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

Reims Concert 9/11/98

I was expecting this concert for quite some time. Having seen the band members in various split configurations in the past it was great to have the opportunity to see them together in Reims.
I was a bit worried that due to the small size of the crowd (2000) DP would stick to their strict minimum. The public was a mix of different generations, with a strong group of grand dads who were pleased to have picked their dusty leather jacket out of the closets.
I had some worries that my expectation of the group performance - based on their earlier live LPs - would not be fulfilled with time potentially taming down our rock stars (as in so many other groups).
Well, so much for my worries! As Ian Gillan stepped on stage (sharp on time) you could feel the magic was back. Ian has managed to retain his extroardinary voice and energy just like you could hear it on Made in Japan. Pitching very high he was perfectly supported by the rest of the band members: Jon towering over his keyboards and the rest of the band, his long silver hair gleaming under the spot light, Ian was still as quick and strong on the drums, and Roger, running around the stage like a teenager, was duelling hard for the front row with Steve. Great music played by great professionals. You could feel they enjoyed themselves, pulling jokes at each other throughout the concert, Ian Gillan teasing Ian Paice at every occasion, with Steve laughing away at Jon's mimics. It is a great privilege to see a band still (and probably even more than before) enjoying being on stage and performing in front of a loyal crowd. DP even gratified us with an encore, closing the show with a Highway Star as fresh and dynamic as on Machine Head.
What a great Finish! Before departing all the band members thanked the crowd wholeheartedly, Steve and Roger throwing all their picks into the crowd, whilst Ian was getting rid of his drum sticks.
Thank you for such a good evening and keep that energy for the years to come.

Patrice Wolff,
Reims, France

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