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

DeEP PUrPLe - Solnahallen 3rd of October 1998

All in all a good concert. My expectations weren't that high though, I find Abandon slightly boring, with the exception of 3-4 songs. But especially the new songs were great live! Too many old songs that I've heard in better versions before though... After all, I think it was the 16th DP concert I've seen, but I definitely put this above the 2 gigs I saw on their last tour (Stockholm & Uppsala).

Here's a track-by-track review:

Ted (4)
Great opener! Good solid version. Definitely the right thing to start with a "new" song, to show that this IS a new band!

SKOW (2)
Nice to hear it with Steve... But hey, the other guys are not falling asleep are they?? Not much energy put into this one and if they want to do an oldie to get the audience rocking, I think Black Night would do it better...

Bloodsucker (2)
Another sleepy thing... ;( I don't like the new studioversion either. I mean, on the original Gillan sounded ANGRY when he was screaming through the last verse, but now? But, just like with SKOW, it's nice to hear a "new" old song.

Pix of Home (3)
This is done better, I think they woke up for real towards the "Difficult-to-Cure-ish" end of it... ;)

Almost Human (4)
Not one of my favs on the album. But this was done really good!!! A proof that there is something wrong with Abandon??? Production-wise or something... Steve did a lovely intro based on Strawberry Fields, that the others didn't really catch up with.

Watching the Sky (5?, well at least 4++)
Probably THE highlight of the gig IMO. Along with 7th Heaven and Any Fule the only songs I really like on Abandon. And again the live version outscores the studio version with a zillion points... A proof that they still have a future (if they want to) and that they DON'T have to rely on just playing the old stuff.

Woman from Tokyo (2)
Another oldie it seems they're doing pretty much because they think they have to and without putting that little extra energy into it. Skip it for the next tour!

Any Fule (3)
Could be that I was sort of taken away by WtS, but I wasn't as impressed by this one which was done pretty close to the studioversion...

Guitarsolo (3)
Starts nicely with some backing by Jon, but then it slowly turns into a heavier section. Hmm, maybe Steve thinks he's playing in a metal band and that he's standing in front of a metal audience... Maybe he is? Who am I to tell? I can just say that I prefer the solo he did on the last tour, which was more melodic and much more beautiful... Anyhow, the band returns on stage and suddenly they're jamming their way into...

Cascades (5)
Short, but another moment of goosepimps... ;)

SOTW (1)
What can I say?? I just think this is booooooooooooooooooring, and what's worth, I fear some of the guys on stage think that as well... I understand that they "have" to keep it in the set, BUT DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!! Rearrange it! Unplugg it! Remember the version Rainbow sometimes did on their last "real" tour (83/84) (and that Purple mkJLT also did)?

Keyboard (4)
Nothing Over-the-top, but I guess he doesn't have to prove anything anymore. The solo is kept quite short, yet it includes most of the ingredients he has used during the 80s and 90s with the exception of a NOIZE-part and a rocking-the-hammond-almost-til-it-falls-over part. And I don't have to see/hear that again... Towards the end of the solo with some backing of Paicey, it turns more and more jazzy and evolves into...

Lazy (4)
A slow jazzy version, closer to the original MH version, than MiJ. It's great to hear how the song has totally changed from the guitar-orientated version they did in the 80s to a version built around the Hammond sound. The way it should be!! By far the best of the old songs IMO...

Perfect Strangers (2)
Nah, skip this as well. This is probably the ONLY song where I really miss Blackie, Steve just doesn't handle it the right way... This used to be a BIG song.

Speed King (3)
It's good, but it could be better! I mean, this is the only real chance to do some real jamming, DP used to be all about improvisations in the 70s, remember??? Paicey's solo is also kept short, although not too short...

7th Heaven (4)
Good version of a good song, another one that gets much better live...

Highway Star (3)
Strange isn't it? I've probably 'eard tis one as many times as Smoke, but I still like it... Probably cause it's one hell of a song... ;) Keep this one! Interesting to hear how Gillan is "holding" back a little. He's not singing/screaming along to all of the guitar solo as he used to do, only every second "line". Now that's "intelligent", this way he's able to sing tomorrow as well... ;) And the next day, and the next day... I suppose most of us prefer this compared to hear him screaming his heart out the first half of the gig and then hear him coughing his way thru the rest of the set...

What did I miss??
Well, most important is that they have to show that this is a NEW lineup, not a coverband!!! Just like mk3, mk4 and mkJLT did! Bring back SIFLS from _|_ and write some 3-4 new GOOD songs and the show can be 2 thirds new and 1 third old, instead of the other way around.

Among the highlights on the last tour IMO were WABMC, No one Came, SIFLS, maybe they could have kept one or two of them?

To me it's also obvious they're on top when they are doing some more experimental stuff, like Watching the Sky and 7th Heaven. It's sad that Abandon is more straight-forward than _|_, which to me was a promising first step in a new direction. I really hope they dare to take the "scenic route" in the future...

Pär Holmgren

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