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

Solnahallen Stockholm, Sweden 3rd of October 1998

The Solna Sporthall north of Stockholm was sold out. 3500 had crammed in to the "arena". Hammerfall was probably not a good choice to be support act to a band of Deep Purple's magnitude (but then again, I've seen some really lousy bands start up for the Purps; Vixen, Smokie..). I didn't like 'em. They were Swedes playing some kind of German early Scorpion/Helloween/Accept rubbish with Dio/Yngwie Malmsteen lyrics, and having the nerve to play "Man on the Silver Mountain"!
Purple came on and played the same setlist as previous shows in Europe. First out was Ted The Mechanic. A brilliant song, but not perfect as an opener. I would have prefered the chrunchy driving speed of Fireball or Highway Star.
I had read about the song guitar duelling in SKOW, and got worried when they didn't do it. Was Gillan loosing his voice? It didn't sound like that...definetly not! They moved through the setlist playing loud, tight and happily. Great versions of the Abandon tracks and the best version I've heard so far of Woman From Tokyo.
Big Ian told us how he felt after a total boozer the night before; Almost Human, and introduced Perfect Strangers as a song "from the middle ages"...
The guitar/song duel popped up in "Speed King" instead, and great fun it was!
Encores Seventh Heaven and Highway Star were too good to be true!
Pros and Cons
PRO: I've seen Purple Live 6 times (85, 87, 91, 93, 96, 98) and I've never seem them more tight or together. The sound was great. Gillan is amazing! Jon Lord is the coolest Maestro in the world. He played around with the "Smoke" riff in his organ solo spot. They were all having a great time, and Steve fits in better now.
Cons: Sometimes Steve goes a little over the top with the soloing. A few notes too many. He's still my guitar hero. He doesn't have to prove it by playing fastest in the world. On the '96 tour they played some more interesting tunes. Fireball, No One Came, Rosa's Cantina, Maybe I'm a Leo...
All in all, Can't really ask for much more. Brilliant!
Imagine the feeling if they'd played at a bigger stadium crammed with 20 000 people or more. I just want that many people to have the great experience that watching Deep Purple live, really is...
Thanks, Sirs!!!!

Jesper Almén

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