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

Deep Purple - Made in Murcia Sept 16th 1998

Well, it's only a short time ago since riffs of Deep Purple were rising on the Colorado night air, and now 4,000 miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, the pure energy of the band and the chants of the highly excited crowd fills the night air in the little Spanish Town of Murcia nestled in the sunny Costa Blanca.

Thankfully the support group, who I still don't know the name of (and don't wish to) left the stage after about the third song. Well can we call them songs? It was more like a dog was fighting with a tomcat. I asked at the office selling tickets, a Deep Purple lighting engineer and a man selling Deep Purple t-shirts who the support group was but alas no-one knew. Anyway enough of them... Fortunately they left early but what a contrast from the Dream Theater and ELP support in the US.

So there we were 11pm, the crowd packed like sardines standing on the hallowed sand of the Plaza de Toros in Murcia with an atmosphere electric with anticipation. The barriers of nationality and language non-existent in this common language of music.

The concert was everything I expected and more. The mix of numbers giving an excellent opportunity to hear the new work yet managing to feed the insatiable desire and hunger for the old favourites. Strange Kind of Woman, Bloodsucker, Smoke on the Water, My Woman from Tokyo, Lazy, Speed King all coming through. Steve More played an astounding introductory solo to Smoke on the Water but there were so many excellent cameos all the way through. Particularly good was Jon Lord's solo on the electric piano. The one thing which always amazes me is how well the various members of the group filter seamlessly back in after each solo or duet, a credit to their professionalism. One question guys...whatever happened to Child in Time and Space Truckin ?

My first thoughts were that the concert would simply be a mechanical rerun of performances from the US tour, but not so, it was fresh, unique and everything I expected of the band. I'm sure the whole group would agree that for such a small town the atmosphere from the crowd was simply amazing. One nice touch was when someone tossed a large white banner onto the stage with the words "Deep Purple - Made in Murcia" on it, Ian Gillan openly accepted it and draped it over his stand... Nice touch, Ian.

As ever, despite the band performing for nearly 2 hours the concert sadly came to a close. If only I had the money and the time I would head out again for the upcoming Barcelona concert. If only... Well, we can all dream.

Stephen Hull

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