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

Helsinki 29.9

After having two cans of black coffee and some great time with Purple records from '68 to '98 we (me + a few friends more or less Purple fans) left for Helsinki Ice Hall, notorious for its bad acoustics. First thing to do was to look at the merchandise. I think this time the shirts were very stylish, not dragons or fuzzy photographs. Especially the green t-shirt with a "techno" Deep Purple logo is very cool, I think. (But I was proudly wearing that particularly ugly TBRO dragon T- shirt anyway ;-)

Support act Guitar Slingers played professionally, but they are very predictable and thus might be better openers for some AOR band. There are many much better hard rock or especially heavy metal bands in Finland.

And then, after what seemed to be hours- the maestros appeared on stage! The setlist has been written here many times, so I'll comment only highlights and low points. First of all, I had seen Purple only two times, in Helsinki 1993 and during _|_ tour in Stockholm 1996. Especially the latter concert was so fantastic that I felt nothing will ever top it. And if my standards are that high then disappointments are likely to happen...

On the whole, I think the concert was very good but lacked that jaw dropping feel. Maybe the boys were a bit tired. There were some magical moments. High points for me were the amazing, heavy Bludsucker, really rocking Woman From Tokyo and majestic Perfect Strangers. Actually I enjoyed the set thoroughly with the exception of Ted The Mechanic, which I don't like very much. I wish they had included something else from the _|_ album. Gillan was in top condition, his voice was very good and his comments between the songs were extremely funny. At least both Ians and Roger seemed to have fun on stage. Jon Lord's part was the biggest disappointment for me, he seemed to be in a bad mood and kept his solos quite short. And so much I waited for Sibelius' Finlandia performed with roaring Hammond sounds... As much as I like Steve Morse's playing, this time I think he went too far with those fast scales. His playing in e.g. Perfect Strangers and Highway Star was amazing as always, but on some other old songs he did some over-playing. His solo included fantastic quiet parts, but for some reason he always interrupted them with noisy fast scales. And this solo spot lasted too long! The pre-SOTW "lottery" of rock classics took too much time. Enough bashing already, he still is one of my favourite guitarists anyway.

Despite these negative comments I think it was a very enjoyable gig. After the show we headed downtown for a couple of hours of enthusiastic post-show Purple talk. My friends had liked the show very much. Everyone agreed about a couple of points: Woman From Tokyo being one absolute highlight and slight disappointment of Morse soloing. One friend hadn't even heard any Purple after Perfect Strangers, but he enjoyed the gig very much and wondered how those guys still have all that energy and musicianship...

Tomi Korpela

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