Purple in the past, so I was positively surprised by these guys.
They had two guitar players, a bass player and (of course) a drummer. The lead guitar player was also the lead singer, but everybody else was doing vocals as well. The guy reminded me a bit of Bryan Adams.
Their music was honest, handmade hard rock, some songs could be considered irish rock (in these songs the lead guitarist was playing a mandolin). Most of their songs were their own compositions; they also did a cover of CCR's "Walk On The Water". These guys were really warming up the crowd, although it suddenly started raining cats and dogs. They even had to do an encore (as support act for DP) - not bad, huh?

At 9:30 Deep Purple entered the stage. Thank God, by then the rain had stopped.
Like always on that tour they started off with
The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy and continued with
Pictures Of Home
Ted The Mechanic
Strange Kind Of Woman (Steve played an unusual solo in very low tone range, and Ian did a little drum solo here)
Steve used his BLACK Ernie Ball Musicman again. During his improvisation he played something that sounded like "The Mule". Even Paicey started the typical beat, so everybody thought we'd get the Paicey solo now. To me it appeared like Ian was ready for it but Steve gave him some signs which looked to me like "not yet, wait a minute" and he continued his improvisation, including a little "Paint It Black" and more. It looked like Paicey was still waiting for his chance, continuing the Mule rumble. Well, Steve went on and on, did some "duels" with Jon, each one picking up what the other one had started and finally they seemed to forget about Ian and there was no drum solo (yet...).
Woman From Tokyo (LP version with intro and piano solo in the middle part)
Sometimes I Feel Like going to the bar with a friend drinking and Screaming (Ian felt like re-naming the song.... he seemed to be in an excellent mood anyway.)
Watching The Sky
Space Truckin' (with the "outer space" solo of Steve's, also Paicey burned some short but very intense little fireworks on his kit. This man is simply the BEST on his instrument. You may remember from my last review that he was sick and therefore not able to play to the limit. Tonight he seemed to be fine again and he simply ruled!)
Jon Solo
Lazy (It still swings!)
Medley (Don't ask me for titles, of course I know all the riffs, but recalling them, no... There was Kinks, Zep and AC/DC again, new was "Up Around The Bend" of CCR, "American Woman" and something which sounded like "Hey Joe" to me.) He used the black guitar again, and did the lower bar fast hammer-on stuff. After a while he "finds" the right classic riff and they go for
Smoke On The Water (this time they played the swinging interpretation again, the one from Bad Mergentheim. Only in Balingen they did it more conservatively, I guess that was for the "non-Purple" audience... Again Jon picked up the smoke theme on his piano and started
another keyboard solo introducing
Perfect Strangers
Speed King including: Blue Suede Shoes They used it only as a skeleton around some great solos. Steve did a lot of improvisation here, he was walking over to Jon all the time and they were kicking around licks and passing them to each other like a soccer ball - it was pretty much a duel (in a good way) between the two of them. Even Rog took the chance to do some soloing. And, finally, we got a real solo from Paicey - Yeah!
To top all that, big Ian and Steve did a (to me it appeared spontaneous) vocal/guitar duel which started off with the "blue blue" of "Blue Suede Shoes" Ian felt like fooling around with the "blue" and sang it like "blub". He started to love his own idea so much that he couldn't stop himself from doing it, so Steve picked it up with the guitar. The thing escalated and these two raced each other to another and another lick until Ian was totally exhausted. Wow, the old guitar/vocals thing - something we hadn't seen on this tour so far... A great finale.

The encore at this show was
Black Night and
Highway Star

The guys were in a great mood. A wonderful gig. They were improvising a lot and did some very nice solos. Jon seemed to be in a better mood than at the other gigs I've seen where he sometimes was a bit quiet. The audience was absolutely great, gave them a lot of response. It was a nice atmosphere at this venue, people aged between 12 and 60+.

The bottom line is: I had a great time with the guys and they are still the finest that Rock'n'Roll has to offer. Their performances are always thrilling, some say they're better than ever. I guess I can agree with that. I hope they're coming back soon. I will be there, no doubt.

This was just an excerpt of the whole report. More details about the different songs as well as LOTS OF PICTURES of the Giessen event you can find on "Ted Mechanic's Deep Purple Pages".

Axel Dauer

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