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

Review Essen, 07/10/1998

I just returned from the concert in Essen and wanted to share my impressions with you.

The gates were opened around 18:30, thank god it wasn't raining, I was freezing enough (o.k., maybe a T-Shirt and a Jacket isn't the right clothing in october ;-)

I managed to get a place in the first row (2 meters from stage), on the right side of the stage.

Support act was a band from Switzerland which called themselves "Florian und der Floriantinerstadel" (or something like that), they played for half an hour.

Purple started around 21:00, the concert lasted about 110 minutes.

From my positon the mix was IMHO O.K., a little bit heavy on the guitar, but every instrument was clearly distinguishbly. But IMHO it was a little louder than Hanau, so next time I'll definitely will not forget my ear-protection.

The lightshow was the same, with the /-\ background put to good use.

The clothes
Sorry, didn't pay attention to that, but nothing out of the ordinary.

The stage-setup (view from the audience)
Ian Paice:left background
Jon Lord:right background
the congas middle background
Steve Morse right foreground
Roger Glover left foreground
Ian Gillan theoretical in the middle foreground, in fact the whole stage

The setlist
Ted the Mechanic
Strange kind of woman
Pictures of home
Almost human
Woman from Tokyo
Watching the sky
Finger to the bone
Any fule kno that
Guitar solo
Smoke on the water
Keyboard Solo
Perfect Strangers
Speed king (drum solo included and a verse of something I know but can't put the finger on, maybe someone can help me out??)

Seventh Heaven
Highway Star

So much for what happened, now to the more subjective part:

Let's start with my impressions on the individual performances:
Paice: Outstanding. He was at his best this evening.
Glover: Perfect as ever. Does this man never has a bad day??
Lord: Absolutely at his best. I never saw and have not often heard him in better form.
Gillan: Not his best day. He was clearly struggling.
Morse: Excellent as ever, but I missed some of the fire I thought I saw in Hanau.

Some special highlights which keep popping up in my head:
- Paicey's intro to Pictures of Home and his solo-spot in Speed King, longer than usual and I really like this part when he sounds like he has two bass drums...
- Lord's playing in general: You have to go all the way back to the early seventies to hear him do better. It was breathtaking.
- Roger on bass: This time he was clearly audible in the mix and so I could really appreciate his contribution to the overall sound and feel of the band. If he wouldn't be there, at least some parts of the show were simply noise.
- Steve's Intro to Highway Star: Great stuff, absolutely great. And I don't even begin to understand how he does it?? Would any of the guitar players in this world be so nice and explain to me in simple words, what he is doing to his guitar??
- Ian's congas: At one point they were audible(!), Big Ian hammered with both fists at them. What a sight. :-)

But enough of praise, of course there are some things I missed (a DP fan is never satisfied. :-)
Still I miss a slow song in the set. Steve's solo makes up for a lot and they reintroduced Fingers to the bone but still...

After the show I waited for some time outside the hall and sure enough, Roger and Steve came, they signed everything they could lay their fingers on and had their pictures taken many times.

A nice closing for a really good evening.

Well, that should be enough for now, only two days to Duesseldorf...

Christian Rutz

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