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

DEEP PURPLE - Manchester Arena 18 Oct

I've just returned from my first Purple concert and I must say what an amazing show the guys gave us in Manchester. Although it must have been a disheartening sight to see the arena only 3/4 full they still managed to give 100% throughout the show. After an excellent set by Orphic Soop it wasn't long before the lights were out and DP hit the stage just after 8:30. The crowd was a little subdued, and the venue lacked atmosphere (a packed Apollo might have been better) but that was soon forgotten as the band launched into Ted. The set list was mostly the same as all the other dates I've followed on the net, but to see and hear it live was something else.

I've been into DP for over 20 years and always been used to the Blackmore sound, so this was the first chance to see Steve Morse live (the only way to judge a guitarist). What an amazing musician this man is, I have seen most of my guitar heros live since the late 70's (Schenker, Blackmore, Van Halen, Iommi) to name a few, and this guy is up there with the best. His solos produced some breathtaking guitar play all night, and his duels with Jon and Ian were both brilliant and funny, his long solo had everyone transfixed (did some idiot shout Ritchie Blackmore?).

All the band were in top form and Ian's vocals were as strong as ever, IP drummed like a 20 year old, Jon and Roger rolled back the years. One thing that was noticed was how happy the band was, laughing and smiling at each other and the audience, added to that a good PA and light show, a good time was had by all.

Roll on then the next tour, and let's hope it's to a packed venue somewhere in Manchester, it's what DP deserve.

Mike Hilton

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