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

DEEP PURPLE in Giessen, Freilichtbühne Schiffenberg, 27th June 1999

Yesterday I attended my second and unfortunately last Deep Purple concert of this year's summer tour and to start with the conclusion it was simply amazing and better than ever before.

The concert took place a few kms outside of Giessen in a very nice surrounding with beautiful old houses and tall maple trees. For a big rock concert it is quite an unusual place as it is mostly used for gigs of local bands or theatre events. Just a couple of weeks ago the local DP cover band Piep Dörpel (check them out if you have the chance!) played at the same place. The audience was also not the typical DP crowd but for the most part local people who simply wanted to enjoy the extraordinary event in their city and party. And that's exactly what they did.

At seven o'clock the show was opened by The Brandos from New York City. As so often in former times the support was not really "purple compatible", but nevertheless played a very good show. Their music could perhaps be described as John Hiatt-type guitar rock with Irish folk influences. The very tolerant audience gave them a good feedback and even obtained an encore.

As far as Purple are concerned it is very difficult to say or write something which has not already been written on these pages. When they entered the stage at 8.30 PM the crowd gave them a loud and warm welcome and they kicked off with a short The boys are back in town which I think is a nice gimmick as quite a number of people looked a bit puzzled. Paicey's furious drum intro led into the extended version of Pictures of home which in the past couple of years has become one of my absolute live favourites.

The band were in an excellent mood and showed one of the most fascinating performances I have ever witnessed before. The show in Gelsenkirchen was already something special but last night was something to tell your grandchildren. Big Ian was especially enjoying himself, telling stories and joking around. In view of their one week vacation before the tour continues they obviously put all their energy and enthusiasm into this last show before the break.

As the setlist seems to have been nearly the same on all the shows I would just like to mention a few highlights like the beautifully flowing version of Sometimes I feel like screaming which IMHO was a bit too unpolished in Gelsenkirchen. Space truckin' came along extremely heavy and powerful and made the entire crowd go nuts. It was followed by Steve's first solo which always deserves to be mentioned and left some of the local musicians with their eyes and mouths wide open. The second solo with the various short cover versions of famous rock songs was also very entertaining as Steve always seems to change the songs. This time it included amongst others Up around the bend by CCR. Jon's solo opened up for Perfect strangers which was as huge and majestic as in the good days of Mark 2a. Speed king was a killer including all the famous ingredients like the duelling, Paicey's ace solo and a Rock'n'Roll interlude with Blue suede shoes.

Needless to say that the audience wanted more and Purple gave them Black night and a furious Highway star with Steve imitating the sound of a roaring engine. A night to remember!

Michael Pflitsch

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