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

Deep Purple Birmingam NEC 15th October

I have been a fan of Deep Purple since 1970 when a friend introduced me to Deep Purple In Rock. I had never heard anything like it before and instantly became a devoted addict (thanks Chris, where ever you are). I lost interest in the eighties but mainly through the web site have taken an active interest in the band over the last few years. I was particularly impressed with Purpendicular and have played the album again and again. On our summer holiday this year we stopped at Montreaux and found the Grand Hotel where the fantastic Machine Head album was recorded all those years ago. The Hotel had now been turned into private apartments so I could not get in and have a look around. Anyway, this is supposed to be a concert review!
My mate Gary and I seemed to wait ages for the band to come on but they were definitely worth the wait. They started off with Ted the Mechanic, the sound setup was fantastic with everything clear and detailed. I was not really a fan of Steve Morse on the Live At the Olympia album but the way he played on the night was superb, perhaps the months of touring have enabled him to settle more into the band, I have to say I did not miss "the man in black" at all! "Pictures of Home" is one of my favourites with Roger Glover's little bass solo rattling the fillings at the back of my mouth. What a treat to hear "Lazy" with Jon Lord's lovely Jazzy organ work. I suppose it is difficult to balance the old with the new, but I noticed a lack of enthusiasm in the crowd for the "Abandon" material, I guess it will not really go down in history as one of Purples classic albums but I did enjoy "Watching the Sky". Ian Gillan was in fine form, I was especially pleased he had decided not to wear the perculiar jacket he wore on "The Big Breakfast" TV show the day before! Ian Paice performed perfectly as always, in all the incarnations of Purple over the years I have always felt Ian gave 110% at every gig. "Seventh Heaven" was a suprising choice for the encore, but then we were treated to a much more satisfying "Highway Star". A great concert guys, thanks a lot.
One or two minor gripes though, Fourteen pounds is a lot of money for a tee shirt, even if it has got Deep Purple written on it, and what is the point of having seating in the centre of the hall when everyone stands up all the way through the concert?

Dave Nixon

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